Stand by the exit door of your children’s ministry area and you will hear parents ask their child the big question.
“Did you have fun today?”
If the child responds by just shrugging his or her shoulders, then it was probably boring.
The biggest telltale sign is this- the child will come right out and say – “It was boring!”
First, let’s clarify what the parents are really asking. When they say “did you have fun today” they are really asking their child…
Did they capture your attention?
Did you see any of your friends?
Was the lesson relevant to your life?
Did the volunteers take time to talk with you?
That being said…here are 10 reasons why a child will say church is boring.
They were made to attend an adult service.
You don’t send an 8-year-old to college. It’s not age appropriate. The same applies for children at church. Most of what they will hear in the adult service is not age appropriate for them.
Should children be separated from their parents during the worship service and have their own service? Yes…I believe the pros outweigh the cons.
Let me also say this. I believe once a child hits middle school they should move into the adult service. In the adult worship service this past weekend, I looked over and saw a boy that grew up in “children’s church.” He is now in 6th grade and attends the adult service. He was ready for the move. It is now age appropriate for him and he is engaging with it.
Many people believe children should be in the adult service from day one. While there are benefits of this, I believe if you weigh out the two options, you will see that children need to be placed in age-appropriate environments until they reach a certain maturity level and can benefit from the service. You can read more about this in my article – 6 Reasons Why Children Should Not Be in the Adult Worship Service.
They constantly hear “sssssssshhhhh…be quiet.”
Children are wired to talk. They are wired to ask questions. Little children are wired to cry and make noise.
If you attend a very small church, it may be acceptable to have the kids attend the adult service. I find that most people who want to make sure children are in the adult service are part of a small church where it is the norm. Once you get into a church with a minimum of several hundred attendees, you begin to see that some of the approaches you take in a small church doesn’t translate well in a larger church…both logistically and practically.
A child that is placed in an environment where they are not allowed to talk or express themselves will leave saying the church service was “boring.”
They are made to sit still.
Kids are wired to move, move, move. Don’t ask them to sit still for long periods of time or you may find them crawling under the pews. Get them in an environment where they can move freely and be a part of active, hands on learning.
The teaching was over their head and they didn’t learn anything.
Just as you wouldn’t expect a child to learn anything in a college classroom, don’t expect children to learn from sermons that are meant for adults.
You lectured them for more than 5 minutes at a time.
Today’s kids have very, very, very short attention spans. They won’t engage with a typical adult sermon. They need to be in an environment where there is engaging, creative, learner-based lessons.
They don’t have any friends at church.
Children are like adults in this way. They want to have a friend at church. If they end up having to be a loner in the class, they will often say it was boring. Church is meant to be done with other people. Bring icebreakers and games into your lessons that give kids the opportunity to get to know other kids in their class and make friends.
You didn’t play any games in the class.
Kids love games. Bible verse games. Review games. Team games. Make sure you bring some games into your lessons.
It was too “babyish.”
When your songs, lessons, games and music are geared for a young audience, older kids will check out and say this is boring. This is true when you have several grades of kids together.
Here’s a little secret.
When you are teaching multiple ages together, always aim for the oldest boy in the room. If you engage him, you will engage everyone. Cool rolls downhill. Younger children look up to older children . That’s who they want to be…an older kid. So when they see the older kids actively engaged, they will follow suit.
Another little secret. When you have multiple ages together, have the older kids sit up front. Why? Because the younger kids can now see the older kids engaging and they will engage as well. But if you put the older kids in the back, they will be turned off and will not engage as well.
No volunteers took a personal interest in them. Kids want to be known. Kids want to be missed when they are absent. Kids want to be prayed for by name. Kids want to have a friendship with the volunteers. When this happens, kids look forward to going to church to see Mr. Mike or Mrs. Mary.
They didn’t get to be part of a small group. Kids need the opportunity to be a part of a small group where they can establish friendships. Small group doesn’t mean one volunteer with 15 kids. That’s not a small group. A small group is a volunteer with 6 to 8 kids max. Check your ratios. If kids are saying your services are boring, it may be because they feel lost in the crowd.
I have met many people who say, “I’m not going to church because I was made to go as a child.” Think about this…you don’t have to make someone go where they enjoy being.
I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m not going to Disney World because I was made to go as a child.”
The reason they say they hated going to church as a child is because they were placed in an irrelevant, boring service or class.
I challenge you to take a hard look at your services and programs for kids. What about their experience at church? Are they saying things are “boring?” Maybe they are saying it is boring because it is.
Why do you think kids get bored at church?
How can we do a better job at making church a place where kids love to come?
Do you believe kids should be placed in adult worship services? Why or why not?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.