Children in church

Update: Here’s another helpful article, which deals with some criticisms of this position, written after what follows was posted: Mark Jones - Shall children listen to sermons?

Recently, Stephen preached a couple of sermons about Public Worship. In the second sermon, he focused on the question of whether children should be in worship or not.

As promised in the sermon, below are a number of helpful resources on both the theology and practice of having children in worship from as early an age as possible, as well as a number of related issues. Note that a link isn’t necessarily an endorsement of the author or everything they have written.


Rich Holdeman (RPCNA) - Where should your children be during worship?

Daniel R. Hyde - Training children in worship

R. Scott Clark - The mystery of children’s church

Jeremy Walker - Attendance of children in public worship

John & Noël Piper - The family: together in God’s presence

John Piper - Should children sit through big church? (audio below)

Chad Bird - The church doesn’t need children’s church

Micah Anglo / Carl Trueman - How skipping church affects your children

Erik Raymond - Helping children benefit from the sermon

Scott Brown - Why You Ought to Have Your Children With You in Church

Ben Zornes - Corralling the kids as an act of worship

Christina Embree - Church is boring

Nick Batzig - Five reasons to keep the kids in

Tricia Gillespie - Teach kids to sit still

David Robertson - Children, the family and the church

Nicholas Davis - Let the little children come into big church

Neil Stewart - Remember, remember


Robbie Castleman - Parenting in the Pew

Daniel R. Hyde - The Nursery of the Holy Spirit

Jason Helopoulos - Let the Children worship

Previous sermons

Stephen has previously touched on this topic in sermons on Mark 10:13-16 - once at a baptism the week we started our current crèche (where he explained the intention that children would need it for as short a time as possible), and once as part of a series on Mark’s gospel.

Both times he quoted Gordon Keddie, formerly the RPCS minister in Wishaw and now in America, who said:

‘One of the huge errors in Scotland been the banishment of children from church life until they were in their teens. At which time they rightly said if you didn't need us till now, you won't need us from here on’.


James Torrens (Highland International Presbyterian Church) gave two very helpful talks at the IPC British Presbytery in September 2018. They are available to listen to on the IPC website.


Big Brother hasn't gone away

The final series of the TV show Big Brother may just have finished - but Big Brother hasn't gone away. Last week, Nicola Sturgeon described herself as the 'chief corporate parent', or as she prefers it, 'chief mammy'. While doubtless intended to be endearing, Sturgeon's admission highlights a growing trend of government interference in family life. Recent examples of this are the proposed Named Person scheme (ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in 2016), government efforts to stand between parents and their young children on the issue of gender self-identification, and Scottish Government support for a bill by Green MSP John Finnie to ban smacking.


This latest effort is despite the fact that 74% of Scots say that smacking should not be a criminal offence (though the Church of Scotland disagrees). While the Government claims a connection between smacking and aggressive behaviour in adolescence and adulthood, there is no evidential basis for such an assertion. In fact, the author of the bill admits to smacking his own children and says they turned out to be 'well-rounded'!

Not only does the proposed bill ignore both the public and the evidence, its supporters consistently misrepresent the current law by claiming that the new legislation is about protecting children from assault. In actual fact, any smack that leaves more than a temporary reddening of the skin is already illegal, as are smacks aimed at the head. The present law ensures that parents will not be prosecuted for using light, reasonable discipline. The new legislation would turn good parents into criminals for simply tapping their kids on the back of the hand or pulling them away from the side of the road. Meanwhile, police and social workers will be flooded with trivial cases, leaving them struggling to stop genuine child abuse.

The Government is also trying to rewrite history in an attempt to force through the bill, claiming to have 'long opposed the physical punishment of children', when as recently as 2017 Ministers said they did not believe a ban was 'appropriate', while similar legislation was opposed by the SNP in 2002.

Those who perhaps breathe a sigh of relief that Christianity doesn't dictate morals as it once did may just be starting to worry about what it's been replaced with. A God-sized vacuum has been left behind, which the Government is all too happy to try and fill.

Published in the Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press, 8th November 2018

Family Fun Day: pictures & talks


On Saturday, we held our second ever Church Family Fun Day, with the help of a GO Team (short term mission team).

In the morning, the team organised activities (Bible talk, craft, games etc) for children while Rev. David McCullough gave two very helpful talks to parents (and others!) on the topic 'Leading little ones to God'. The talks are available to listen to and download here.

Leading little ones to God.png

In the afternoon, there was a bouncy castle, face painting, and candy floss and popcorn-making for the kids, while the adults had a chance to sit around and chat.


We finished things off with a BBQ, though no-one was in a rush home and people stayed behind chatting for a long time! We are grateful to God for the good weather, sense of fellowship. We also appreciated those from Glasgow, Airdrie and North Edinburgh who made the effort to be part of the  day - it was great to have people from all the mainland RPCS congregations!


Church Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day.png

Our Church Family Fun Day will take place on 25th August. In the morning, Rev. David McCullough will be giving two talks on the theme 'Leading little ones to God' - worshipping God as families. During his talks there will be activities organised for children. Then in the afternoon we will have a bouncy castle, candy floss makers etc for the younger ones will the adults have a chance to sit and chat. For more details see the poster above - all welcome!

Teaching children reverence and joy in worship


Last Saturday, Lydia, Hannah, Daniel, Carla and Willow went over to Northern Ireland for the annual Family Day Conference. This year, the RPCNA's David Whitla (who was the speaker at our Firm Foundations weekend In October) was speaking on the subject 'Teaching children reverence and joy in worship'.

You can listen to the audio of the talk above. Click here to view the accompanying Powerpoint Presentation.