For you parents reading…How many of you “tackle” church with your young children on Sunday? We have been sincerely struggling with participating in the service. When we first started taking O, it went fairly well. He passed out during worship (as evident in the photo), and took his bottle during the sermon. But now the core of the issue has to do with J and me serving the youth while the first service is taking place, and O is in church daycare. So by the time we try to attend second service as a family, O is exhausted (nap time was an hour ago) and whiny…and loud. We can stay for the first 20 minutes of worship, but have to leave because he is so disruptive while the sermon is being preached.
So for starters, I just want to say: every church needs a cry room. Our church records the sermons and puts them online, but I want to experience it with everyone else! Then, I ran into this article from the HuffPost (I remember reading it when it was first published in 2013) and was reminded of how important it is to take our kids to church with us! I want O to experience a community of people worshipping and learning about God. And I don’t want his first exposure to be at age 5 – or age 15. Proverbs 22:6 instructs, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
I want him to have a strong sense of the importance of committing to at least one hour a week with a community of fellow believers. And I want that to follow through to college. I chose to attend church as a college student, and we were definitely outside the norm at the cafeteria at Sunday noon – in our dress clothes while everyone rolled out of bed in sweats. It was hard to not want to be with the majority. But I craved God’s Word – and a community.
I want this commitment to one church service to impact O’s daily life as an adult too. I pray he would be a man who prays daily, reads his Bible for direction, and surrounds himself with fellow believers who are willing to share their authentic struggles, lift one another up, and provide sound advice. I have those kind of people surrounding me, and it makes life’s struggles bearable and joys that much better. So I have to remember that I’m setting a foundation. Crying during church is going to happen. And people are just going to have to deal. ‘Cause I’m taking care of my baby and hopefully impacting his salvation. It’s important that I take this lead in raisin’ ‘em up! (Ok, suck it up and indulge in my country song. It’s Keith Urban. And it’s good for your soul. You’ve got 3 minutes. You’ll like it.)
Lord, help me to be brave when my O is having a difficult time in church. Help us to ignore the stares (there really aren’t many) and to keep the bigger picture in mind: we’re staying in church because this teaching and connecting time is important to our family. Help give me the courage and energy to be a Godly example of you for my little guy.
What church experiences have you had with your littles? Any encouragement to share with others?