Taking Children Seriously
People of all ages are welcome at First Baptist Church!
Here at First Baptist, children are welcome in our worship services. For the convenience of parents whose children are unable to participate without disrupting worship, we do have a “crying room” and nursery at the back of the sanctuary. But as soon as children are old enough to join us without disrupting worship, we encourage their attendance. This allows them to learn how to worship.
We do not have “children’s church” for the children to attend while the “grown-ups” worship. Nothing in the Bible suggests such a division in the assembly. What the Bible does say has led us to our position:
Nehemiah 8:2-3 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
This passage in Nehemiah depicts an assembly of Israelites, gathered to listen to a long reading of the law, that included children who were able to understand.
Acts 20:7-9 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. Anda young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
This passage in Acts depicts a church assembly that included a “young man” gathered to hear prolonged preaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
This passage in Hebrews stresses the importance of meeting together by prohibiting its neglect. “Children’s church” does not help children learn this truth. Sending our children away from the assembly for “children’s church” may teach children that “grown-up” church is boring (since “children’s church” is invariably more entertaining) and/or that they as children are not welcome at “grown-up” church.
Furthermore Paul urges Titus to bring the younger alongside the older in the church instead of segregating the church by age (Titus 2:2-6). This model is consistent with the wonderful direction that God gave the Israelites for the education of their children:
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Here at First Baptist, we treasure the time our children have to gather with the “grown-ups.”
We take children very seriously, and believe they are worthy of respect. We have high expectations of them. They are the next generation of believers, if the Lord tarries in his coming.
By God’s grace, and for God’s glory, the children of First Baptist will watch and learn from mature believers how to “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.