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Parenting in the pew : guiding your children into the joy of worship

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  253 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
"Daddy, I'd like you to meet my children."That's Robbie Castleman's attitude about taking her children to church. She believes that Sunday morning isn't a success if she has only managed to keep the kids quiet. And she knows there's more to church for kids than trying out their new coloring books. Children are at church for the same reason as their parents: for the privile ...more
Paperback, 139 pages
Published 2002 by InterVarsity Press (first published February 1993)
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Feb 14, 2013 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: faith-related
While she had some good ideas, I found this in the end to be mostly unhelpful. I was already convinced that my daughter needed to be in church with me and was looking for how to make that happen. She had a few ideas for little ones, but in chapter four or five said that a child my daughter's age should still be in the nursery. She did have good ideas for getting older children involved in their time in the pew, though.
My main frustration is with her theology. I didn't expect her to be Lutheran,
Jul 14, 2014 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The philosophy behind "Parenting in the Pew" is that we don't go to church, but we go to worship. When we do so, we are worshiping the Almighty God who saved us from our sins. And so as Christians it is our responsibility to teach our children how to enjoy worshiping God. In so doing, we ourselves learn to enjoy worship more.

The book is a quick read; Robbie Castleman gives practical examples as to how to engage children in worship from toddlers to teenagers. The book contains many anecdotes from
Apr 19, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it
What a breath of fresh air to give me a new perspective on family integrated worship! For 11 years I've attended churches with children included in the worship. I've been a parent for almost 4 of them. And until now, I've just "gotten through it" or "begrugingly survived" because that's how the PCA & OPC churches we've attended have done things. But this book has changed my perspective on the matter and has given me a renewed resurgence to be a better parent (at least in the pews) and really ...more
May 04, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Yes, this book has things in it that I don't agree with. However, it has changed my view on my role as a parent for the better. I was frustrated when our church started to have the children sit in with us during worship. I was constanly correcting my son who was having trouble sitting. I was getting NOTHING out of worship. Somthing had to give. A friend gave me this book and said the same thing I just told you. I don't agree with everything in this book. However the author was very good at expla ...more
Becky Sayler
Feb 10, 2014 Becky Sayler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This is a great resource for parents with the theological philosophy behind why it is important to include children in worship, as well as the nuts and bolts of how to train your child in and for worship. It challenged me to think about the goal of including children in worship (it’s not for them to be quiet, it’s for them to worship and experience God). Some of the recommendations don’t work for a church setting like ours (no church bulletins or hymnbooks), but most of what she talks about can ...more
Apr 27, 2014 Christina rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-christina
First, I think the target audience for this book is a member of a family-integrated church, and we do not attend one.

Second, there were quite a few things in this book that were clearly the author's opinion and not biblically supported in any way. For example, the author would not let her children participate in communion until they had written and then shared their testimony in front of the church- I don't find this requirement in the Bible at all. I'm sure this was just a suggestion but it fel
Oct 27, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I was really excited to read this book. I have three kids ages nine, six and three. The older two are now in church with me, and I found myself focusing on discipline and losing the heart of why we were there. I enjoyed the first couple of chapters of this book, but after that it went downhill. She talks about guiding them into worship, but then she goes on to talk about a bunch of rules and requirements. It felt very overwhelming to me, and I stopped reading because there were a couple stories ...more
As a frazzled father of three, I know how hard church can be. While life at home is often pandemonium in church I feel like I have to reign those kids in. At the very least keep them from kicking the pew in front of them. Author Robbie Castleman challenges us parents to enlarge our vision of what our kids can experience in church. Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children into the Joy of Worship, now in its third edition, brings together Castleman’s skill as a theologian, and her experience ra ...more
Parenting in the Pew is part memoir and part practical theology as a pastor’s wife grapples with issues regarding children and the public worship service. For individuals and churches who are questioning participating in children’s ministry programs through elementary school, Parenting in the Pew will provide food for thought and conviction that it is good, right and worthwhile for children to worship with their parents.

For those who already worship as a family or have minimal children’s program
Aug 29, 2010 Starry rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book helpful and thought-provoking: a good starting point for considering how to train children to worship in church. It convicted me that I haven't been making a consistent, well-thought-out effort in this important aspect of parenting. (Yes, I focus too much on for-heaven's-sake-would-you-please-sit-still-so-the-rest-of-us-can-worship and too little on helping my children become active participants in the service.) So I'm grateful that the author gives good rationale for training ...more
Jehan Corbin
Jan 25, 2014 Jehan Corbin rated it liked it
I wish there were half star ratings & I could give this book a 2.5, because I felt like I was divided equally between liking it & disliking it. While the author is certainly on point theologically, her verbiage teetered on being condescending & left me with the distinct feeling that her two sons (who are now adults, but whom she developed this "method" with as children) were never distractions in church & were so much better off because of what "she" had done. I certainly agree t ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Susana rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I found this book insightful, practical, and uplifting. As a pastor's wife myself, I am in practice a single mom on Sunday mornings, and it's often a challenge to get out the door! However, I don't want to teach my kids that Sundays are a hassle, church is a lot of effort, or that worship is boring. I appreciated Robbie Castleman's encouraging words from someone with a lot of practice parenting in the pew.
Apr 12, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it
Great! Mrs. Castleman does a wonderful job encouraging parents to not just "go to church" but learn to worship together. Not only does she admonish parents to leave behind coloring books, games, and Where's Waldo books, she gives gentle, practical wisdom of what to do as well. I love that she advocates all children, regardless of age, to worship with mom and dad in the pew. She instructs with age-appropriate guidelines for toddlers to teens. The only place I part with the Castlemans is on commun ...more
Aug 19, 2011 Sara rated it liked it
I found this book valuable because it's one of the few resources out there on the topic of teaching children to worship alongside their families. Sadly, it's pretty short and basically limited to the author's personal experience with her own children. While I found her insights and practical advice to be helpful, I wish the book had included a theological/philosophical approach to the topic as well. Also, she recognizes that generational segregation and the creation of child-centric church progr ...more
Tara Gibbs
Oct 07, 2014 Tara Gibbs rated it really liked it
A quick, helpful, nuts and bolts must read for Christian parents to consider the blessings of teaching their children to love worship. I believe this book gets more important every year for the church as we fight all the distractions of the world impeding our discipleship of our precious children.
Feb 18, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All churches and parents!!
Recommended to Michelle by: Michelle Goodson
Growing up in church, I found myself mostly busied being occupied so as to be kept quiet and less of an unruly distraction if not shuffled off to a children's church that was well-led, but not exactly geared to transition us into the main worship service. I feel this book is a great place to start as parents find themselves feeling led to keep their children with them in the pew while doing more than just occupying their kid's time but instead, leading their kids into worship. It's not an easy r ...more
Nov 14, 2014 Marjie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read to help my perspective of worship not only for kids but for the church family as a whole. Very instructive and encouraging. I recommend this especially for young families.

Kevin Morse
Jul 16, 2012 Kevin Morse rated it really liked it
This one goes by fast!

Here's what I liked-
1. I agreed with her that parents should be teaching their children how to worship.
2. She has a lot of stories, and they're not just success stories either.
3. She has a lot of practical wisdom for parents and, frankly, for pastors too.
4. The point she emphasizes several times in the book is that we don't come to church to be passive receivers, but to worship the almighty God.

It was a helpful read for me because we're in the process of rethinking our
Feb 28, 2013 Elizabeth rated it liked it
There were things I really liked about this book. I was convicted about my attitude towards worship (mainly in thinking I needed to get something out of it, or that the Osan base chapel service needs to be Redeemer San Antonio instead of what it is) and my lack of preparation toward Sunday service in general. Other parts of the book rubbed me the wrong way, in the sense that a) the author is a deeply spiritual person that puts a lot more effort into instructing her much-fewer children than I eve ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Alison rated it it was amazing
What a fab book! I read it several years ago when my eldest was a toddler and found it really thoughtprovoking - so I lent the book to someone and it's never come back! Reading it again now my children are both at school has been really good - the emphasis on teaching children to worship rather than how to behave in worship is striking and the encouragement not to make too much of every small bad habit they have is a real challenge! It's certainly helped me to look at how we behave in worship an ...more
Hailey White
Jun 15, 2014 Hailey White rated it liked it
Overall an encouraging read. Definitely a must read if you're interested in the topic, regardless if you agree with the author on every point.
E Wolcott
Jun 23, 2015 E Wolcott rated it liked it
A good reminder of how important it is to train your children in how to worship. She gives some practical tips on how to do so.
Jun 15, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book has lots of practical advice on how to help kids get more out of worship. There is a bit of "my way is the best way" but she does a great job of defending her position. Beware though of letting the doing she encourages us to doesn't become an end to itself.
Really good. Great theology of worship and children, and had some good tips.
Feb 24, 2014 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very quick read. The author has a pretty helpful overall vision for leading children in worship and offers some practical advice.
Aug 08, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a joyful, encouraging support for parents who desire to "parent in the pew". In the author's words... "we need to teach our children to go to 'worship' vs.just going to church". She had alot of inspiring examples that she shared from her experience and addressed specific topics throughout the book. I liked that this book brings attention to the need and directs parents in some of the basics. I would have like more examples, articles, studies, etc. to reference for my own needs beyond ju ...more
Joy Lynne
Dec 25, 2011 Joy Lynne rated it really liked it
I got this for a Christmas present, and read it in two days while we were on vacation. The points made by the author totally changed my perspective on how we should view worshiping with our children. This was a very timely read for me, as our oldest is just getting to the age where he joins us for worship. I want to train our children to worship, not just to behave while sitting in "big church." This is going to be a book that I read more than once, as we enter new stages of parenting, and as I ...more
Mandy J. Hoffman
Dec 31, 2008 Mandy J. Hoffman rated it it was ok
While I enjoyed the content and the overall message of the book I could not completely recommend this book due to the differences the author & I have in some of our Biblical views. However, if you read it to gain a general idea and not specific knowledge on certain topics I think it's a really good book about how to train your child in church and the attitude we need as parents towards this God given task.
Annie Rose
Sep 02, 2014 Annie Rose rated it really liked it
I read this book the year before I became a parent and loved it. I re-read it this summer, now the parent of an active preschooler and toddler, and found it a bit less helpful. I still agree with and appreciate the overall message of the book, but my experience now makes me see that the book needed more troubleshooting help than the very brief appendix on helping "hyperactive" children enter into worship.
Aug 27, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
I never really thought about the importance of training a child to worship. I just supposed it was something everyone learned on their own. Of course when I was young we had a thing called children's church. :) Matthew is 6 and I feel better prepared to help him in worship. It will probably be a while before I know whether these suggestions work or not. I do think it's an excellent concept.
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