While there is a lot of things we do as parents that will impact our children, parenting for Christ’s sake looks very different to parenting for the child’s sake (or my sake)! The world tells us we are kings and queens of our own little kingdoms, with my house as my castle and my kids as heirs in training. Christian parents cannot afford to buy this lie. It is a gross misrepresentation of what it means to be part of God’s chosen kingdom, co-heirs with Christ inHis kingdom and heralds of this life-changing gospel for those with ears to hear.
I do not presume to have all the answers and by no means am the perfect parent. My prayer is that through his mercy, God will save many children through Godly parenting that values the gospel, lives out the gospel and teaches the gospel. So what is the gospel? Who Will Be King? is a great publication by Matthias Media that presents the gospel of Christ in 6 easy steps.
This blog aims to provide some thought-provoking ideas on what we do and say as parents (as well as what we do NOT do and say) that can influence the attitude our kids grow up with in regard to Jesus, church membership, serving in ministry and spreading this gospel of mercy. There is a lot of discussion on the web about whether to have kids included in church worship services or run a separate program for them at the same time as adult church – often called Kids Church, Church for Kids, Kids@Church or something similar. This blog is NOT going to weigh in on this debate as different churches will implement different strategies for teaching children based on a number of factors – congregation size, number of kids, venue restrictions, volunteers, etc. Such a decision is up to our church leadership team and we are to respectfully submit and support our church leaders as they shepherd the flock.
We all have aspirations for our kids with regards to careers, occupations, family and character. In this, Christian parents are no different to non-christian parents, and there is nothing wrong with any of these aspirations ….. until they become a priority over their eternal destiny.
If you agree that regardless of occupation or family status, our most longed-for aspirations for our kids is they would:
- know and love Jesus,
- be sharing this great gospel with all who have ears to hear, and
- be actively involved in their church community,
please honestly answer these questions ….
- Do you spend more money sending your kids to music/sport activities or gospel programs/camps?
- Do you spend more time helping them with homework or reading them the bible?
- Do you spend more energy teaching them manners or teaching them the gospel?
- Does your punctuality for church match your punctuality for getting them to school?
- How many times have you opted for another activity instead of church this year (not counting illnesses, etc)?
- Do you find another gathering of God’s people to join for worship when you are away on a family vacation?
- Do you pray for salvation or prosperity (the good life) for your kids?
Are your actions and decisions in step with your desires for your kids?
Crying rooms are convenient in the short term, settling a baby/toddler into crèche is better in the long term.
Crying rooms serve the parent with a crying baby, but not the other people who also want to hear the sermon with a babe-in-arms. Other parents will have gone there to feed without the distractions of church or give their child a quiet place to sleep. Both of these are undone when a crying or unsettled baby enters. My experience has been these crying rooms (with the sermon wired through to speakers) end up being a place where parents chat and don’t actually listen to the sermon anyway.
Crèche rooms, set up with toys and activities to entertain a clean and fed baby/toddler, allow them to be noisy and entertained. Carers often will sing songs, read books and play with the children while Mum and/or Dad can be involved in the church meeting. This time will help babies develop socialising and motor skills, exploring more of the world God has made for them.
Can the two be merged? Is it successful having an audio feed into a crèche? Here’s why I think it doesn’t work:
- the kids will now have an adult voice filling the audio space instead of kids music, significantly altering the mood of the room,
- the kids will still be noisy, so a parent will have a lot of trouble listening anyway,
- most parents will have conversations with the carers and/or other parents and not listen to the sermon anyway.
If listening to the sermon is the goal, I’d suggest investing the time to settle your child into crèche with other adult carers and listening to the sermon during the week*. It may take a few weeks (or months for some) but it will not be forever. Another option to find the content of the sermon if you cannot listen to it later is to ask your spouse to summarise the talk and discuss it over a coffee/dessert after the kids are in bed. Trust me, this will NOT be detrimental to your marriage!
If listening to the sermon IS the goal, then this post may be helpful.
Churching with a baby – Is is worth it?
* Modern technology means we barely have to make any effort to find and listen to sermons at a time we can concentrate.