Church Etiquette For Children

The following article "Church Etiquette For Children" was written by my husband's childhood pastor Wayne Barkett and is excerpted from his book "Doctrine of the Local Church":

1. Realize Church is God's House, not yours. You have no right to behave as you desire (I Tim. 3:15). Extreme reverence is to be exercised (Psa. 89:7).

2. Your children's behavior in church reflects your attitude to others.

3. Never allow gum chewing or candy.

4. Insure little children have been to the restroom before services.

5. If infants cry, immediately remove them.

6. Sit at rear of sanctuary near door if a child doesn't feel well.

7. Teach them to participate in song service.

8. Never let them get up and leave during a service for any reason (unless sick).

9. Remember, what you permit them to do while they are little will establish a pattern of life as they mature.

10. Don't bring them to God's House to sleep. What you are really saying is, "When you hear preaching, put your little head down." To allow a child to sleep could be distracting. The child may snore. A sleeping child could have a bad dream and awake noisily. A teen that nods during a service has probably been trained well to do so. A sleeping child is taught that Jesus doesn't really meet with us in His House, or that what the preacher says is not important (at any age).

11. Absolutely no note writing except for taking notes on the message.

12. Teach them that when prayer or preaching is going on, there is to be NO talking or whispering.

13. Leave all "busy" items at home (like crayons, drawing pencils, puzzles, etc.). God's House is not a nursery center.

14. Parents who allow children to entertain themselves during a service have betrayed their own confidence as a parent (whatever you do is okay, just be still).

15. Hyper-active children ought to sit at the back of the sanctuary where they may be removed for discipline.

16. Teens (especially) during the invitation must never giggle or cut up. Discipline ought to be swift in such cases. Never take the invitation for granted; stress extreme importance upon it.

17. DO NOT allow children to look around at people or a clock to see what time it is.

18. Never allow teens of the opposite sex to casually touch each other for any reason in church.

19. Avoid departmental seating, if possible. Let children sit with their parents.

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