Why Kids in Church
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law. Psalm 119:18
The thorniest issues, once sorted out, always reveal profitable truths. One such issue is whether to include younger children in corporate worship. Several competing interests and questions intersect here: the desire for parents and those nearby the kids to listen to a sermon uninterrupted; whether the sermons are structured to be understood by children; whether children can understand an adult sermon altogether; the varying abilities of children to keep their keisters in a chair for 40 minutes . . .
Then there’s the issue of church philosophy. Some churches structure all of their life together around integrating children and families. Others structure everything separately. Who is right?
Many issues and interests and competing philosophies, in one issue.
In sorting through the issue, it would help if we had one guiding principle that would help us sort through and order the rest. That guiding principle, we are convinced, is pictured in Psalm 119:18.
Why does David ask this? He was not blind. Certainly he could read, and read God’s law. And certainly he had read God’s law, as much as anyone. And yet he asks God to “open his eyes”, to “behold”.
David needed something deeper than what he could read, something more powerful than his ability to synthesize God’s law and understand complex theological truths. He needed divine instruction. He needed to be taught by God Himself.
Not outside the Bible - he needed to “behold” - to relish, to rejoice in Jesus, and his way of salvation. Man can teach the mind, but only God can teach the heart, to find God in Christ wondrous. Robert Murray M’Cheyne put it this way:1 “None can teach like God. He can teach a little child as easily as the oldest man; nay, He can teach an idiot as easily as the wisest man.”
None can teach like God. So we encourage everyone to include their children in worship. But the deeper question is whether we actually believe what M’Cheyne says above. If we would, whatever decisions we make next will be pretty good - it will shape how we preach; how we teach Children’s Church; how we pray for our kids, as we include them in the service or take them out to Children’s Church. The form of the thing matters less than what the heart needs and prays for. What matters most is whether the Master Teacher causes us to see - and find wonderful - Christ, through His Word.
1 From the sermon, “The Believer’s Prayer for Divine Teaching”.