Children and Church
Recently, as we have been making our way through the Gospel of Mark, an emphasis has emerged—the importance of children in the church. Jesus was straightforward with his disciples; (Mark 10:14) Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Jesus valued kids and wanted them included among the people of God. The implication is, we should value children and want them a part of the life of the church. This doesn’t mean a local congregation ought to become ‘kid centered’—that would be idolatry. Nonetheless, (Ps. 127:3) little ones and older ones are a blessing from the LORD, and as a church, we have an obligation to love and serve them. As was mentioned a few weeks ago, that service can take many forms—prayer, meals, babysitting, nursery help, teaching, etc.
In addition, it includes welcoming them on Sundays and at ministry opportunities throughout the week. It entails getting down on their level (if your back and knees will allow) and talking with them. It’s giving them ‘high-fives’ or ‘fist bumps.’ It’s taking the time to listen to them. It’s doing what Paul did with the Thessalonians, (1 Thess. 2:8) sharing not only Christ with them but our lives. Here is a helpful article on various ways to welcome kids into the church.
For parents, coming to church with children is not easy. Sometimes it feels like World War III is about to commence. However, there is no better place for children to be than at church. Regardless of whether they are in the nursery the whole time, or parents are having to sit with them in the training room; still, what is most profitable for their souls is to come. In doing so, parents are teaching their kids the importance of going to church, despite the difficulty of doing it.
Moms and dads may think, “I didn’t get much out of that sermon,” because they were dealing with their children the whole time. So, they conclude, “Maybe next week it would be better for me to stay home.” This perspective, while understandable, is problematic, given that it keeps parents from bringing their kids to church. Another implication from Mark 10:13-16 is, you’ve got to take your kids to Jesus for them to be blessed by Jesus. That’s what the parents did with their children in that passage. For us, Sunday worship is the best place to take our kids to Christ. The church is called to value its children, but families are also called to value the church, even when it’s hard. For more on this here’s another good article.
With Love and Grace,