religion, christianity, articles
Firm Foundation Logo

Should We Add Children's Church?

By Gary Colley

religion, articles, christianity

The churches of Christ have long realized the importance of "speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent... calling Bible things by Bible names... doing Bible things in Bible ways."

There is no other way to live and conduct the work of the church except by doing what is in harmony with Christ's authority (Col. 3:16-17; Matt. 28:18-20).

Be the Lord's Church

Evidently some are not satisfied with the simplicity and glory of the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16). How impressive, to the lover of truth, are the worship, organization, and plan of salvation the Lord gave. How sad to hear of house churches, cell churches, underground churches, restructured churches, and children's churches - all without even a whisper of divine authority.

We ask, "What happened to the Lord's church?" It appears that some have a serious heart problem (Matt. 15:8-9; 22:37-38) and are not satisfied with God's Word and the institution Christ bought with his blood and set in order. These want to be like the nations (denominations) around them. That which was born and bred in denominationalism, variously called Children's Church, Junior Church, Youth Worship, Junior Worship, and Youth Assembly should not be adopted by God's people.

Some have suggested that these arrangements are only methods. If so, since we cannot find any authority for them in the Bible, we must conclude that they are not scriptural "methods" but are additions. Instrumental music is not a "method" of singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16-17) but an addition to what the Lord commands. The "children's church" is, in the same way, an addition to the assembly of the saints.

What Does the Bible Say?

Some scriptural objections to "children's church" are the following:

  1. There is no authority in the Bible for "children's church" (I Pet. 4:11).
  2. The Lord ordained that we meet in one assembly for worship (I Cor. 11:17-18, 20, 33-34).
  3. Children's church is an unauthorized separate assembly, which is a forsaking of the assembly the Lord authorized (Heb. 10:25).
  4. No assembly of God's people for worship in the Old Testament or the New Testament separated the children from all others.
  5. Parents should not turn over to others the precious time available to them to train their children. The child learns by what he hears, sees, and experiences in the worship assembly (Eph. 6:1-4). The child absorbs valuable lessons from the discipline of public worship.

"From a Babe"

Some contend that children cannot learn from public preaching. Let me exhort you, Do not be fooled by this argument. I still recall many lessons preached by my faithful father in public worship. My dear mother made me sit still and pay attention. If someone, in misplaced zeal, had taken me out of the assembly, I would have missed hearing and remembering many great preachers, men like Foy E. Wallace, Jr., C.R. Nichol, J.D. Tant, L.N. Moody, Horace W. Busby. In my preaching, I still use many of the doctrinal points and illustrations of these men. The influence of the solemn service and the impression of seeing my parents engage in an activity that was important to them created an impression on my mind that will never fade. A very small child looks up to the man in the pulpit, admires him, and may be encouraged to become a preacher of righteousness.

Beware of Robbers!

Parents, wake up, stand up, and think up! You can stop this addition made by man, even when others will not listen to the Lord. Please accept the exhortation not to feed up, color up, or play up your children ... but "train them up" in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Remember Timothy's mother and grandmother and the great work they accomplished from Timothy's youth. Do not let anyone rob you of the precious time to train your children in acceptable worship to Almighty God (John 4:24).

Published May 1993