From Bill Easum
It is almost impossible for worship to adult and kid friendly at the same time. I don’t see this happening in what I consider to be the normal great churches in the US. There is just too much difference between an adult and a child.
Now, what remains to be seen is how this will play out with busters. I doubt if the difference will be a great and maybe kids will be part of authentic and meaningful worship.
One more word. We all lament the shallowness of our churches. Now follow me. During most kids sermons two things happen: we preach to the parents through their kids and we show case the kids which appeals to the ego and shallowness of the parents. Why do we call the children up to the front? We could do the children’s message the same way we do the adult message, in their seats. But pulling them up to the front allows mom and dad to see “their” kid in front of everyone. I’m even seen people take pictures (and we allow that as if it doesn’t feed the shallowness and ego of the parents?)
I think worship and Christianity is far more for adults than for children. I think that has been the downfall of mainline Christianity. It hasn’t discipled adults. It has been a great holding tank for the adults while we try to tame their kids and teach them some morals.
However, children must have role models – parents not the church. Children do need to be taught the scriptures- by parents more than the church.
I don’t mean to ramble here, but it is a touchy subject. We spend far too much time and emphasis on children and not nearly as much on adult. It should be the other way around.
Frankly, my stomach turns when I see pastors doing children’s sermons in a worship service. Why not have a total worship service for children? That is what is working. See what North Point in Atlanta is doing. I reported on another church I just finished consulting with that has the Big House – over 400 kids in worship and enjoying it. The entire service was for the kids and their parents were invited to join them.
Response from our forum
This is very helpful. We are in an ongoing war about the role of children in worship, and I have continually struggled with how to make one service work for adults and children. I want to engage and challenge adults and that often means being rather blunt about the world. It isn’t kid stuff.