Monday, September 30, 2013

Children in Church Matter

Each Sunday morning, as we are getting ready quietly while Miles naps I pray that church will go well for us. You see, Miles doesn't do well in the nursery. He lasts for about 10 minutes before he breaks out in his pterodactyl cries (really screams) and a nursery volunteer has to tap me on the shoulder during the service. Nursery is the only place he does that and I've tried every trick in the book and nothing has worked – not bringing toys from home, not leaving a bottle, not having his special blanket he sleeps with.

It wouldn't be an issue if he was calm and quiet during the church service. I love how light hearted and joyful Miles is but it does make for a few distractions during church. He plays peacefully with a book or toy for a few minutes then wants to smile and interact with people. One smirk from a fellow church member, and he's squealing with delight. Super cute, right? It sure is, but it's also a little disruptive. Typically, we try to keep him in the service as long as we can before either my husband or I have to take him to the back of the room or hanging out with him in the nursery. It's hard because one or both of us miss the sermon and worship. But I'm at a loss for what to do.

I recently came across this post by blogger, I Am Totally "That" Mom called "Dear Parents with Young Children in Church." In the blog post, Jamie advocates that keeping your young children in the church service is a good thing – it matters. I love how she puts this, so I won't try to summarize, I'll just take it directly from her post...

"I know you're wondering, is it worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important. When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn't about Bible study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together. When you are here, I have hope that these pews won't be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it's too late. They are learning that worship is important. "

We all worry that our children are misbehaving, taking away from someone else's worship experience or even worse of all, we worry that we are being judged as parents. Little people are an important part of the body of Christ and we know that Jesus loves them deeply. My prayer for next Sunday won't just be that church goes well, but that God is glorified through our family and that Miles can contribute well to the worship of Jesus!

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