I believe that the best way to do that is to create and use environments that are specifically designed for children to learn at their developmental level. That means that settings specifically designed for adults are not fitting for young children. The sermon time in our service is specifically designed for adults.
Here are some thoughts:
1. Children learn at their level- appropriate topics given at appropriate ages and presented in appropriate ways for their particular stage of development is the key.
2. We want kids to like church – How many people do you know who grew up to hate church and the reason given is that they were made to go and sit through a setting that they felt was boring? As we keep settings appropriate, we enable children to learn and enjoy.
3. Keeping small children out of the sermon time allows adults to learn in an undistracted way – We want the adults to be edified and encouraged in God’s word. This is much easier when there are not distracting sounds from little ones. It is a simple act of consideration on the part of parents to think about the needs of those around them.
4. It allows the speaker to address sensitive topics – I do not filter my comments for young ears in that I expect the congregation that is listening to the sermon to be approximately 4th grade and above.
5. It allows us to use the best sermon from each Sunday for the radio broadcast without worrying about extraneous noise on the tape – Each Sunday we record for the radio. Children’s crying can be heard and when it is, it renders that recording difficult if not impossible to use.
For all these reasons we offer a excellent children’s age appropriate programs during all services and we ask that parents make use of those programs.
There may, however, be those parents who do not wish to be parted from their small child during the sermon. For those parents we offer family viewing areas. We ask that parents slip out of the sanctuary with the child and go to one of the viewing areas where we provide audio/video feed of the sermon.
The viewing areas are:
1. The family room off of the main hallway near the infant women's restroom.
2. The Café
3. The main foyer
We ask that parents be considerate and either access the age appropriate programming for children or take an infant or small child to one of these areas to hear and view the sermon remotely.
Thanks you for your consideration of others.
His and yours,
Pastor Marc Maffucci