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Hey Mary! Could you keep that kid quiet, please?!

December 30, 2007

Over the Christmas holiday we went to one of those Christmas programs that just about every church does. As I was waiting for the show to begin, I snagged one of the church bulletins to read a little bit about this church. It was a pretty typical evangelical church: dynamic worship, missional, evangelistic, emphasis on the preaching of the Word… oh, and a pretty pathetic view of children. Here’s what the bulletin said: “We provide an opportunity for our children to learn at their own level in specially designed classroom settings. This approach allows both adults and children to learn without being distracted by one another. If you feel you must have your child with you in the Sanctuary, please sit in the back in order to lessen the possibility of your child distracting others.” Nice. I’m sure you notice the irony: Christmas – the birth of Jesus – salvation in the form of a babe.

I’m not just dogging this church, though – at least they admit it. But this is pretty much the major consensus throughout the evangelical church: kids are a distraction in worship.

Hmmm, I wonder if Nazareth Community Church had Children’s Church?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. emvest permalink
    December 31, 2007 3:06 pm

    Oh man! I didn’t think people *had* to sit in “the back” anymore… good grief!

    My daughter would certainly be a “distraction” — she loves saying and singing “Amen” (quite loudly, too) with the congregation, screeches “YAY bells” upon hearing them at the start of the service, says Hi Baby to any and every cooing infant nearby, and constantly has her eyes on the cross (and exclaiming “Cross! Jesus! Cross!” during the service.

    Gotta hate the faith of children…. 😉

  2. January 1, 2008 10:17 am

    What, are you kidding? Baby Jesus didn’t make any sounds; he didn’t fuss, cry, spit up or poop.

    His flesh was merely an insignificant vessel for his deity.

  3. Jerry permalink
    January 2, 2008 8:56 am

    Hey Brian,

    This reminds me….been meaning to talk to ya’ll about your kids. They are a distraction to my attempts to reach a serious and somber state during worship. Could ya’ll do something about them????

    JK great post!!

  4. January 3, 2008 9:45 pm

    Erin,

    How much greater is our worship experience because of children!!! I feel sorry for parents that automatically drop their kids off at the nursery every week and don’t get to experience – and learn – from them.

    Chris,

    I wonder if baby Jesus ever tooted as loud as my 2 year old did last Sunday? I must say, I was a little embarrassed, but mainly because everyone looked at me…as if! Well, I do have a warm, er, “heart.”

    Jerry,

    I apologize for my kids… I will beat them the next chance I get 🙂

  5. January 3, 2008 10:23 pm

    Isn’t it lame that our biggest holiday is the birth of a baby?? JK. And all the little kids at church get annoying (especially yours!) JK!!

    Good post.

    Ryan

  6. emvest permalink
    January 4, 2008 4:11 pm

    Actually – if you recall the *inspired* words of “Away in a Manger” (which is currently my 21 month old’s favorite song)…

    [verse 2]
    “The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
    But little Lord Jesus, NO CRYING HE MAKES”

    Now we’re on to something 🙂

  7. Jenn permalink
    January 5, 2008 10:00 pm

    Just curious about your thoughts on the way SovGrace does it. Kids staying in during the “worship” (aka music) part of the service and then taken to children’s ministry during a break before the sermon part. Whatcha think about that?

  8. January 5, 2008 11:04 pm

    Jenn,

    I thought you were on blog break !?

    My answer to your question is probably worthy of its own post – which I have been considering for a while anyways. Here’s the short answer: I think it’s fine – to an extent – but for different reasons than SovGrace. Mainly I think SovGrace falls into the same error that the majority of our evangelical churches fall into – that preaching is a separate category from worship. That preaching is what God does for us, while worship is what we do for God. That anyone can sing, but only some can receive the Word. That the Word only comes through the preaching of the Word to those who are mature and intelligent enough to understand it. And so on. I believe the Bible lays out a clear order of worship and each part is effected by the other to make one beautiful whole – and I think children are a vital part of that worship. That said, though, I know how tiring it can be to train your children to worship – especially when you have more than one. On a limited time frame, the preaching of the Word seems to be a sensible time to give the parents and the child a break from time to time – as long as they are committed to training their child to participate in all of worship. I don’t think this is some legalistic thing and I think parents, as well as the rest of the body, should be patient and understanding. But I think the reason why I have a different view of children and worship than the majority of evangelicals is because I have a different view of what worship is – which I will hopefully post on sooner than later. I hope that makes sense. Feel free to ask any questions here though, because I’m pretty busy and that post might not come for awhile…

  9. January 5, 2008 11:08 pm

    Erin,

    HA! I never thought of that. That’s funny!
    Maybe he was crying, but his glowing halo worked as a noise suppressor.

  10. Melissa Hale permalink
    January 29, 2008 8:25 pm

    Hey. Nice little soapbox ya got on, there. I tend to agree with ya on this one. It seems as though our culture separates our families all week long: work, school, activities, yada yada–then we come to church to be divided again. Kids go one way and parents go the other. Perhaps a deeper issue would be that some parents (no one we know) aren’t raising kids that they actually enjoy and want to be with, therefore dumping the little anklebiters in a nursery seems like a pretty inviting sitch.

  11. January 29, 2008 11:37 pm

    Even worse, Melissa, they leave all the godly training to the sunday school teachers. The kids don’t learn how to glorify God during their weekly activities because the parents don’t teach them, and then they don’t learn how to properly worship God because they’re shipped off to another part of the building. The parents, primarily the father, is responsible for “training up a child.” Not the sunday school or youth group. These should only be helps. Unfortunately, not only have many parents neglected their responsibilities, but the youth groups and sunday schools have failed to reinforce this to the parents, instead happily taking the responsibility of being the child’s primary source of godly training.

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