As a family, coming to the morning service can sometimes be quite a challenge! Just getting there on time, walking down from the car park and upstairs to the auditorium can feel like a real mission! At SBC we really want you and your children to feel comfortable in our services and their experience of church, so hereӳ some details to help know what to expect on a Sunday morning.
In the service or out?
Children are a valued part of the whole church and it’s great to have them in the service. Your children will usually be with you for the first 30 minutes. Most Sundays from about 11am we run age-specific groups, from babies to teenagers, where they learn about God, grow in their faith, make friends and have fun with one another. There will be a message on the screen from the front when to take your children out and downstairs to their groups.
What can they do during the service?
When children are in the service, we want to give them an experience of God and worship and being part of church. As they get older they will be able to participate more, but it’s great if they enjoy the environment right from the earliest of ages. Please feel free to help them join in by singing, dancing, jumping, praying or just playing if they want to.
Keeping them occupied…
Although our worship times are usually only around 30minutes and we often try to engage them, this can seem like forever to a young child! You might want to bring something to keep them occupied. We suggest a few small, quiet toys, do avoid balls or toys that move on their own, loud toys and anything too large or with lots of small pieces. Crayons/colouring books, picture books etc are ideal for any age.
Some practical thoughts and tips for babies and toddlers…
If you bring your child to church in a pushchair and your child is asleep, we suggest you sit at the back left of church where there is more room for them and you. Alternatively, you can leave your pushchairs downstairs in the foyer to one side, leaving the lift area clear.
We know that small children and babies generally don’t fit into our adult routines and service times!
Babies may need to be fed during the service, so if you need any assistance (e.g.warming bottles/food etc.) please ask. If you have a young baby and are breastfeeding we want to support you in this; please feel free to feed wherever you are comfortable. Do be discreet ֠and if your child is likely to make a lot of noise it may be best to feed them somewhere more private. There is plenty of space downstairs on the sofas and you’ll be able to watch and listen to the service on the screen down there. You can also feed in the family room where we have more sofas and a baby changing room. We can always provide a private space for you to feed your baby in, please ask a steward so we can meet you and your babies needs.
Toddlers often get hungry during the morning so we ensure your child is offered a drink and a snack in their groups, so if they do have any specific dietary requirements etc… make sure you tell one of their leaders and make sure their form is kept up to date. There are also drinks available after the service and you are welcome to bring a small packed lunch for toddlers who really can’t wait til they get home! Please use the coffee shop area for this and we’d be grateful if you could please clear up after yourselves too!
Changing and toileting
We have two specific areas for baby changing, a designated baby changing room in the back corridor next to the toilets and another changing station in the family room toilets. We aim to ensure there are always spare wipes, nappies and nappy sacks available in these areas.
The family room also has toddler sized toilets and sinks that encourage independence for those learning to use them! Again, there are usually spare wipes and a change of clothes there if needed.
The male and female toilets also have potties and steps available for your child to use too, please do rinse these out after use. Do let the groups know if you are potty training your child so we can encourage them too!
To help us make church a great experience for you and your family, here are some guidelines we ask you to follow:
ՠPlease DO keep an eye on them even older children! Apart from when they are signed into groups, children are the responsibility of their parent/carer, so always make sure you know where they are and that they are safe. They shouldn’t be left to play anywhere in the building without supervision, so please don’t let them!
ՠPlease DO prevent them from running around during and after the service, out of consideration for all those in the service and for theirs and others safety.
ՠPlease DO encourage them to be involved with what’s going on with the service wherever it’s possible and try to keep them reasonably quiet during more contemplative times of worship, for instance, when people are praying.
ՠPlease DON’T worry if in spite of all your efforts your children are noisy! It’s good to have them around, whatever noise they are making, and we would never expect children to be silent in church. If your child is crying, having a tantrum or making a lot of noise then feel free to take them to the balcony or downstairs to the foyer where there’s a bit more space to pacify them. Please don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you need it as many of us have been there and will sympathise with you!
If you have any comments, requests or queries about bringing your children toSBC, please contact Jo White, Children’s Ministry Director: email – firstname.lastname@example.org