Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To My Friends From Church...

You're doing something right.  

Well, lots of things.  But in particular I'm thinking about the way the church is a family, and relates to families and kids.

It's been a busy week at church, with all the special Easter events.  We were there Thursday evening for the Maundy Thursday soup and bread potluck and Lord's Supper.  We were there again Friday evening for the Tenebrae Service.  And on Sunday, though we missed the Sunrise Service at the farm (maybe next year), we were at church for Easter Service and the potluck brunch.

So I could understand if the boys were feeling a little "churched out", but I haven't heard a word of complaint.  In fact, they were were happy and willing to go to the extra events.  (Of course, food being involved always helps, but isn't the only draw!)

And here's the kicker...

Gunnar was playing with a friend recently, and came into the kitchen with a sigh.

"Mom, it's really sad.  ****'s got the wrong idea about church.  He thinks it isn't any fun and it's just for grown-ups.  That's really sad."

Because that's obviously not the message that Gunnar is getting.

And let me put that in perspective...

Our church does have Sunday School, with wonderful, devoted, godly teachers who bring God's Word to our kids at their level.  But other than that... the kids are included with the adults.  They are in church with the family.  And there is no children's church, no children's sermon, no children's worship with hand-motions and dancing.  None of the stuff that is supposed to entertain and amuse children.

Oh, except being included.  And being allowed and expected to participate.  And occasionally being recognized for that.  I've mentioned this before, here and here.

It's working.


leah said...

I really think your church has hit on something that so many churches have lost. We've quit going to our church for the time being... the kids were not only left out of things, but people complained constantly that they made noise during the service. Instead, I was supposed to drop them off in the church nursery where the paid daycare worker would show them Spongebob cartoons (we don't like these at all and feel they're inappropriate).

When you watch Little House or other old series (because all of my knowledge of things past is from old TV shows and children's books, lol), you notice the entire family is together during church. The kids are included with the adults, and included in the service.

Kudos to your church family, for loving ALL the members of the church and including the littlest ones!

The dB family said...

Yes!!! Our church isn't quite there yet (we have Sunday school and children's sermons), but I still love how they include the children very much during the service. I know our kids listen carefully and are happy to go to church. That's a very good thing!


Herding Grasshoppers said...

I should probably have made it more clear that I don't think all children's things are bad! My kids have all done AWANA, they've gone to VBS, and we definitely used the nursery when they were younger and wigglier :D

But my heart really warmed to hear Gunnar's comment, that he gets that those things aren't what's important about church.

And when the kids are involved in kids' activities, they are centered on God's word (like AWANA) and not just on entertainment.

Oh Leah, sorry about the SpongeBob! (Wasn't it Men in Black, once??!) I think your kids are the hardest age, as relates to church, because as they become preschoolers they outgrow the nursery but it's really hard - especially for boys - to be still and quiet.

Before mine could read I let them have picture books or other very quiet toys (because they were still listening) and I'll usually let them draw. I think some kids actually listen better when their hands are busy!

And our pastor generally keeps the service to an hour.

Ann said...

How I love this!!! How I wish more of our churches would get this - ours included! We personally incorporate our kids into a lot more than our church as a whole does, and it is paying off. They enjoy the kids stuff, but they also enjoy being a part of what Doug and I do. I love that!

Q said...

Our church isn't segregated either - wonderful for Gunnar!

Mrs. Squirrel said...

Amen! Our church used to have the age segregation, but got small enough that there was no-one to man the extra groups. However, that was a blessing in disguise.

The more we thought about it (and the Bible), the more we believed that kids need to see their parents in church - how they act, how they worship, how they study and pay attention. [Not to mention the ready discussion after church for asking/answering questions.]

Plus, kids are often 'smarter' than they are given credit for... and God calls us to come to Him as children. Which is where we can learn a thing or two from the younger generations, too. :)

leah said...

My former church was a tad too long, and I think that didn't help things. Sunday school started at 9:00am, and then church started at 10:45am. The main church service went from 10:45-12:00 (sometimes longer), and that is just too long for a 2 and 4 year old to sit. I tried bringing coloring books and other quiet toys, but Matt is my real challenge (very high energy)...

We love VBS. I am definitely doing it again this year with Nolan's preschool (may end up going to church there, too). They have a Sunday school program before church, then the kids are in the main service, which is kept to 45 minutes long or so. The kids are even given tamborines, etc. during some of the songs... I haven't actually gone yet, but I've talked to people that go there.

I'm a big fan of Sunday School and VBS, Awana, etc. But it is also nice when kids are welcomed into the main service, too!

Organizing Mommy said...

Praise the Lord! What a blessing!

Cutzi said...

And is that my mom walking up the steps? ;-) Love that.

Cutzi said...

Amen! I am continually grateful for this and blessed to be living in this body with you! I was also really thankful when we had Pastor Bert and Jane over recently to hear that Pastor Bert doesn't just preach 3 point sermons for fun or ease - but more purposefully because it helps the kids to follow along. He mentioned that if churches want kids to participate in worship, pastors have to preach so kids get it. How awesome is that!? And I happen to think it helps adults follow and remember too! (at least me! ;-)

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Is that your mom? I kind of assumed it was Hilda, with Wylin standing there, but it does look like your mom!

And a big yes and amen about the 2 - 3 point sermons. It helps us all stay focused :D

You can sure tell that Pastor Bert has put time and study into his messages. He has a point, he gets there, and then he drops the landing gear.

Abi's Blog said...

Blessings from Texas and I agree! We also include our kiddos in the worship service - they always sing each Sunday for the service, right after Sunday School. We've done this for several years now. I'm thankful we are blessed to live in a country where we can come together and worship! As always - LOVE your blog!