Children Destroy the Church’s Worshipful Atmosphere [Excerpts]
A radical idea has been embraced by some modern churches: “No kids allowed in the adult worship service.” Having children in the adult worship service is too distracting for the parents, it is said, and it’s too boring for the kids.
As with all areas of life, we need to ask if this attitude is what God wants the Church’s attitude to be? Or, is this consistent with the Bible?
One pastor, when asked what the purpose of Sunday school was, replied, “To keep the children out of our hair so we can worship.” This idea was taken to an extreme level at one church (to remain anonymous), when a man was asked to remove his children from the adult church service. When he chose to remain together as a family, he was handed the church’s written policy, which stated:
Policy regarding children in church: “We are happy you and your children have chosen to worship with us. Small children have short attention spans, so in order to maintain a worshipful atmosphere for all, please do not be offended if an usher asks you to step outside for a few moments should your child begin to disturb others around you. For your convenience, we also provide excellent childcare for all ages. If you would like to use this service, an usher will gladly assist you.”
Has the American churchgoer turned into one who worships a worshipful atmosphere? Do we care more about our own space than we do about the personal discipleship of our children? In our attempt to create the “perfect” church, have we drifted to where we model our sanctuaries more after the peace and focus of a yoga club and inspiration of a rock concert than the atmospheres we see in Scripture when believers gathered? Do we narcissistically love our comforts more than we desire to embrace the difficult task of training up a mighty army of saints who would be willing to go to their death for their Savior?
This “children-are-a-disruption” attitude is not new. It was around even in Jesus’ day.
Mark:10:13-16 records this: “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”
(Scott Brown, “Children Destroy the Church’s Worshipful Atmosphere,” Christian Post, 7/3/12).