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Sunday nights for kids

By Andy Harris

Sunday nights sparkle at our church. It is my favorite service of the week. Someone occasionally asks, “But do you have anything special for the children on Sunday nights?”

My reply? “Of course we do! They can sit in the service with their parents or the adults who brought them, listen to them pray, watch them praise the Lord, observe them giving an offering to God, take note of their response to the sermon and follow them to the altar to seek the Lord. Where else would they have the opportunity to do these things?”

Among children, the Christian experience is better “caught” than “taught.” They’re watching you, moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles. If children don’t come to church on Sunday nights, they will probably never hear their pastor preach, never observe the gifts of the Spirit, nor experience a family altar in church until they are 12 years old. Most mornings, anyone younger is going to be in children’s church. Do you really want your child to miss out on the excitement of Sunday night worship?

Oh yes, we believe in providing the finest in Christian education for our children in Sunday School, Kid’s Church, Junior Bible Quiz, Missionettes and Royal Rangers. The gospel will be presented to them on their level at those times. But there is no substitute for a Sunday night service.

You say, “But my child falls asleep. What could they possibly get out of church?”

About the same thing as a sponge. They’ll soak up everything around them.

There was an elderly lady who could no longer drive. She wanted to attend every service but was dependent on her unsaved son to drop her off at church. In her final years, she also became totally deaf. Her son asked, “Mom, why do you still want me to take you to church? You can’t hear a thing.”

Her reply was, “Oh, but I can feel the Spirit of the Lord, and that’s worth everything.”

Your children can feel the Spirit of the Lord on Sunday nights too, if you take them. I challenge you. Yes, you’ll need to get them a children’s Bible and help them find the sermon text. You might need to bring a quiet toy that is age-appropriate, learn how to draw pictures for them on the church bulletin or create something out of your handkerchief to entertain them sometimes during the sermon. You might even have to take them out of the service at times if they are misbehaving. I remember my mom and dad doing all of these things on occasion. Will your kids have those same memories? Or will they sit home on Sunday nights and watch TV? You decide.

I have many fond memories from under the pew as I “slept” in church on Sunday nights. The singing, the shouting and the preaching made an indelible imprint on my life. It will on your children, too.

Andy Harris is pastor of Central Assembly of God in Haughton, La. He and his wife, Sheryl, are raising two young daughters in Sunday night services.

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