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Children in church

2008 August 1
by Tim V-B

I come across a lot of useful links as I wander the web.  But I’m never sure how to keep track of everything I like.  I’m going to start posting more of them here, which may bore you (who wants to read a blog full of “hey, this is interesting” posts) but at least it keeps me organised.  Well, a little less disorganised.  And you never know, you might like them!

On the topic of children in church here are two from Doug Wilson and his wife.

Asking “what does the Bible say about children in worship” Doug answers “something like that whilst it is not a sin for the church to gather without the children and there are times when age specific teaching / addressing male heads of households / those who can understand etc. might be appropriate, as a norm the kids should we welcomed and included.” (taken straight from Marc Lloyd)

Nancy Wilson gives a description of what goes on at Christ Church, Moscow (Idaho).

Two things come to mind:

It is hard work keeping young children in church, especially for mums on their own (for whatever reason, e.g. husband is the curate!)

Many evangelical churches want the Sunday morning service to be accessible for newcomers / guests / visitors etc.  Having groups for children is very attractive to such people, whose children are unlikely to have been trained to sit still and pay attention for the duration of the service.  Having the whole family together for the service is a noble goal, but is it too much of a hurdle for those who don’t share such convictions, and would this make church alienating?

And on the same topic of challenging the status quo, over at Google Books you can read (in entirety) a short 22 page book called “Critique of Modern Youth Ministry“.  It argues that the idea of splitting people into age groups and tailoring activities especially for each, especially in church, is a very recent phenomenon.  It has contributed to the terrible situation we now face in which many parents leave their children’s spiritual growth to the Sunday school / youth worker.  This may be an odd thing to post, given that I’m extremely excited for Adam Rushton to be arriving as our Assistant Minister for Youth, but I know he shares pretty much the same conviction.

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