By Angie Grobbelaar –
I remember that wonderful day when my child was finally able to stay in kids church on her own without me. Oh it was glorious! I got to go to church with my husband, was able to sing and clap for ALL the songs, listen to a whole message and even have an adult conversation with other people without any potty breaks, noisy chip packets and scrimmaging in my bag for a toy to keep her busy. Woop Woop.
This is usually a great day for most church going parents. So surely this is what kid’s church was made for, right? To take care of my kids so I get to go to church? So that the other adult’s in big church can listen and ‘experience’ church noise free?
Nope. Nada. No ways. It’s a teeny part of it (and I mean teeny).
So what is it?
Kid’s church is exactly what it says on the box… It’s church for kids, with all the same bells and whistles as grown up church, just done in a way kid’s can understand. To reiterate, kids church is not a free babysitting service. It’s real, it’s proper, it’s church for small people, though there’s nothing small about it!
These kids sing the same songs (with way cooler dance moves) they read the same bible (with awesome pictures because who reads a book without pictures right?) They also give their talent to serve, their money to build the house and they have wonderful fellowship with each other while doing it.
Kid’s church is not really just there for the adults. Oh, it certainly helps us but is there something more to this awesome thing called kid’s church?
Before I tell you why I think there is more to kid’s church than just looking after a bunch of kids, I think a mini history lesson is needed: (stay with me on this)
A Mini History Lesson
‘Children’s church’ or as some know it, Sunday School began around the 1780’s. One major player in this movement was Robert Raikes (b. 1736) an English philanthropist. He saw the need for children who were working 12 hour days due to poverty, to still have an education.
He took it upon himself to teach these kids reading, writing and math with the only textbook he had, the Bible, on the only day these children would have off, Sundays. Hence the name ‘Sunday School’ emerging from this volunteer based work. By 1831 there were 1 ,250,000 children in this Sunday school program.
Nowadays, Sunday School is no longer for the ABC’s but to ‘equip the saints’, albeit mini saints, with the knowledge and goodness of God.
These two scriptures show us the way:
Psalm 78 says ‘We will not hide them (God’s ways) from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord’. Matthew 19 Jesus says ‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’
This is what Kid’s Church is for!
To help kids become followers of Jesus, knowing His ways, His love, His call on their lives. And at City Kids, we believe wholeheartedly in ‘training up children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.’
A survey by the International Bible Society indicates 83% of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus between 4 and 14-this is huge in highlighting the importance of Kid’s Church.
Helping kids get and keep God first
So next time you see a Kid’s Church or Sunday School, remember it’s not a babysitting service, but rather a place where kids gather to worship God through singing, learning His Word and being discipled to get and keep God first in their lives, for all of their lives.
Picture by Paballo Thekiso