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Sunday, April 24, 2005


Rev John Telfer Brown

Brodie, good post! The children are with us in Praise time, Testimony time, Giving time, Worship time, Communion and Puppet time. When it's sermon time they go off to Chidren's Church and then we all meet back for fellowship time! All in all, we have a great time!



Mainly separate, though it's not as sinister as it appears. It's true that the area we are in has a daycare mentality, but the split of child and parent isn't mandatory, we just gear the "experience" towards the age level and the parents and kids like that. It works well and there is an emphasis placed on moving from one place to another, with the jr and sr high kids spending worship time in the main sanctuary and then splitting off for a targeted message/sermon.


I was struck by something that happened at our service on Sunday morning:

During the 'family time' (read 'good old-fashioned chuildren's address') a young boy - toddler, no older - wandered past the minister and started to explore the platform area, looking under the table and eventually opening the door at the rear of the platform and exiting into the back hallway (at which point his mother ran after him). The congregation was in stitches, and the minister minister laughed kept going. Until the boy and mother returned, and the boy went off again.

Except, this time, as the boy wandered past the minister, he found himself scooped up played and chatted with by the minister, as he continued his wee talky bit with this boy sitting on his arm and clearly enjoying being up talked to personally and being held up in front of everyone.

For the first time I have seen in a church there was no hint at all of sit-down-and-shut-up-and-stop-wandering-around-and-being-a-pain. And no hint either of "aren't we clever? we just let the kids be." It was just natural. It was like family.

'Twas great.

I find that kind of approach and atitude makes (for example) the traditional children's address and then out to sunday school approach a lot more valid and effective.

andy goodliff

This is an important question. At Bunyan, we've created "whole church services" which try and engage the whole church in worship. We do these every now and again (e.g big festivals in church calendar). We try and avoid the tokenism of a service with a puppet or a children's song and do the hard work of creating a service which is acccesible to all. This has met with success and failure. It involves the church coming with a desire to give rather than receive, i.e. what can I bring to this service, not what can I take away.

On other sundays, they are in for the first 20mins (where the leader does some sort of mini-message) and then they go out to their classes. I'm trying to move the church to a place where children are more intergrated into the life of the church, where every adult is a youthworker!


Difficult. Always being apart sounds wrong somehow, but adults are very good at taking the show over and not allowing children and youth to express faith and worship in their own way, therefore we compromise with a patronising "kiddies" bit (or have them in and ignore them altogether).


Children in church ... a vital question .. and one which I don't think we can ignore for much longer. I don't think the current solutions work very well and we need to look for new models.

Saying nursery / creche etc. just 'contextualise' church for those people who would drop the kids off before doing their thing misses the heart of what church is about. ... as I think do all age-segregated ministries....There is heaps of data that age-segregation (good old Sunday School and teenage youth ministries) isn't working, isn't good and the kids need something different and the adults do to. It isn't working and destroys the essentail nature of what is a church... a community...

I think that child theology can offer useful input to actually putting kids back with parents for the heart of the matter - the Liturgy of the Word and the sermon..... and do so by combining them across generations... yes really... the sermon that was an interactive exporation, between ages, encountering Christ, mutually leading and teaching,...we may want craft and walks and wondering and GodlyPlay like encounters and other expressions of 'sharing the word'in ones and twos... but there is potentail for these 'sermons' be more faithful to 'preaching the Word' than the one-way, one-person verbal address... and also more faithful than slideshows and 'visuals' that ignore the 'talking together'.


I forgot to mention the website www.churchbaby.info that seeks to be a forum, information repository and other for this very issue.... children and church...


Susan - thanks for your comments. The churchbaby site looks good - I've passed the details onto our childrens pastor who will no doubt pass it on to others.


Did you see Real Live Preacher's post about this a couple of weeks ago? As always, it's worth reading.



anneke - cheers for the link to RLP


Real Live Preacher said <>

Something that's been on my mind for a while is this:
read the paragraph above and replace the word "children" with "Holy Spirit" !

Albert Kunihira

Dear Sir or Madam,

Warm greetings from Africa Youth Ministries Uganda. We're a Child & Youth focused Social Action Ministry working in Uganda. Would you consider partnering with us in Ministering to Children Orphaned by AIDS. We need your partnership in training community volunteers & staff in Child Evangelism. We further need your support in reading resources such as bible stories, children bibles, and other materials needed for Child evangelim & ministry. We also train children in HIV/AIDS prevention skills with an emphasis on abstinence. If you have any materials on abstinence, we will be most grateful to receive them.

Lastly, in social & economic response you may also partner with in sponsoring children orphaned by AIDS, majority of these children lack clothes, blankets, shoes etc. You may visit our website for further information on our programs at www.aymu.org


Albert Kunihira
Country Director
The Africa Youth Ministries Uganda
P.O. Box 20029,
Kampala, Uganda
T: +256-71-200009/75-200009 +256-39-200009
F: +256-41-251060
E: [email protected] or [email protected]

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