Got 2 Year Olds?

"We don't want a 2-year-old to disrupt anyone's experience."

That quote is an actual quote (in context) taken from an article in theAJC from an actual church staff person at 12Stone Church. Those words have really messed me up. I know some people can make great arguments for not having kids in church but once they put it on paper...they just don't come across well.

This is not the first time in my blogs I have mentioned children in worship. After reading through David Murrow's book, "Why Men Hate Going to Church," I am concerned that we do not have enough 2 year olds disrupting our experiences. For the sake of the men out there, some thing or some one should disrupt a little!

As a pastor and father (and former kid who didn't like church), here are some things to consider...

1. Children's Sermons.
Done well, a Children's sermon impacts everyone and addresses the learning styles of everyone more so than most sermons. Done poorly, some 2 year old will get a laugh and everyone in church smiles.

2. Clock Management.
Be it football or basketball, coaches know the importance of clock management. 2 year olds and men don't do well sitting for long periods of time. Kids do a great job of coaching us on time management.

3. Honest Criticism.
The word has it most people read on a fourth grade level (or is it lower now?). When you have an elementary schooler say they liked the sermon then there is a good bet everyone else got it too. I'll take that any day (and a hat tip when they tell you it was bad!)

4. Families Together.
I know there are times kids need to get out. There needs to be places for them on Sunday mornings. BUT if a dad or mom is working 6 days a week, it may not be time away from kids they want at all but a place that welcomes them as a family. If it is important to mom and dad it is important to the little ones too.

5. What Did Jesus Do?
Look at Jesus' teaching model and it reminds us that simple truths come through much clearer. Plus, I think this little exchange is particularly relevant:
Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:13-14 NASB)

Every church is different and I am thankful for it. I have friends who are part of 12 Stones and it has made a huge impact on their faith. At Crossroads UMC, our vision is to carry on the example of Due West UMC. We see it as a value for families with children and youth to experience God together. It may just be God intends for those little ones to disrupt our experience, after all, isn't Christmas, Epiphany and revivals all about God disrupting us?

May I Ask: How often does your life and plans get "disrupted" by little ones? Is that a good thing or bad thing? (Now, think before you answer...)

May I Suggest: Take some time to watch and listen to the sounds of kids. Ask them what they think about God and who they learned about God from.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Wow, Ken. I'm not sure how to react to such an outrageous statement! Since I'm a part-time local pastor serving small, rural churches, I relish the sounds of children! The most I would ever expect of the parent of a disruptive child is that they escort the child outside or away for a brief time-out. But to demand that toddlers be removed? NEVER!

Ken L. Hagler said...

Michael,

Thanks for the comment. I'd never have believed it if I hadn't read it. What concerns me is that I see this as a growing trend in churches.

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