What if churches stopped herding our children into rooms with separate, age-appropriate programming?
What if our children always attended the main church service with us?
What if we taught our children that worship is about giving, rather than receiving – giving of ourselves to God?
What if we taught our children that all of worship is an offering – that our praises, our study of Scripture, our listening during the pastor’s message as well as our money are all offerings to God?
What if we parents stopped worrying about keeping our children quiet and still during church?
What if we quit thinking that everyone is staring at our toddlers and preschoolers – instead believing that other churchgoers have more important things about which to worry, like worshipping and loving God?
What if, when our children fussed during the service, the greeters left us alone and didn’t recommend the cry room or the children’s programming to us?
What if we believed that our children are listening and learning, amid the whining and fidgeting?
I pose these questions as just that – questions. When I first became a parent, I thought questions equaled judgment. While that can be true, it is not always the case. Asking these questions does not mean I am judging. I am truly curious to know what would happen if things were different.
I am curious because, during the past few months, dropping off my children in separate rooms at church feels wrong to me. Maybe it’s because I already do that Monday through Friday when I drop them off and go to work. Maybe it’s because I’ve witnessed, even through all the fidgety, squirrely movement, that Elliot is listening during the worship service.
And he asks curious questions. And I can discuss the message with him because we were both there to hear it – together. While I usually know what the children’s ministry topic is, I’m not there with him for that hour, so I don’t know exactly what he heard.
Having both my children with me during the worship service is challenging. Often times, it’s a logistical nightmare. Sometimes Elliot sits on the floor. Sometimes Cecilia whines. Sometimes we leave early.
But it seems right for me – for this one mom with an opinion, a gut feeling. And I’m going with it for now.
Originally published on ovparent.com.