“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?