Last week, Gavin at “Simple Church Alliance” wrote a great post called “What About The Kids?” Whenever people think about more organice or simple types of church gatherings, they often (eventually) ask the question, “But what do you do with the children?”
The assumption, of course, is that we gather as the church in order to sing together and to listen to someone preach a sermon. If this is the case, then a loud child or a crying baby can be a distraction. If a toddler next to me is moving around, then I may not be paying attention to the words that are being sung. If a baby near me cries, then I may not be able to hear the speaker.
Gavin suggests that children should not be seen as a distraction, but should instead be involved in the church gathering. He provides several suggestions that he’s seen practiced over the last several years, including:
Pray & Prepare
Get A Sitter
Listening To God
Please click over to Gavin’s post for a longer list, and for a description of each item in his list.
Often, children gather with us on Sundays – not to mention the times we get together throughout the week. There are newborns, toddlers, younger children, older children, teenagers… almost every age group.
Guess what? Children are often loud, talkative, fussy, etc. And, I’m talking about well-behaved children. That’s the way children are.
So, what do we do when children “disrupt” our gathering or are a “distraction”? Well, first, we recognize that the children are not a disruption and they are not a distraction. They are children, and they are part of our families. They are welcomed in our gathering – talking, crying, fussing, and all.
That attitude alone solves most of the problems. If we’re honest with ourselves, children are seen as a disruption or a distraction because WE are not able to do what WE want to do because of them. In other words, WE can’t hear, or WE can’t sing, or WE can’t pay attention. In other words, we’re centered on ourselves and our desires. When those desires are not met because of talkative or crying children, we see them as a distraction.
But, think about what would happen if, instead of focusing on us and our desires, we focused on others – including the children (and their parents)?
There are so many different options when a child becomes “disruptive”… play with them… walk with them… color with them… Yes, we love coloring books, stickers, blocks, puzzle. And, yes, we sit right there in the floor with them in the middle of everyone else (or off to the side if there’s room).
Not only do the children understand that they are important, but the parents also understand how much we love them.
I’ve found many times that my worship in a church gathering consisted of sitting in the floor and putting stickers on a piece of paper with a few children. In doing that, I was obeying what God was calling me to do, and I was loving others. What could be better?