Growing up, Sunday mornings could often become tense. While getting ready for church, words would be said and feelings hurt as all six of us hurried to get out the door.
Even with a family of three, there can occasionally be a morning where we pull up into the church parking lot and say, “Everyone smile.”
Tab and I serve in our church’s kids ministry by helping check kids in, Sunday mornings. As parents walk up to the check in desk, they will often look relieved to be dropping off their children. Maybe their morning had been harried/tense while trying to get to church? I am never sure. But I get it. I try and reassure those parents with a sincere smile and a quick, “Hey, ya’ll made it today.” Sometimes merely getting to the destination is the biggest family battle of all.
In the wake of the pandemic, my church has started meeting once again. This week will be week five of meeting physically, together. We’ve been meeting with some rules/modifications in place:
- Not shaking hands, although elbows are encouraged
- A row of spacing, behind and in front of, each occupied row
- No passing of the offering plate.
- Masks and gloves offered to those in attendance (not mandatory)
- And this week, we are beginning to offer an earlier service for those ages 60+/vulnerable
Our small groups have yet to restart and have been meeting online.
One of the bigger changes now is that our children are sitting with us in the service.
Sunday morning, during the worship service, I got looking around. Trying to see if any of my little friends were in attendance; kids I used to check in each week. A few of the kids were there, sitting alongside their parents or even grandparents. For the most part though, the kids from our kids ministry have vanished.
- I understand the need to practice social distancing.
- I understand a parents desire to want to keep their children healthy.
- I understand wanting to protect the vulnerable.
At some point though, I wonder if there is another reason I’m not seeing my little friends anymore. I wonder if their parents do not want to sit with them in the service.
Serving in the kid’s ministry, I have seen how amazing our children’s minister is. I have sat through her teaching time; I have seen the way she handles the kids and the expectations she holds them to. Yes, your child can sit through the service without getting up to pee.
Get’s me thinking about the way we can pass our children along to others, expecting them to teach/raise them. I see this pandemic time as the perfect time to model through action how to sit in big church. Pulling out, if needed, items to help your child:
- Coloring books
- Dot-to-dot books
- Blank pages to draw on
- And, depending on age, maybe even–gasp!–an iPad (with headphones)
I’m not sure about your church, but our children’s minister offers a kids sheet for sermon notes. Our pastor, each week, provides notes for his sermon. This is a great way to encourage our kids to engage in the service. I’m not interested so much in behavior as I am in teaching our children how to worship God.
I get tired of parents treating their children like they are the plague. Yes, I am a parent of one (and God-willing, more one day) but that doesn’t lessen my experience… nor my overall encouragement to bring your kids to church right now. This is the perfect time to grow spiritually as a family.
In closing, I say this with love: Some of us need to stop hiding behind this virus and using it as an excuse to forgo meeting with fellow believers. So what if your kids have to sit with you in church?
I love ya’ll. Until next time.