“I get major anxiety when thinking about bringing my kids to service.”
“We are already thinking about what we’re going to do when our kid gets to kindergarten.”
Big Sunday is not a modern day torture device. And these thoughts aren’t the predominant view on Big Sunday, but considering that both are quotes from people talking to me regarding Big Sunday – it is a thing.
*For the layman – Big Sunday is what we call the first Sunday of each month when we cancel elementary Sunday school and Confirmation (6th grade) and invite those kids to attend the “big church” worship service with their families. We ask kids to sing the songs we sing, pray along with the prayer leader, and listen to a 20 minute sermon that they may not completely understand.*
So why would we do this? If it’s difficult and anxiety-inducing, why would we put kids and parents through this? If kids “don’t get anything” out of the sermon, why would we force this?
Leading research says parents are the number one influencer on a child’s faith – in the present and future. Another key factor on whether or not a child has faith in the future is the presence of faithful, intergenerational relationships (aka – Mr. Bob sits down the pew from Little Tommy every Sunday and they always talk about helicopters). If we keep our kids tucked away in the education building every week, it’s easy for them to never see anyone other than their peers interacting with the faith. We want them to see you pray and you listen to the sermon and you take the congregational vows during an infant baptism. We want them to see Mr. Bob do it too. We believe – and can back it with research – that this is key to giving our kids the best shot at a lifelong faith.
And another thing – I can guarantee it’s not true that they “don’t get anything” out of the sermon, or the songs, or the prayers. The questions I’ve received from kids after attending worship are deep and thought provoking. It’s amazing what they pick up on – “Pastor Andrew said ‘idiot’.” (Face palm.) – “What’s a virgin?” (Double face palm.) “Why did Jesus die on the cross?” They’re listening. We just need to be intentional about what they’re listening to.
Here’s what we’ll do to help you help your kid sit through Big Church:
- Have interactive portions of the service (i.e. greeting, communion, Andrew asks them questions, etc.)
- Provide “Big Sunday Checklists” to help them follow along with the service
- Have abbreviated sermons
- Answer any questions they have (there is a section for this on the bottom of the Big Sunday Checklist – we are careful to answer each question they turn in)
What else can we do to help make this process a success for you and your family?
9 thoughts on “Why do we do Big Sunday?”
Love bringing our daughter to Big Sunday…she has learned so much and loves participating in the worship music especially.
Yes, when we’ve asked kids their favorite part of worship, the overwhelming majority say they love the songs the most!
I love having my kids in the pew next to me…even though I get the “how much longer” question multiple times! I will tell you my heart had that full, almost bursting feeling the other Sunday when I saw my 4th greater singing “I AM WHO YOU SAY I AM!”. I still remember the pastor from my childhood church saying every Sunday “the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord stands forever” after scripture reading and I that phrase has popped into my mind during the trials of my adulthood. I love that they are in church during this “sponge” phase of life. Soak it up boys – and may it come to mind when you need it.
It’s incredible that even now, as a kid, he knows he is a child of God! You’re doing a great job with those boys!
We started bringing Our son into one service every Sunday in kindergarten. It was tough at the beginning but In really no time at all, he was a pro. What I really like though is that he sees other adults, not just his parents living their faith out and has even befriended some adults from church. He gets a kick out of joking with them and it makes Sundays feel more like a great big family get together than it ever did before.
“Great big family get together”! That’s such a great image!
I love Big Sunday’s at Munger! It’s not always easy to wrangle my girls through the service but hearing them sing or participate in communion makes it all worth it.
Big Sunday is a favorite in our house! Having our kids with us in big church has been such a gift. They love being there and have really gotten the hang of it. I love that they get to see their parents practicing our faith and worshipping but also get to know all the other people in our congregation. They come away with something every time. Even our three year old will come home singing the songs. I encourage everyone to stick with it-do it for your kids! We’re all in it together:) plus, there’s always donuts!