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You are doing something really, really important. I know it's not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.
I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.
And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper. I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone's eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way....
Anne, your two posts a rich blessing and surely God's blueprint for the assembly. Now if only all the churches could cotton on to that, and realise the immense value of that variety of his redeemed people, there would be no-one feeling insignificant or useless, and the whole family of God - the living stones - would glorify the Lord, and edify one another, being built up an holy priesthood, testifying to the world around them of his great love and redemption, worshipping and working together, seeing every need met, children feeling themselves in a secure envrironment, and outsiders seeing a vast difference in such a counter-culture Christianity that they are forced to hearken to the message.
We need the single men and women so we can teach our kids to wait on the Lord for His marital blessing and it's ok to wait however long! And likewise, those singles need to be exposed to the joys of children, and sometimes the disipline required.
We need the widows and widowers, the raggedly dressed guy who wanders in the back door, the struggling families, the families with one kid who can't comprehend "how you do it", the bigger families, the "normal" families, the broken families, the people fighting diseases... How on earth do we teach them about Heaven's grace and God's sovereignty when they are taken away from this to learn children's songs and glue cartoon pictures on construction paper (which they can do at home after church, btw)? They learn empathy here, they learn manners here, they get hands-on servitude here, they learn what Christ's body is here, for better or for worse!
"We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done." (Psalms 78:4 KJV)
Barry, the church needs you so we can teach our kids what a diverse family is and how we serve those children who don't have Daddies and Mommies who can take care of them. We need your kind of family's nearness to expose my children to the rainbow of kids God made and your wisdom on some tough times we might face. I want to bless your family with encouragement and service.
Lady Virtue, we need you so we can tell our children that there are people who "get" what a legacy handed down by God is and role models who won't disparage them. You need those awesome pictures my kids draw because they just love you!
Dorcas, we need you in church so we can teach our kids how to treat those who wear the crown of aged-wisdom. They need to hear your stories and reprimands that only a grandparent can deliver in that grandparent way! And I desperately need your wisdom in more areas than I can count!
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 1:2)
I too add my amen to your post Anne. Yes...church meeting places are dead without the young ones.Speaking as an aged women with all our family and grand kids all grown,we love having the little ones around to love,and guide and watch them grow. Also we found that we can be a blessing to the young parents in many ways.Which blesses us too! Thanks for your comment.
Anne, I second Barry's comment. Your remarks blessed me as well, particularly this section:
"Churches without kids are dead churches. Churches with people who show a lack of understanding on what comprises a 'church family' are just dying slowly."
I really feel for those who end up childless because they've been deceived by the god of this world into thinking that life is all about making as much money as you can and supposedly winning if you die with the most toys (cf. Matt. 6:24; Luke 6:13-21; I Tim. 6:10). Familial relationships have a way of teaching us what is truly important, and they often purge and refine us like nothing else, making us more Christlike in the process. It's sometimes painful, and not always easy, but it's nonetheless a blessing.
Anne, your comment has been a real blessing to me! God sends his helps in all kinds of ways i guess. Thank you for your blessing!!! Our family is somewhat dynamic as it changes if not from week to week then month to month. We are foster parents and we usually have several kids in tow. these are mostly children that have never been in church and have no clue as to how to behave in or outside of church. that is where my wife and I come in. we have to instruct in the ways. it's usually effective however, sometimes we do become a distraction. I'm sure there are a handful of brothers and sisters that think we would be better off at home watching on services somewhere on TV. but the majority find our children as we do, a true blessing! thank you again for your comment. You are awesome!!!
I agree if a child is carrying on, by all means the parents should take them out until they are calm. But this article was written for families like ours who have a lot of small children close in age and, not surprisingly, act like little kids sometimes! Are we so self centered that we cannot abide childlike behavior? Or have we so lost the biblical understanding of what corporate worship is that our narsasistic society only caters to those "in their field of vision"?
And Jim, your answer is to pawn them off for age appropriate classes?! Can you please show me where this is modeled anywhere in the Bible? And we wonder why as kids grow older they fall away! It's because they've been PUT away since they were babies to be entertained at "their age level". Daddies and Mommies should be sitting with their children, with the youth, the middle-aged, the singles, the elderly and joining in the worship of the God they ALL serve.
Churches without kids are dead churches. Churches with people who show a lack of understanding on what comprises a "church family" are just dying slowly.
Btw, this woman is a Lutheran Pastors' wife. It was a tremendous encouragement to read this article and I pray God would bless it towards many others who struggle with the under-three kids but
This scene of bedlam sounds like parents are also failing to discipline their children in how to behave in public (by the way GS Texas, since the kiddie is drinking communion wine, juice, and of course is too young to really be participating in it, anyway, the scene is not a Romish one) (Oh which reminds me, The Mass: Miracle or Mendacity?
Now Indian Hills Community Church has various ministries, for example for young children, Children's Ministries. However, if you do go to a church that is one big happy family and don't have the resources to give the children special attention, I would suggest then you have community parenting in church, where any member of the congregation can spank a child who is misbehaving, if their biological parents fail in this duty.
Don't be fooled this is from the liberal secular huffington post by some Catholic. I do however believe we need to wash our children in the word and lead them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. If only fathers would actually lead their families the church would be in a lot better shape today, and the young adults wouldn't be leaving never to return. Not to mention the abundant compromises in these modern apostate churches that feed the flesh and not the spirit. The youth can get that from the world and then some.