At Skybridge Community Church, we believe that our children worship best in the context of the greater church family. Since children/youth are watching and absorbing small bits of information, it seems biblical and reasonable that they gain knowledge of God and the respect and awe of God by watching their parents, guardians, and other adults as they worship the Lord. They come to understand that worship to the Lord Jesus Christ is something that is done at every age level, and that it does not cease when they become teenagers and think that they are “too cool” to publicly praise the Lord. Segregating them from the adult role models isolates them from the beneficial effects of community worship. It is conceivable that the children of this generation, co uld attend children’s church and graduate from high school without seeing the adults in public worship or experiencing the impact of the body of Christ in public worship. Robbie Fox Castleman in her book “Parenting in the Pew” adds:
"Church, unlike my quiet times of Bible study and prayer, is a communal experience. We come together to make a joyful noise for our God. We come together to encourage each other in faith. We come together to welcome newcomers into a relationship with God and his people. And that welcome extends to children. Our job as a congregation is to welcome children into the life of the church. This job may fall primarily on parents, but it won’t work if the entire community doesn’t pitch in."
I am sure that there are wonderful and functional children and youth programs at various churches across the country. But they seem to rise out of the philosopy of being so seeker sensitive that children are segregated in the name of comfort. I believe that Dr. James Dobson, in his book, Parenting Is Not For Coward, suggests to us that parenting requires investing time and work in our children during their formative years. Then, we will reap a harvest when they grow up with our biblical, family values that can only be found in the home and the family pew. Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV) exhorts: “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
Ephesians 6:4 reminds us: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The only way to redeem this error is to bring our kids back to corporate worship.
Voddie Baucham, Jr., from his book: “Family Driven Faith” says:
Moses saw the home as the principle delivery system for the transmittal of God’s truth from generation to generation. There is no hint here – or anywhere else in the Bible – of the multigenerational teaching of the truths of God being abdicated by parents in favor of “trained professionals”. That is not to say that parents should reject any help. However, we must be careful not to shift the responsibility for our children’s biblical training onto anyone else.”
Listen, we have always had youth ministry. It was called parenting, and it was commanded by God in Deuteronomy 6. But as we move away from the fear and awe of God, so too do we move away from all of the benefits, and the teachings and the security of his Word. Youth ministry is there to help, but not replace the role modeling and teaching of the parent.
Deuteronomy 31:12; 2 Chronicles 31:18; Ezra 10:1; Matthew 14:21; Matthew 19:13-14