For the last 17 years, we’ve surveyed children’s ministers to find out what they do with kids during "big church." Without fail, it seems that it’s a 50/50 split. Half the churches create a separate "children’s church" environment and half keep kids in with their parents.
So, now the half that’s been splitting kids and families is starting to ask why. In terms of "reaping what we’ve sown," these churches recognize that not only is faith segregated at church by age, but it’s segregated from the home. These churches desire to get families talking about faith at home (great goal!) The only problem is that they’re not creating a common experience for families to talk about.
So, the entry of the "shared family experience"–where families worship together in a kid-friendly environment. It’s very cool and very volunteer-intensive. For churches who can’t pull it off, would it be enough to keep families together in big church? Could one side of the church learn from another side of the church?
Check out Mary Rose’s May 4 post at http://catholicprodigaldaughter.blogspot.com/2008/05/kids-at-mass.html to see what we can learn. Is the answer standing right before us–and we’re missing it?