Monday, January 23, 2017

Children in Worship: A Welcome Presence

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Nothing is as easy as 1-2-3 when you have kids. Babies are babies- they're adorable, they're unpredictable, and yes- they make noise. Sometimes they make noise during church. at restaurants, etc. So are we to make the parents of these precious children feel isolated by complaining about something as trivial as this?

Church is to be a welcoming place, for all people- including families with young kids and/or babies. The minute complaints are issued about kids being kids or babies being babies and doing what they do best, the message that is sent (whether or not it be intentional), is that the kids aren't welcome in church.

Nursery is awesome- and if your kids will go without having a complete meltdown, I envy you. Mine will not, and I care too much about the well-being of my baby to leave her screaming for an hour.
How about a little compassion for the exhausted and tired parents who give their all just so they can be in church on Sunday morning? How about a little patience, tolerance, and grace for the families who just want to sit and worship together for 15 minutes or an hour, if they're lucky, a week, despite the wiggles and the occasional baby talk?

No parent should have to come to church feeling anxiety over whether or not someone is going to complain about their baby or their child. Honestly, that's absurd. No family should be made to feel like they have to 'sit worship out,' or spend the service in the lobby. No parent intentionally sits in worship with a dispruptive child- I promise you this. A parent's decision to take their baby or child out during worship is just that... the PARENT's decision.

All this just to say to the other parents out there, please don't ever feel like you can't bring your babies or kids to church (this is a general statement, including all churches). I know in my heart that God desires their presence, their beautiful worship (claps, coos, cries- all of it), and there IS a place for them (and no- it doesn't have to be in the nursery or the lobby). If you don't have kids, or don't have little ones anymore, I humbly ask that you put yourself in the shoes of the tired mama/dad or the parents. Perhaps think back to a time where you were the parent of a sweet baby or child who made some noise, or wouldn't sit still- and you felt all eyes on you, just waiting for you to make the decision to walk out of the crowded room with your child... when all you desired was to worship and fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let's have the church be a welcoming place. Let's show love and compassion. Let's ask ourselves if we're speaking life before issuing complaints that can hurt others. Let's tear down the walls of isolation, instead of allowing them to be built up. <3 p="">

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