Thinking Out Loud

June 30, 2013

Children at Church: The Place for Inter-Generational Worship

At your church are the kids off in another part of the building throughout the service, or are they dismissed to the basement part way through? Perhaps another world is possible.

The YouTube channel that I oversee is named after our retail covering, Searchlight Books, but consists almost entirely of classic Christian music songs that you can’t buy at Searchlight or anywhere else. More recently however, we’ve been including some sermon excerpts and this weekend we posted an eleven-minute segment from the Phil Vischer podcast where Wheaton College Associate Professor of Christian Formation Scottie May spoke about visiting inter-generational churches during her sabbatical. The full podcast runs about 45 minutes, and I knew no matter much I mentioned enjoying these each week, the click-through ratio would be fairly low, so we created this highlight.

This is a must listen-to segment for anyone who cares about church and especially for people in children’s ministry or youth ministry.

This is an audio-only clip with no moving images, so even if you are not on a high-speed connection and don’t normally click on video links, you should be find with this one.


  1. I went to a Calvary Chapel church for a year. Children were actually stopped at the sanctuary door. There was not even an option to take them into the service. You either let the children’s ministry staff usher them into the great kids programs or you left. Because I had teens I didn’t notice at first. But it is really disturbing in light of this audio recording. The church I go to now has a time just before the sermon when children may go downstairs, but I would say half of the families with young children opt to keep them up in the service for the message and the pastor is always careful to say they are very welcome to do so. I am intrigues by the baby gate area and plush toys. I don’t think we have space for that right now but I love the concept.

    Comment by Cynthia Almudevar — June 30, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

  2. A Church that doesn’t cater for children is doomed.
    Many Churches have “entertainment” for children, but I’m talking about those who don’t actually minister to children, instilling in them a Biblical worldview and teaching them WHY they believe WHAT they believe. I consider childrens and youth ministry to be at least one of the major ministries of the Church and get rather concerned when I all-too-often hear pastors say “Oh we’re not interested in children. We’re only interested in adults.”

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — July 4, 2013 @ 1:41 am

    • This is an interesting comment. I think i agree with some of it. I would say that it is very important that children worship with their parents. But I don’t believe it is the responsibility of the church to minister to youth and children, or to teach them about the Lord. This responsibility, according to Scripture, is clearly given to parents. They will be held accountable for what they teach their children, not the church. The Church would be better off to focus its time and resources into helping parents fulfill their God-given role in the family, rather than trying to do their job for them. Why not help parents be better parents, instead of making them obsolete? (Not meaning that children should be excluded from worship or church life, or that the emphasis should be ONLY on adults.) I believe we should adjust our focus.

      Comment by PreacherMan80 — July 6, 2013 @ 11:11 pm

      • I totally agree with you, PreacherMan80, that it is the responsibility of parents to train their children in the ways of the Lord, and that the Church should be teaching the parents to do so. However, it is also true that most parents fail in this responsibility and that special programs to address the parents are very poorly attended.

        It is also true (here in Australia anyway) that Churches without a strong childrens/youth ministry are dying and those with a structured childrens/youth ministry are thriving and keeping their youth beyond high school and into their adult years. Hopefully, those children who have been taught a Biblical worldview will understand their parental responsibilities and teach their children.

        Comment by meetingintheclouds — July 6, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

  3. I was really encouraged by this story. Thank you for sharing it. You might like to take a look at to learn more about a national movement of family integrated, inter-generational churches.
    This podcast really was inspiring. Thanks again.

    Comment by PreacherMan80 — July 6, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

  4. Reblogged this on Sermonettes and commented:
    Outstanding short clip. Well worth the 11 minutes.

    Comment by PreacherMan80 — July 6, 2013 @ 11:49 pm

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