We are camped about 15kms from Ephesus, Turkey. So this morning, being Sunday, we passed the Bible around the family and each of us read a chapter of Ephesians.
What stuck out to me was when Paul addresses the children directly:
“Children, obey your parents.” 6:1
This letter would have been read out to family groups – fathers, mothers, children all sitting together, like we were this morning. Paul did not say “Parents, when you go home, tell your children to obey you”. The children were there. Church had not become a boring meeting designed for parents and no longer endurable by children.
I wonder how many church services today are geared for the whole family and how many have slipped into the assumption that church is a boring meeting for older people, a meeting that children could not possibly sit through without leaving right before the message for a more child-friendly experience.
Its been encouraging to see children integrated into family-oriented church events, and more than just having a children’s talk in the middle. We have see art supplies, paints, toys, areas for kids to play around and be kids during the service without being told to sit still or shut up. Sometimes the kids even get to respond to the message.
Kids are kids. Their involvement is vital. Lets learn to make space for them.
– Kids in church and the dumb things they say – like the 3 year old who prayed
“Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold is His name. Amen.”
Thanks for sharing this thought Andrew. In our church gathering we have our two year old son who’s there each week (his Dad’s the pastor so he’s got no choice), another 20 month and a soon to emerge baby. We’ve tried to structure things so the kids can play in the middle of our service, but chaos generally reigns for a lot of the time together. It’s something we’re trying to think through as the children get older and hopefully we have more in our midst, without sending them off somewhere else.
My parents were unbelievers, so I never went to either church or Sunday School as a child, but even when I became involved in church I hated the idea of Sunday School. Twenty-five years ago a woman told us she hated the idea of Sunday school. He took her kids to the Liturgy, and that was enough. Her kids were the same age as ours. Now two of them are in church every Sunday, playing an active part. A third isn’t, because she’s in a monastery in northern Greece.
Gareth, my wife always brings coloring books and art supplies to churches where I have to preach and the kids have to endure it. they seem to be happy and quiet and enjoy the service, despite the rantings of their father.
Steve, i was sent to sunday school as a kid but i dont remember a church service. we were always sent away to a small room when the boring part started up. i guess that was the sermon but i never stayed to find out.
In our House Church if you cannot teach/preach it so the children, whom are among us, cannot understand it, then you are not allowed to teach/preach it.
Wonderful observation. The entire event, of reading the scripture out loud, would have undeniably been a family event. At our church in Portland, we have the children serve the communion once a month. It has a powerful experience not only for the children, but for the adults. Very subversive. Had a profound effect on some atheists that came. Story they wrote here:
Great point of a wiew on this issue.