Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

Children's Behavior In Worship

Bill Hall

One of the greatest responsibilities parents face is that of teaching their children proper behavior in worship. Children's interest in spiritual matters depends so greatly on their parent's success.

Teaching children that they are to be quiet is important, but good behavior in worship reaches far beyond this. Children must be taught reverence and respect for God. They must learn to stay awake, to sing, to listen, to participate. Their interest should grow as their capacity for learning grows. We offer the following suggestions.

Sit near the front. There are fewer distractions up front. If adults are distracted in the back (and they are bound to be), children may totally forget where they are. You might teach them to be quiet back there, but you will hardly be able to teach them to listen and participate. Make a rule very early in your children's lives that they never, never sit behind you.

Don't let your children routinely go to the restroom. The time for using the restrooms is before they leave home or just before the worship begins. Then they probably will not need to go during the worship period. Exceptions should be few and far between for normal children. The restroom parades that occur in most worship periods are unnecessary and distracting. Never let your children go to the water fountain. They can wait.

Don't let them play. Toddlers will need something for their entertainment, but when children reach four, five, or six years old, they are old enough to sit quietly without entertainment. You will be surprised at how soon they will learn the words of songs and what they might glean from a sermon.

If possible, see that they get proper rest the night before. Lack of sleep increases irritability and restlessness.

Set a good example before them. Children whose parents demonstrate little fervor, interest, and reverence in worship will likely demonstrate little of these qualities themselves.

Pray for God's help. The task is not easy, but great joy awaits those who are successful.

"To Join The Disciples"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

Many members of the body of Christ are under the false impression that by regularly attending a church they are automatically inducted into the membership of the same. This incorrect notion is often perpetuated in practice among churches that lack understanding. While it is not this writer's intention to defend the vocabulary of "placing membership", the concept is very much a scriptural one and worthy of our attention.

Three years after he was converted (Galatians 1:15-19), "...when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out" (Acts 9:26-28).

Notice that Saul attempted "to join the disciples", but before he would be considered "with them" Barnabas had to vouch for him, confirming that he was, in fact, a faithful Christian. This was not a display of merciless hostility on the part of the church in Jerusalem, but sincere adherence to the will of God, for it is written, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him, for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds" (2 John 10-11).

There must, therefore, be a process by which those who desire to be recognized as members of a particular congregation are verified to be worthy of acceptance. In the case of Saul, Barnabas was present to give assurance to the apostles. In other cases, letters of commendation would be appropriate. After he was converted in Ephesus, Apollos moved to Corinth and "the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him" (Acts 18:27). Paul implied that letters are not necessary where the individual is previously known to the congregation, especially if he is the one who taught them the gospel (2 Corinthians 3:1); otherwise, he stated, such letters are necessary.

Considering that "a little leaven leavens the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8), churches are well advised to exercise caution in who they accept as members.

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