Brian Parks

Active Parenting for a Joyful Lord’s Day

With our children’s ministry paused for the summer months of July and August, check out this article on what it looks like to care for our kids on Sundays. We hope it’s a blessing and a help to you!

Active Parenting for a Joyful Lord’s Day

We love having our children with us. We believe that God has entrusted to parents the joy and duty of discipling their own children, so we have structured our services to reflect that conviction. That includes having even the very youngest children with us for worship. The thought of a child’s earliest memories including worshiping with their family is, to us, a sweet prospect.

Far less attractive to us is child-centeredness. Do not mistake a whole-family approach to the Lord’s Day for child-centeredness as our pattern. We know that having little ones will bring occasional challenges as they learn to be a part of the gathered congregation in a way that blesses others. But, we want to be plain: ignoring a screaming child is not helpful to the child or to those who’ve come to worship. We encourage fathers and mothers to be alert when their child is becoming a distraction and lovingly correct them. In our context active parenting is essential. Our children are never to see church as a “free for all”. Parents are urged to train their children to serve others throughout the Lord’s Day. Keeping track of where your kids are and what they are doing serves your children and the congregation.

7 Wise Practices of Active Parenting


There are going to be times when your wonderful child won’t be the “angel” we all hope they will be. On these occasions it is perfectly acceptable, even highly encouraged, that you take your child discretely out of the service and administer a “teachable moment”. It might be helpful to sit near a rear exit while you are beginning this process. This will allow you to leave the service and return without becoming a distraction in worship.


If the first time your children have heard what you expect is when you begin shooting them disapproving looks during the sermon, you are setting them up for failure. Train your kids by your conversations during the week that you have expectations that they will participate and be a blessing during the service and throughout the day as the church is gathered.


One of the most precious things about our church is the readiness of so many families to serve each other. So, do not be offended or insulted if someone offers help when your child is in a level 5 meltdown. That’s no indictment on your parenting. It is an offer of love and kindness in hopes of serving you.


Take your child to the bathroom before the service. Get them a sip of water. Then, take your child to the bathroom during the greeting time. Work to eliminate struggles before they occur. One key factor for success in many homes is getting to bed on time every Saturday to give them the strength to endure.


The best way to help your children understand that worship is important is to show them how it is impacting you. Sing boldly, pray earnestly, take notes, pay attention, and put your phone away (unless it’s your Bible). Then on the ride home, be sure to engage your family in how the Lord was speaking to you and them during the Lord’s Day.


Bring notepads & pens for those who can write on which to take notes. Give them their own Bible. Some families have a bag set apart for the supplies they need on Sundays. Think through the frustrating moments and plan ahead for addressing them.


Without question the single most important tip for successful Sundays is practice. Family worship or other times that include opportunities to practice sitting still while someone is speaking are the single best way to prepare your kids to bless others on Sundays. Some families even have practice times during the week where kids practice sitting still while mommy listens to an audio sermon. If the Sunday sermon is the only time your kids are asked to sit still, it will likely continue to be a challenge.

No Kids? You’re Vital!

Be Patient

There are so many families who are working hard to train up their children to be a blessing to the congregation. This will not be a struggle-free process. For those who are without children of their own, patience is a kindness. Instead of furrowed brows and looks of frustration, we want to encourage warm smiles that communicate sympathy to those who are laboring in the fields of parenting.

Be Prayerful

Every baby’s cry can be a cue to pray. Pray for the salvation of that little one. Pray for the parents of the child to have strength for the tasks to which they’re called. Pray that God would use that family for His glory.

Be Helpful

We want to be a congregation that notices when others need help. Sometimes families with their hands full of little ones need an extra set of hands willing to hold a child or sit with their kids while they step out to change a diaper. Everyone can be watchful for opportunities for serving these families. Many families have even seen this as a beautiful opportunity for young ladies to gain experience helping with little ones while blessing parents with full hands!

We believe that families worshipping together is the normal pattern of the Scriptures. We also believe that it can be one of the greatest blessings we can experience as a congregation. We hope these encouragements will equip you for success every Sunday!

Editors’ note:  This article was written and posted by Basswood Church in Knoxville, TN, USA. 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Brian Parks
Brian Parks