Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why you should be bringing your children to "big church"

David Fitch has posted a great article concerning the reasons why parents should, indeed must bring their children to the corporate worship of God's people. To the complaint that "My children don't get anything out of the service," Fitch offers three responses:

1.) There’s an encounter with the living God here at our worship service. Your son/daughter need to be coached into that reality. They need to be prepared for the reality that we gather into His presence so that we might in turn know His presence in every area of our everyday lives. Let us join together then, we the church and the parents, to help our children become people sensitive to the encounter with the Almighty Forgiving and Saving/Renewing God in our lives and in our daily walk.

2.) But Discerning God is Rarely Immediately Obvious. God is hidden. So your son and/or daughter and our church need to learn and be sensitized to discerning the presence of God. If we put God into sound bites or hyped up worship experiences, then your child will learn instinctually that church is the only place he or she can find God. And this simply isn’t true. In our world, especially given the dominant educational and media frameworks, God has been framed out of our sightlines. God has become a privatized internal experience. Part of being in worship together is the place for all of us, including our children, to learn how to discern God. It takes subtle encouragement, asking questions, nurturing in the right direction, not pushing too hard. We the church and the parent must come together to help our children or else they will become moral therapeutic deists (I love that nomenclature J).

3.) Children Ultimately Will Follow/Imitate Their Parents and Adults They Can Respect – therefore one’s children and how they are progressing can function as an excellent diagnostic for our own level of engagement with God. I must be careful to not overstate this because children all develop differently. But let’s face it, eh? If we are forcing our children to do something we are ourselves are disconnected from, it ain’t going to happen. If we send our children to a more “passive” entertaining form of worship service, they will ultimately learn to become observers of the Christian faith not livers of the way of Jesus and His Kingdom. If they see our life with God as something we do when it offers us something pragmatically advantageous to the American life, it will become something to be used when helpful, put on a shelf when not, they too will do this. Any differential between what we do and how we live as a family could prejudice them for a lifetime against Christianity as a false form of ideological existence.

Read the entire article HERE.


ryan rice said...

I don't have a problem with bringing your kiddos into "big church", but in my experience it's always a more challenging task to keep my 7 year old in the pew with his mom and myself versus sending him to children's church. At least in children's church there's some contextualization for his age group. Just my thoughts.

Todd Pruitt said...

The problem is that our young ones need to be with the church as it gathers to worship. The segregation of children from our corporate worship is a very new thing. I do not think it will serve us well. I have no doubt it is more convenient for the parent but I fear we are impoverishing our children as a result. I also think it teaches children from the youngest ages to expect the church to treat them as consumers.