Thursday, 3 March 2011

Children and church?

So the big thing that is so often is on my mind is children in Church, how and why? I love this topic but once you enter into it it is so easy to open a can of worms and watch them explode over the room as Churches come to logger heads over what should happen to children in Church.

Seriously lets face it they're a nightmare, children in church. If you are not a parent then they are annoying, they ruin your church experience, they're a distraction and they should be in crèche or shipped off to Sunday School immediately. If you're a parent, it is probably one of the outings in the week that you dread, trying to get your children to sit still and be quiet in church, not being able to listen, always having to keep an eye on your child and just generally struggle to know what to do. They make a mess, they disrupt life, you can't talk to them, they ask too many questions... Yes I totally see it, I understand what you are saying, I feel for you totally and utterly. Yet as I have been thinking, reading and starting to research this I've begun to see another side. No, as a children's worker I am not going to sit with all the church children around my feet and see them behave perfectly, because one, that's not my job, two they won't sit perfectly and do exactly what I want them to do, they're children, they love exploring and experimenting. But I think we need to seriously consider exactly what they are exploring and experimenting during church or corporate worship.

The question I have been asking my self on a regular basis is why and how do we parent children through corporate worship? Should we even bother? I am not going to pretend that I know everything, I am not a parent and in ten years time I will probably change my mind about the ideas I have now, but as a member of a church I want to turn my mind to considering this and examine what we can do to help parents through what they probably often see as their worst nightmare when it should be their biggest joy to be at church with the church family worshipping God. There's not much around to help people really. I did a course on children's work recently and my final research project/mini dissertation was on parenting in the church and I struggled to to find much helpful stuff, three texts stuck out to me the most 'Parenting in the pew', an old faithful leaflet from the Mothers union ( which you just email and ask them for) and believe it or not, the Bible.

Before I say any more I am going to think and you can expect installments on this as I unpack it in my own head...