My friend and colleague Steven Molin and I were musing over the age-old tension between family living and church going on Sunday morning. Sometimes it’s awfully hard to get the family out of bed on Sunday morning. When children are small, is it that important that we go to church? Do they get anything out of it? Do I? Steve’s poem (below) captures the essence of the challenge.
As we move toward the summer months, many families take an extended vacation from Sunday worship. When September rolls around the busy-ness of life settles in and some parents ask themselves, is this really worth it?
The answer is a resounding yes! While remaining quiet and stationary in church can at times be a challenge, there is a great deal of young childhood that is ripe for learning in the midst of worship.
Their young minds are busy learning all the time. At worship, they learn the songs, liturgies, and prayers that are important foundations of faith. They don’t yet need to understand the theological nuances, but they can begin to build their faith vocabulary—grace, forgiveness, unconditional love, Jesus, God, Holy Spirit—that will be engrained deep in their minds and hearts, to be mined for greater meaning as they grow older.
And they learn about people of faith, and (hopefully) discover that they are loved by a far wider circle than just their family. What a gift and asset to your child! Most people in worship don’t mind some movement and distraction, and actually count on seeing the children in worship to learn their faces and names so that they can pray for them.
While this web site is all about supporting faith growth at home, it can never be complete without reinforcement from the wider community. As my daughters point out, without the surrounding faith community, you’re just the crazy God woman! Put your faith practice at home in partnership and dialogue with your faith practice at church!
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JESUS, THE GOSPEL, AND CHEERIO ROW
Sitting in worship, in the back few rows The toddlers are munching on dry Cheerios Surrounded by diaper bags, duckies and keys, The sermon is starting, “Keep the kids quiet, please!”
Mother’s embarrassed, father turns red Junior just bumped the pew with his head Jenny went potty all over the seat They’re coloring in the hymnal, sheet after sheet
When the sermon is over, when the pastor is through I’ll take the kid to the nursery, that’s what I’ll do I’ll take her downstairs where Sundays are fun Pick her up in an hour, when worship is done The sanctuary, then, will be a quieter place To speak about tolerance…patience…and grace
Parents must do what they feel is right Having children in worship might make them uptight But just be reminded of what it says in the Word Jesus welcomed adults, but it was children he preferred