On Sundays, children are often found in the pews next to their families. It’s one of many things that I LOVE about our church. Of course, if I’m being honest, I will admit that there are some days that having children alongside you during worship can be a challenge. Many parents strive to see past these challenges, knowing that the benefits of worshiping WITH your children far outweighs the inconvenience of training them. Thankfully, we have the added benefit of living in an era when resources are at our fingertips and easily shared with one another. (Have you ever thought about what a blessing it is that we can help each other?) Books like Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children into the Joy of Worship, have proven to be a fantastic resource for parents, as well as online printables for the little guys.
How we do church as a family:
I’ve been in a variety of churches over the past 10 years. The first had special kid’s programing for youngsters until age 5, then they were expected to attend the service with their parents. The second church never really transitioned kids into the service, having programming even during the high school years. The church we are in today has programming available through 3rd grade, then children transition into the service with their parents. However, on any given Sunday, you will still find plenty of little ones in the pews with their families. In fact, it’s so prevalent that my 3rd grader chooses to attend the service instead of children’s church! Gotta love positive peer pressure.
When both of my girls began attending worship with me I had some very clear ideas of what I wanted to see. Mostly, I wanted for them to NEVER get the idea that worship was something we HAVE to do or HATE to do. I also wanted to be sure that I didn’t convey the message that pastor’s sermon was boring or that they needed to be entertained during that time. So I set forth a few rules. (I know, I’m a meanie.)
*Sitting in the pews with me was never to be a punishment…it’s a joyful privilege!
*Electronics, coloring books, puzzles, and other distractions were to have no place in the pew with us.
*Full participation would be expected of all of my children. (That means no sleeping, sitting during songs, or flipping through the Bible/Hymnal for fun).
Now, I don’t want anyone to read that and think that I’m a crazy legalist here. None of my rules are intended to be for everyone, nor are they Christian absolutes. This is just what one momma does after a lifetime of meaningless pew-sitting. It’s from my own personal walk that I have developed these ideas for my children.
As a child I felt like church was boring and meaningless and I had to work hard as an adult to change those feelings. After many hard years and some pretty nasty circumstances, I can honestly say that I see church attendance as a wonderful privilege and I can’t wait to get there every time the doors open. While I know that I can’t make my children feel any particular way, I recognize that my behavior toward church is vital to helping them learn what the proper heart inclination should be!
All of that said, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I was pretty excited when our church made notebooks for the entire congregation. Leah was equally excited to get hers and took copious notes (by copying mine) for many weeks. As time went on, I found that she was struggling a lot to figure out what to write down. My pastor is partially to blame for this as he isn’t much of an outline kinda guy, but even if he was I think she would still have struggled to take notes in the same manner that I was.
One week a friend asked if I could create a similar notebook, but specifically designed for our kids. She showed me a sheet that she had used in the past to take notes, but that her girls had outgrown. I did a little research and it turned out that resources for older elementary students were indeed sparse. So, I created one!
To create a sermon notebook page that would help kids focus on the sermon and record the key points.
To create something that would be easily understood (so parents didn’t have to help), but at the same time still hold their interest.
To create something that would excite our children and capitalize on their love of God’s Word.
What is included in the Sermon Notebook—>
*About me page which includes name and testimony. (I thought this could be a precious keepsake for my children.)
*Favorite verses page
*Prayer request page (either for those mentioned in the service or their own).
*Sermon notes page
How to make the Sermon Notebook—>
I wanted the notebook to be pretty much just like the adult one, so I took it to Office Depot. I gave them the sheets and told them what order I wanted them in. I printed the pages on 28lb paper, that’s a little bit thicker than xerox weight paper and keeps the words from bleeding when it’s back to back. I also asked them for a card stock cover and a white coil binding. The whole book was about $9. I made mine with 40 sermon notes pages, which will last us about half of the year (including the evening service). That’s a pretty good deal for me! Of course, you could absolutely print this at home or any other office store!
I hope that your family will be blessed by this notebook and will be praying for you as you seek to diligently train your children as they walk by the way (Deut. 6:7)!
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