I wholeheartedly disagree with the concept of completely removing children from “regular” worship. It’s a stupid, modern idea that perpetuates what’s wrong with our sense of worship.
What’s wrong with our sense of worship?
By and large, we speak of worship in terms of what it means to us. Going to church makes me feel good. It reenergizes me, gets me ready for the week.
That’s why we argue about worship styles and formats.
We’ve made worship about us. Worship is all about God.
Keeping fidgety children out of worship helps me focus more. Friend, if you can’t focus on God when you’re in a sanctuary, it’s not that child’s fault. How are you going to focus on God outside of the sanctuary?
Of course, we won’t say it’s because they’re disruptive. It’s to help them learn about Jesus. If that we’re true, you’d have brought them to Sunday School.
Now, again, having a complete worship “experience” just for children bothers me. What I wrestle with is whether there are moments or times when it’s good to allow children a time for themselves. My inclination is no. But I’ve always been a little flexible.
Think about looking for your next perfect job. That’s the context of the article. The first question people often have when discerning a career move or a new job is, “Is this the right job for me?”
Basic, right? That question would lead to other questions, hopefully.
Here’s Forbes’ better question: Do I want to be exactly like the people who work here?
If I were to ask myself that question, imagine what I would have to pay attention to. Think about what I would be looking at in a potential place of employment.
I wonder if, on some level, people ask that kind of question of church. If a friend invites them to a church, they have to make a decision that mirrors the idea of that question. In other words, is their friend the kind of person they want to go to church with?
What are the attitudes people notice of your church? What are the impressions your church makes to someone new? Would someone new want to be like anyone you picked out of your congregation?
Most of what we argue about is more important to us than it is to God. Not that there aren’t issues that might be important to the Lord. I just don’t think we’ve figured most of those out.
Let’s be honest, how much of what we argue about is more important to us than God?
Sometimes we don’t even know when the original argument ended. Hatfield vs. McCoy. We’re just used to being against each other. Everything is an argument we must win, or, at least, prove how wrong they are. I wish we would all just admit how biased and hypocritical we are. Our politicians are just as liable as theirs, for example.
The energy we spend railing against each other could be used to transform the entire world. But we’d rather be right than help make the world right.
This weekend we had our youth group over at our house. We did all the things we would normally do at youth group. Silly game. Snacks. Coffee, too. Prayer and Bible study.
Right before our Bible study and prayer, I put a gift bag on the table where we were all gathered. It was a red, shiny Christmas bag Santa brought Nathan last year. I told the group that everyone was responsible for giving everyone else a gift when we got together.
“I didn’t know about that,” someone said, nervously. Someone wondered if there was a price limit.
I assured them that this gift was, actually, priceless.
All they had to do was put their phones in the bag. By so doing, we promised each other that every time we meet we would give each other the gift of our undivided attention.
I’m writing this today because I want to remember how shocked I was at how easy it played out. No one complained or refused or came up with their best excuse why they couldn’t. All the phones were in the bag in a matter of seconds.
And we had a great study.
Give it a shot, in youth ministry or anywhere else you might be around people.
This song was offered at the conclusion of my sermon this weekend. We had spoken about the prodigal son and his brother. More or less, the message was that some people don’t want to accept you because they remember what you used to be.
God still calls you beloved, even though others don’t!