What Matters Most:
Children And Church..
Is This The Best Way To Handle Them?
Our Sunday mornings are usually a bit chaotic getting 9 kids and Grandma out the door with the goal of being on time, everyone having had breakfast, matching shoes and hair combed. If you have a child or two or three you know what I am talking about! Even with following our schedule of Saturday showers and clothes AND shoes lined up, Sunday mornings still can be a bit chaotic.
Once we arrive at church, we find our row somewhere toward the front (yes, we need a whole row) for all 12 of us. But I remember the days we didn’t sit up front because I knew we’d be in and out with our toddler or baby or both. Our church is family integrated so all the kids are in the service with their family, which we love, but it does have its challenges. Our rule has always been get a drink and go to the restroom BEFORE church starts to as to not be a distraction.
When our children were little, I’d make sure that I packed a snack and some quiet toys & books for them to play with during the sermon. But, not everyone has those same plans or rules for their families and that can make for distractions. Babies crying, toddlers doing what toddlers do, kids moving around going in and out for a drink and then potty because they’re drinking so much, children teasing and fighting, girls playing with each other’s hair, passing notes… the list goes on and on.
On the flip side, when I was in New York waiting for the paperwork to be finished so that we could bring Sarah Rose home with us last fall, we (Nick, my 12-year-old, Sarah and myself) visited a church where NO CHILDREN were allowed in the service under any circumstance. I had never heard of such a thing and was totally thrown off guard when we stepped into the foyer of the church and tried to walk into the sanctuary. I shared with the greeter, who was more like the church bouncer, that Sarah had just joined our family a few days before and there was no way that I felt comfortable leaving her in a pre-school class at a church that I’d never been to before.
I was denied access to the service.
I kid you not.
I then mentioned to the greeter/bouncer that even Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” He told me that he had a pamphlet that I could read explaining why they would not let us enter into their worship service with this child. I respectfully refused the pamphlet and took Sarah & Nick with me out the door and found another church where children were welcome.
So, where is the balance? Where should we draw the line? Should we offer help to a busy mama with many little ones who are being noisy or should we sit and stew about it and look for another church? Should we have a church bouncer at the door to “protect the service” or should we leave that up to each family as they see fit? Or really doesn’t it all boil down to what is going to church all about and why are we there? Isn’t it to serve and learn and grow in our faith or is it for us to be entertained? Your thoughts and perspective are always welcome!
Tricia is a wife of 19 years, Mom to 9 children (6 biological & 3 adopted from Ethiopia) who has gone from surviving to thriving, helping others find health in their body mind/heart and financially. Tricia has gone from having gone from her husband traveling all week every week to living a life they once only dreamed of and now they desire to give hope & support to those who are dissatisfied with their current situation. You can read more about her on TriciaDixon.com and connect with her on her Facebook page and Twitter @TriciaDixon.