We strongly encourage our parents with small children to attend gathered worship as a family. Why? Isn’t it much more convenient for the children to attend Explorers during the first service, for parents to attend worship without the distraction of children, and then to leave following the first hour on Sunday?
Yes, this is much more convenient. Young children require a certain amount of attention and management during worship. Schedules are busy and cutting Sunday morning commitment in half is attractive. But there is more to think about. Is this approach good in the short-term, but detrimental in the long-term?
We encourage families to attend worship together because we believe this has a very high impact on the long-term spiritual formation of children and even impacts the likelihood that they will continue in the faith beyond high school graduation.
What do children get out of a worship service? The observation of their parents: singing, confessing, praying, listening to the scripture, observing the Table, giving their offering—children learn to embrace the community of faith by watching their parents (and other adults!) do so! They will imitate what they watch their parents valuing.
When you attend gathered worship as a family, you are making a significant investment in their future faith. And that’s why.