Monday, February 28, 2011

Children in church

Here's a quote about children in church from Voddie's Baucham's church Grace Family Baptist Church's website....

"Nurseries tend to hide problems that need to be corrected. Children who cannot sit through a service need training and discipline, not isolation. Moreover, if these children cannot sit through the service, they are probably giving their parents fits at home (thus their desire to dump them off at the nursery on Sunday morning). We patiently teach inexperienced families how to walk with their children through this process and it blesses their home, their marriage, their relationship with their children and the testimony of the church."

Amen, amen, amen!

As I've been broaching this sensitive (almost as sensitive as when you mention that you homeschool!) topic with friends, these are basically the defenses I keep hearing:  1.  you don't know MY child, he would never sit there, 2.  I wouldn't get anything out of church, 3.  children need to hear a lesson on their level and be around other children their age, etc.

You're right, I don't know your child, but God does!  What better lesson than to hear God's word preached from the pulpit?  I would rather my children receive the gospel from a pastor that God has chosen to lead our local church than someone filling a time slot.  (I understand that many/most of them are loving adults, I just don't feel that they all have the gifting and annointing of teaching/preaching...) If we go to church to worship God, get a message from God; are our children any different?   Can't they worship God and get a message from God?  I also don't see how children being around other children will encourage them to reach higher and press deeper into God and not stay at the status quo.  By being around the adults of the church, they have a higher exposure to the Titus 2 principle--to be mentored, exhorted, and encouraged by Christian men and women.

As for getting God's word for us at church, church isn't all about you.  I also believe that it is just a season, a season of training.  God is the God of seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  I believe the effort we put forth for this season will reap such benefit and dividends!  What a legacy we can leave our children.  I love how this paragraph from The Family Worship Book discusses the importance of children being in church with us as a family:

"How does this commitment to public worship relate to the family's spiritual well being? The effect upon parents is clear enough.  Spiritually nourished parents make for better families.  But the "family pew" has more in mind than sanctifying parents.  When your children are brought with you into public worship, they too are sanctified.  Your children, from their earliest years, will be ushered along with you into the presence of God.  They will be brought under the means of grace and will experience the fellowship of God's people week after week as they mature through childhood.  Beyond this, they will sit by you Sunday after Sunday, watching you publicly humble yourself before God and submit to His word.  Among their earliest and warmest memories will be those of holding their parents' hands during church, sitting close to their sides, following along in the hymnal, placing money in the offering plate, and bowing their heads in prayer.  Do not underestimate the cumulative effect of this witness upon covenant children.  No doubt it is considerable, even incalculable."
I don't think I can say it any better.  Isn't that what we want for our children?  

{Two books in particular that I have been reading on this subject are Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God by Voddie Baucham Jr. (Especially from chapter 9 on) and The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions by Terry L. Johnson.  They discuss the correlation between the rise in the children's ministry movement and the rising loss of our youth from the faith.  From Family Driven Faith, "According to researchers, between 70 and 88 percent of Christian teens are leaving the church by the second year of college." (Report to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee).}  

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