Yesterday I wrote a little about how it's proven to be a bit of a difficult task for us to find a church due to the fact that we have small children (and not to mention we are picky). And if you read that post you can probably tell that we know more about what we don't want in a church than we know about what we do want.
My friend, Ben, offered some insight and good advice on the topic. He said,...
Christ seems to identify himself with and accommodates the least of these, especially in view of his message regarding his father's kingdom. I would contend that the church needs to rethink and re-imagine how to follow Christ's example with respect to this. We (the Church) are already failing with accommodating and welcoming the poor, needy, 'those real sinners' and the disabled. This indeed is sad. More so, is the fact that there are many of the least of these (ie. children) who are within our midst but get pushed to the side. And the justification is completely pragmatic, even the best intentions.
He went on to give this advice,...
Ask the pastor/teacher to email you the sermon passage and use this to teach your kids during the week so that when they attend the service they can understand the sermon a bit more. You could even explain to the pastor your intent to do this and ask if they are willing to provide an outline so you can better engage your children during the week and at church. On Sunday you can engage your kids as the sermon is given. When the pastor/teacher or member pulls you aside and asks why you don't want to send the children to nursery or to the program say, "because it is the parents' role to educate their children and the church's job to accommodate the least of these in a way in which the least of these are given the best seats."
Now i grew up in a traditional Southern Baptist Church where it's the norm (as in most other churches and denominations) to send the kids off to the nursery or some type of class during the "adult service", but I really like the idea of children being not only welcomed in the service, but encouraged to participate in the service.
While I have heard of churches doing this (accommodating children in the main gathering) I've never seen it played out in any of the churches i have been to. Most churches at best have a nursery where people watch the kids play while the parents worship.
We do know we want more than that for our children.
So my questions are...
What are your thoughts about church being a place where adults and children a like all meet together, and Where the children, no matter what age, are encouraged to participate in the gatherings in one way or another?
What does your church do? Where are the children during the main gatherings?
And if you participate in a church that operates in this way, give some advice on how to make it work.
(note: I wrote and put together this blog from my phone, so please excuse anything that needs to be excused due to this fact.)