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Thoughts on children & worship


Rain, rain go away my children want to go outside and play. I’m seriously thinking about buying a houseboat… I could ride it around town with as much rain as we’ve had.

Thankfully Mom bought the girls these giant bouncy balls last week and they have provided hours of indoor entertainment while we wait for the rain to pass.

Speaking of bouncing, I so often find little subjects bouncing off the walls of my brain, especially in that corner I label “blog ideas”. Honestly, verbalizing my thoughts, especially in a blog, is a challenge for me. It takes me a long time to choose my words and to structure and articulate my thoughts in a way that is clear and can be understood by a lot of people who don’t personally know me. Since I’ve shown my{true}self on more than one occasion you all can probably understand why thoughts are easy for me but words are often a little more challenging. I know what I think. Thinking is fun, easy, inspiring; filtering my thoughts through my brain, putting them into words is laborious. Since no one pays me to do this I often find myself looking for something entertaining and lighthearted to post on {aka “easy writing”}, so I dig through my pictures looking for a story to tell. All of that comes easy. Now with this new camera I probably don’t even need words. But as I sit here and type I feel the urge and need to drudge through my thoughts, gather them up, filter them through my brain and put them into words… even if it takes me hours and this post doesn’t get published until Friday. Exercising my brain is like exercising my body… no pain, no gain.

Here’s a picture while I think:

hornet2 copy

The first subject I just found in the “blog section” of my brain is children in worship. But before I tell you my thoughts on children in worship it would make more sense if I told you what I believe, where I worship and why I even feel the need to include my children in worship.

As far as what I believe… the Apostles’ Creed does a fine job {much better than I could ever do} of summing up ALL that I believe. My elementary version is much simpler:: I am a big sinner with a bigger Savior. His name is Jesus Christ. He is 3 in 1 and He lived a perfect life and died a gruesome death so that I can have life eternally.

Justin was raised in the same church in which we are now members, a Presbyterian Church of America. While I love my church I also came across this quote today and it is a true representation of what church really should be. “Church isn’t where you meet… church is the human outworking of the person of Jesus Christ. Let’s not go to church, let’s be the church.” Bridget Willard

With that said, we “go to a church” but I also am encouraged because I have seen our church “being a church” in recent months. I love the thought of our church being a body of believers rather than a building full of people. In our church our children worship with us {well, the baby is usually in the nursery… but the girls worship with us}. I love it. I really think that families worshiping together with other families facilitates the concept of church being a body of believers rather than a room full of people who go to church. I’m not sure what other churches do, but the other churches I’ve been in it is not only accepted but also encouraged for families to worship together. Of all the moments I’ve had with my children I consider the times on Sunday morning when I hold them while singing songs and hymns of praise the most precious. Some of you will find this concept foreign and maybe even disturbing… no pun intended… you know children can do that, “DISTURB”. For our younger children {preschoolers} they offer what is called “Preschool Praise” which is held during the sermon. Our girls both leave the sanctuary during the sermon. But the children are always present for the first half of the worship service which always includes prayer, worship in song and the sacraments {baptism and communion}.

From the Bible on the gathering of believers {children included}:

Nehemiah 12:43 And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.

Joel 2:16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. {looks like JM qualifies!}

Mark 10:13- 16 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

I always love to hear your feedback… any thoughts from the audience on children in a worship service? Do your children worship with you? If not, are there other ways you worship together as a family?

How ’bout another picture while I gather my thoughts? Morgan earned her doll!

morgandoll copy

Sometimes people say nice things in the comments like, “I admire your faith” and while it makes me feel warm and fuzzy I also know the real me. The real me who feels more like Paul in Romans when he writes… “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to doβ€”this I keep on doing.” My biggest struggle now, the one thing that I want to do but I don’t is be still before the Lord… just me, my Bible and my journal. Our pastor gave {not only an incredible sermon this Sunday} but also a wonderful resource that was tucked in our bulletins. I scanned it to share with any of y’all who also may be struggling with how to study the Bible and where to start. It’s a PDF… you can find it HERE and print it off if you so desire.

How ’bout another picture?

hornettoes copy

or two?

JMBB copy

or three?

pesLUNCH copy

Tonight I’ll leave you with that. Mom is still here {praise the Lord!} things are happening in our lovely bathrooms and everyday I am treasuring the time we have together. She is a servant if I’ve ever seen one. A true Proverbs 31 woman. She’s sleeping soundly in her bed now and I’m off to do the same… all this brain exercise has me tired! πŸ™‚

Good night!

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  • Elizabeth
    April 1, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I feel the same way when I try to use my words to blog. I don’t seem to do it as easily as I think your posts are always well written. I’m trying to improve on my posts.

    Is that your dog in the picture?

    Hope the weather clears up for you and the kiddos!

  • Kristin F.
    April 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I have a 2 year old that comes into worship twice a month {the other two Sundays we’re in charge of Children’s Church and she’s in the nursery}. Even though she doesn’t know the words yet, I love watching her dance and mouth her own words. There is nothing better than knowing he’s already doing a good work in her. I can’t wait for the day when she understands the words she’s singing.

    I love your blog and your spirit.

  • Sarah's Fab Day
    April 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Our children do worship with us. I know sometimes it’s tough for them [sometimes it can be long]. But they are with us and they see us listening to the message and that makes me happy. I want Sundays to be a day for them to look forward to, the message, family and the community that church provides.

  • simply seleta
    April 1, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    We really try to worship with Bible studies at home with our little guys. Notice I said try? It’s not as consistent as I’d like and I end up beating myself up about it and picture my kids in prison someday b.c I didn’t read the Bible to them enough. Ha!

    This may sound strange, but I was thinking of your mom tonight before I even read this post. About her selflessness and how she serves others with such joy. What a precious gift she is to you and Erika and all of your (and Erika’s future) babies!

    Even though I haven’t met your mom, she has been an example to me of how I hope to be when my children are grown (or heck, even now). Kind, selfless, available, supportive. That role just doesn’t stop when the children are grown. Godly mothering is so valuable, especially to adult children. Our society needs more role models of Proverbs 31 women. Please tell her I said thank you for shining so brightly across your (and Erika’s) blog.

  • Ford Family
    April 1, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Our 2 worship with us..I love it..I love watching them sing..especially my 2 year old, he has no idea what the words are, but I know that He is loving every minute of it! πŸ™‚

  • Ashlee
    April 1, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Our children do not worship with us but have children’s worship that is almost the same-instruments and all up in the kids class. But, I think worshipping with your kids is incredible. We do it in our small group and its great to see them examining you and see that side of you. True surrender to our King! We have the DVD from Hillsong Kids called Super Strong God that has kids worshipping with “cool” young people saying scriptures throughout that I think is awesome. The songs are so fun and easy to learn and we all sing them now. Just something extra to do at home instead of popping in a video…love your blog!

  • Meg
    April 1, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I also feel the same about writing vs. thinking with my blog, for me I still have a block up about putting myself out there, it’s a difficult thing to publish your heart and your words for the world to see. Even though I view my blog is an outlet, I feel vulnerable and uncomfortable sometimes when writing. I ironically hold back with this ‘outlet’ that is my blog. I have yet to overcome those feelings, as a result the posts feel weak. I admire your efforts in creating touching posts and writing from your heart, taking the time when time is precious. This post was sweet, thank you! Oh, I will definitely include my children in worship when the time comes around, I’m Episcopalian and I spent Sundays as a child, with my siblings with the congregation, singing and behaving. It creates a faith and belief that lasts forever.

  • the sweet life with olives
    April 2, 2009 at 12:53 am

    I agree with Seleta about having adult role models who keep us strong and connected with our faith, but also with one another. I too, look to role models now more than ever to try and understand how I can raise my children in a loving tight knit family environ. Providing for them not only shelter, food and the rest of it but also a sense of security and faith in this crazy world where it is so easy to go astray. I dream that one day when I myself am a grandmother (how cool!) that I will be even a fraction as close to my children and their children as your mother seems to be with you and your sister and your expanding families. Here in Europe I’ve seen it a lot more, this extended but strong family unit, like a spider web… even though it may stretch over many siblings and many grandchildren it is the backbone of the family. I am blessed that my husbands family is like this, and it is a real joy and education for me to be a part of it. I think that in this way of conscious living you are even able to worship with your children and mother-in-law and husband etc… everyday, in every little thing you do while keeping this sacred bond/blessing in mind. once again, great post and food for thought! Now… about getting you and brood over here for a visit…?;-)

  • J
    April 2, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Great post. Ditto on worshiping as a family! I didn’t take the time to read previous comments, so sorry if this is a “double” – have you read Parenting in the Pew? It’s such a great resource…one highlight I took from it is that teaching our children to worship is worship…the times we have to step out to correct and rebuke and discipline little ones, to train them to listen, to worship, etc. is an act of worship. It’s been a great resource and much encouragement…you can borrow my copy if you’re interested πŸ™‚

  • kdurec
    April 2, 2009 at 5:02 am

    Thanks for not only blogging about the fun stuff that you can be pretty sure you’ll get a good response from, but also the harder stuff that you know you may get a mixed review on.

    In our church I always take my 14 month old to the nursery straight away because we have limited care workers and the rooms get capped off, but as soon as the sermon is over and I’ve taken communion I get her and she worships with us during the last couple of songs. As a family, we LOVE it, and I wish that we could have her in with us during the first part of the service too! πŸ™‚

  • Mandy
    April 2, 2009 at 5:04 am

    The pictures are precious and we have been covered in rain as well….days and days and days of it…Our church does the same thing with the kids…they worship with us and then leave for the sermon and then return…it is a very sweet time. We go to an Episcopal Contemp. church where my husband plays in the worship band…I just love it..we grew up Baptist and Presbyterian… My favorite time in the service is when I take my children to the alter for prayer, blessings and communion…under the large cross that hangs over us…it is so sweet for me to offer my children back to the Lord and remember that they really belong to him…I love children in worship b/c I think parenting by experience and example is the best kind….Can’t wait to see the bathrooms…Mandy

  • Abby Maddox
    April 2, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Thanks for plowing through the old brain for us–I know what you mean about spending time raking through it to decide what/how to say things.

    Our church has been toying with the children in worship concept a good bit lately. I feel like the only two options have been ALL in or ALL out. Meaning, I would spend the whole sermon trying to keep Pace entertained and quiet while not hearing a word (being fed) myself. So, I have been opposed. But, I love the idea of having the girls with me (or at least Pace :)) during the first half of the service, and then letting her go to a more kid-leveled lesson of her own.

  • Ashley
    April 2, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I love your sweet heart, D! I know that no matter where those three of yours are…they can see their mama and daddy in moments of worship! The children’s minister at our church the other day was talking about how her grandmother set an example for her by teaching her songs. She said she was always singing unto the Lord. Her mom was more quiet, but she set an example for her by just MAKING her go every Sunday. I enjoyed the post! I think teaching our children about the Lord and what He’s done for us is the most important role we have as Mama’s, so I enjoyed you taking time to spill your thoughts on the subject! πŸ™‚

  • Wright Family
    April 2, 2009 at 6:02 am

    I think you said it all so well! We love having our children in worship with us too {our church is structured a lot like yours, it sounds like}. And at night we have “family worship” {singing, reading our Bible, catachism and prayer together}. It’s my favorite part of the day. God is using your blog to share about Him and encourage other Mommas who desire to raise their children to know Jesus too. Thanks!!!

  • Kara
    April 2, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Good topic, Darby. Our kids go to the nursery (Mary Scott is 8 mos) and Trip (4 yrs) goes to the Sunday School. This is such an impt topic as well because “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Prov 22:6 We are all broken, by design, and for this I am thankful. I hate our sinful nature…the hardest thing I find is to live in this world and not of this world.
    Thanks for your thoughts – they came out perfectly!
    Thanks for the sewing machine info too! πŸ™‚
    Psyched to see those bathrooms.

  • JMW
    April 2, 2009 at 6:50 am

    We attend a Catholic church in Louisville, and at one point during Mass, the kids leave for “Children’s Worship,” and then return before communion. But, often we have our kids with us during the service. Our son is almost two, so sometimes we put him in the nursery b/c he can’t sit still! But our 4-year-old daughter enjoys Mass, especially when the children’s choir performs. Your quote from Paul in Romans resonated with me, especially as I struggle to be a good mom and wife. Have a joyful day!

  • Jennie-Marie
    April 2, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Oh D, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, all of them fun,serious, whatever. I love reading them. I have been so excited about Palm Sunday b/c Emma Hensley will be a part of the worship service. She came to church with us all the time when she was a new baby, in fact church was the first “outing” she went on at 3 days old. Now I admit I worry that she will “disturb” but I haven’t really thought about taking her for praise time then taking her to the nursery but I think we will try it. Thanks again for always sharing your heart!
    PS I’m so glad your mom is still there, what a special treat!!!

  • The Harris Family
    April 2, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Oh I think it’s so wonderful for children to be present during the worship. Not for them to worship, they can do that in their SS or praise or wherever…it’s so they can see their parents worship and give tithes and fellowship with other believers. It’s to be an example for our little ones on how to bring the sacrifice of Praise. But I will say this…sermon time is adults only time in my opinion. I’m very careful never to move much during the sermon. Satan will use any opportunity he can get to distract and I (nor my children) don’t want to be that tool. Anyway…just my imperfect ramblings! :0) Great post Darby!

  • Bull
    April 2, 2009 at 7:07 am

    You really ought to read “Family Driven Faith” by Voddie Baucham. It talks about a lot of the themes you mentioned, and is extremely convicting to me as a soon-to-be parent. Oh, and sorry for the April Fool yesterday.

  • Molly
    April 2, 2009 at 7:10 am

    We attend a Bible church (www.dentonbiblechurch.com) and we bring our 2 year old daughter in with us during worship and then take her to Sunday School. I read something in Noel Piper’s ‘Treasuring God in our Traditions’ – great book – that caused us to slow down and think about how we worship as a family. We want our daughter to see us worshiping (as an example), plus, we believe coming together as a family and slowing down to worship Him together is one of the highest and most profound ways we can bring glory to Him. And your so very right – Sunday worship is not what it’s about, it’s living our lives in the light of the Lord daily. But Sundays are wonderful to pause, hear a sermon, and be equipped to go out into the world. Great topic – great verses you shared, too!

  • Melody
    April 2, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I attend a Southern Baptist Church and it is the norm for our children to attend worship when they are around 4 years old. Although some come earlier. My little one just turned 2 so he doesn’t come quite yet. I do feel that it is important for them to start coming to “big church” at a young age though.
    I think people tell you that you have great faith or make other comments like that because it is not the norm these days to be a christian and speak out about it. I am with you about quiet times…that has always been difficult for me. But, I also believe you can be with God in other ways. You can talk to him with your kids around, play christian music and sing praise to him, pray in the car or while you make lunch or dinner. Having a relationship with him is just that…more than giving him 10 minutes out of your day to be alone.
    I love reading your blog…thanks for being real!

  • Julie Wolfe
    April 2, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I grew up going to Children’s Church while the adults were in ‘Big Church’. This was until probably middle school. Then we all went to the same place. Our church, being a PCA, doesn’t have a children’s church, so it’s expected that your kids come with you – although it hasn’t really caught on. We take Ellie for the songs and sacraments and then take her to her class (because I think she’s still a little young to sit still and quiet during the whole sermon). She loves it and we love being with her in that setting. Sharing worship with her is an amazing opportunity that gets me all teary when I think of the millions of families who do not share Christ as part of their everyday lives.

  • Anonymous
    April 2, 2009 at 9:17 am

    One thing I admire: your unwavering faith and your openess about it.

    My husband & I attended a mega church here in Dallas for roughly 7 years – both single when we joined. After we got married, we noticed a lacking ministry to the marrieds & those w/ children. We saw children few and far between in service and noticed that it was not only discouraged but asked by the staff that children be sent to the appropriate classes (much different from my experience growing up – I still have memories of being a toddler in church – I learned what WORSHIP really is as a child). As we move forward in our marriage and onto the next phase, we're grasping for that worship with a church family and attending other churches to see what best fits us. The church we're currently attending has a wonderful children's ministry and allows children to be in service – yes, there's an interruption or two, but it reminds us of the blessings we're given and also that we're human.

    From my viewpoint, being a child that was raised in the church attending worship, I 100% believe in it. I know how to worship because of that – I acquired that along with any other characteristic a child inherits while growing; it's something that will never go away.

  • Shireen
    April 2, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I can’t wait for Rhys to worship with us! He sits with us during the service, in his little carseat. I think it’s WONDERFUL that the girls are there with you and Justin! That’s what we do, as well…the children are invited to stay with their parents during worship and prayer, then they’re invited to go to children’s worship. πŸ™‚

  • Becky
    April 2, 2009 at 9:55 am

    all of my kids come to worship with us. they are actually there for the entire duration. they have children’s worship avaliable, but mine have always gone with us and so know how to “act”. i’ve always thought it was important for them to be there and to be involved.

  • annek
    April 2, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I always have thought that children should be included with the rest of the congrgation…unless they get really restless…and then you just take them out; especially if it’s during the sermon or the most important parts of the mass or service. Wait a few minutes and try again. That’s what I hope Moms(mostly), Dads and caregiver’s will do at Storytime. I don’t mind a little noise and moving around…but if it’s distracting the others than I think it’s important to respect them too. It used to bother me when people would make comments about children in church…I think they belong as much as anyone…maybe more!
    I do remember one Dear Abby column about the subject and laughed at her response…I forget exactly how she stated it…but essentially it was like baseball….4 “bawls” and you walk.

  • Anonymous
    April 2, 2009 at 11:23 am

    One Easter long ago…On Ash Wed…At the Church of the Nativty, Dothan, AL. I will never forget…We were in prayer and it was so serious and everyone was feeling heavy including Father Mel…When all of a sudden here comes marching in alone this darling LIL’ girl…Wearing of all things..Sunglasses..The frames were so large on her tiny, sweet face. She walked in looking for her Mom. I can’t tell you how refreshing this was to all of us. And, yes, Father Mel, even needed that lift! Children are gifts! This young girl is now…soon to be a first time Mother! Glory be to God! I love seeing little ones sitting in church. And, I am really OLE’ LOL…. Sooo there ya go! I love reading your post and pray for your darling family.

  • Julia
    April 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I hope your brother-in-law is doing okay. You were talking about worship. In the way that my brain bounces around, it made me think about how I found out about Cora on your website. I remember reading about her death on a Sunday after church. Now I’ve read about your brother-in-law and I’m sure many others have. The internet and blogs have kind of redefined a Christian’s support network – I remember when my parents used to have a phone prayer list! Whereas before it was just our church supporting us in times of a crisis, it’s now a whole world of Believers who really do, in a way I don’t really uderstand, care about one another without personally knowing each other.

    Mmm, sorry, kids in big church is great – our son, who is in middle school, much prefers to go to big church rather than the ms worship service (it’s crazy in there and I don’t think that’s a good thing).

  • jordanp
    April 2, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    We are Catholic and bring our 6 and 2 year old boys to mass with us each week. While it is a challenge to keep young, active boys quiet during the service, I feel so at peace having them there with me. We have been SO blessed in our life I don’t want to take any of it for granted nor do I want my children to take it for granted.

    I LOVE that you are so open about your faith and beliefs… one of the reasons why I love your blog so much!

  • Joy and Ash
    April 2, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    My little girl Mallory has that same dress as Paige, from the one and only walmart! πŸ™‚

  • Ruth Amada
    April 3, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Totally agree with your thoughts in worship, I love to hear my son’s voice singing besides me! We attend a small group, my husband is the Pastor and we stress the point of each one of us is the church and when we ‘congregate’ to worship and hear what God wants to say thru the preaching, it still is a personal message that God has for every individual’s heart to hear. It is our individual responsibility to come together once or twice a week with a full heart or God’s word and direction for our live’s and in the congregation thru the preaching find confirmation to what is happening in our spiritual relationship and if not, it should bring questions and direction to inspire a desire to have a closer relationship with Jesus our saviour.
    I do want to take this time to let you know that I read your blog for encouragement and confirmation that God is in control of all and working great wonders thru blogs! Really how crazy is that? You are a blessing to this AZ woman, just being who you are and sharing your life with it’s ups and downs – God’s spirit shines through it all – you and your sister are a great jewel in your parents crowns.
    Hugs to all.

  • Trina
    April 6, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Darby, I love your blog, your children are adorable and I love that you and I share the same faith! Plus we both live in Bama. πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much for the scanned copy from your Sunday bulletin. I struggle with where to start as well and feel “lost” in the Word sometimes. I printed it out and can’t wait to start. Thanks again!

  • Karen
    April 7, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Hi I followed this blog through a friends blog through a friends blog thing. I would like to add my two cents about children worshiping and please understand this is my two cents. I have 3 children and they are grown the youngest being 16. My children did not worship with us while they were younger. Once they were too old for children’s church and nursery then they worshipped with us. When they were younger I always spent so much time making sure they were not disturbing others that I did not get much out of a sermon. As I got older and watched other children with their parents I found it more disturbing. I guess what disturbed me more is that I am so ADHD that I spent my times focusing on this child talking out, screaming etc… and prayed that their parents would take them out so I could concentrate on the sermon. So to me it is very distracting from a time that I go in hopes to learn about my savior versus hearing a child cry or scream and in some cases have to listen to it as the parents would not remove them. Thanks for allowing me to share my two cents.

  • thelaundryisneverfinished
    April 7, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Oh Darby,
    When Erick and I lived in Virginia we attended this great little “family oriented” church which included the children in every single aspect (worship, sermon, you name it). It was before we had Ryan and Jack, but I loved watching the children learn and grow and sing together-it was SO sweet! Ryan is now old enough for “children’s church” where currently attend, but I very often keep him upstairs with me for the duration. Jack stays through the music then heads to the nursery to burn off energy…although I would love for him to be able to stay with us the whole time too.

    And wow, I just checked in today and learned about Chance; I’m praying already and am heartened by the good news you have received! My mom has been ill for awhile now and I once again came across Hebrews 4:16; “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may find mercy and receive grace to help in our time of need”. I’m “going to the throne” for Chance and Erika too…what an ordeal!

  • Perfectly Me
    May 5, 2009 at 7:14 am

    This is a very late reply (I just found your blog), but we have a 2 yo son and we worship with him at our church in a separate room called the “Toddler Friendly” sanctuary. The service is wired in and on two big screens in the room. I like that we can participate in the worship service as a family as well as having the freedom for our son to roam around and play with his toys or other children his age. Although they say “Toddler Friendly” there are children from birth to about 4 in the room. There is also the option for Children’s Service as well which starts at the pre-school age.