10/12/13

Children in Church

As I was sitting in church on a recent Sunday with a wiggly four year old on my lap, a snuggly six year old next to me and my other five offspring seated nearby I had a brief moment of wondering why I put myself through this extra work. Our last church was family integrated and there was no other option but to keep the children with us, so I was used to the parenting in the pew lifestyle. It was different in this new church. Keeping my kids in church when I am pretty much the only one doing it,  seems like an odd choice. There are sweet people in the nearby classrooms who would love to relieve me of my children for a few hours while I listen to the sermon.
As I listened to the sermon and monitored the children's wiggles I thought about the reasons why I continue to keep my kids with me.

Napping in church
1. It gives me another opportunity to see if they respect what I have to say, will they actually listen to me when I ask them to sit quietly or will they defy me?

2. It gives them an opportunity to see adults worshipping God, it seems like the kids who sit with their peers end up being less comfortable singing or even lifting up holy hands to the Lord, I don't want my children inhibited in this way.

3. It gives them an opportunity to grow in knowledge. Instead of a short 5 minute Bible story and then a
half hour of talking veggies, my children have the opportunity to hear whole chapters of the Bible read and explained.

Although I don't think it is erroneous for parents to put their children in class, especially homeschool parents who are theoretically spending plenty of time parenting their own children, it was good for me to reiterate to myself why I was going through the extra effort of teaching these children to sit still in big church when it might be an easier option to send them to class. Amazingly, at the end of today's service, my four year old, who seemed to be quite distracted during the service, turned to me and said, "I love God". Can you imagine what the big people sermon was about? The love of God.

Church, it is not just for adults.




6 comments:

  1. Mom, I love you and appreciate how amazing and sacrificial you are!!

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  2. You are so sweet Emelie! I appreciate all your encouragement.

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  3. Every parent and church is different. The church we attend allows the parents to decide, of course. The children's church, which is 1 1/2 hours long, just like the adult service, includes one hour of reading through the word and discussing it. I consider it valuable (as a teacher there) and time well spent. The kids consider the text and involve themselves in the discussion- something they wouldn't have in the adult service. My own kids started in the adult service at 9 years of age. I am glad what you are doing is working for your family!

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree that every parent and church is different. I even think that there are different seasons for each family. Because we homeschool, I am happy for my children to have an occasional classroom experience, with the games and crafts that might accompany such an experience. Although right now I choose to keep my kids with me, if the classroom was compelling enough I might reconsider. The one area that I would struggle to budge on though is separating for praise and worship. Joel 2:16 is one of my favorite verses to justify this stance. If we want our children to be grown up worshippers of God, I don't think we should shuffle them off for peewee worship until they have been taught by their peers to sit with lips sealed until the singing is over.
      I am sure that every church is different in the area of worship in children's church as well though, and I am excited for you that you have found one that makes instructing children in the Word of God such a high priority.
      Thanks for visiting!
      Blessings,
      Jennifer

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  4. Jennifer, I'm visiting from the LetsHomeschoolHighSchool blog roll.

    I agree with you that there are different seasons for each family, and each church is different. I think you've got excellent reasons for keeping your children with you. And if that's what God is placing in your heart, then you're doing the right thing! One of the things I love about our church is how they encourage parents to be the primary teachers. The youth group is not simply for the youth, but for the youth and the parents to meet together. This encourages parents to oversee the teaching of our children, and our children to be guided and seek counsel from the parents, not their youth leader. However, we do have classes for the children during the service, but parents are always welcome to keep them in the service if they choose. I suppose the classroom is an option for parents who prefer it.
    It's not always easy to keep the kids with while you're trying to focus on the message, but parenting is not always easy. It IS always rewarding.

    Jennifer, I also wanted to invite you back to the next LHSHS blog roll. Here's the link if you like:

    http://letshomeschoolhighschool.com/blog/2013/10/01/october-homeschool-high-school-blog-hop/#comment-12668

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