Saturday, October 13, 2007

On the Topic of "Kid's Times" in Church

The Sharper Iron website (see link at right) recently featured an article by Pastor Aaron Blumer on Why Churches Should Have "Kid Times" (read his article here), to which a rebuttal was composed by Pastor Greg Stiekes (read his article here). Blumer's article focuses on some good, practical reasons for the practice, while Stiekes's article primarily focuses on the fact that (a) the Bible is rather silent about the practice, and (b) the Bible emphasizes, as did society in Bible times, a family-centered, family-oriented teaching environment. Stiekes also emphasizes that Blumer's views are primarily practical and experience-based and not Bible-based.

I am my wife and our friend discussed these two articles, and found ourselves of one mind on the topic. Both men make good points, but they may be setting a fine example of "How the pendulum can swing too far in either direction." We believe that Blumer's points are not only practical but wise. There are times for, and benefits in, taking the younger children and teaching them in a separate environment more suited to their learning level. Should they always be in a separate "service" while their parents are in the "main service?" Of course not. We agree with Stiekes that the parents do, in fact, have the most primary responsibility for the upbringing and teaching of the children, and that it is good for the children to be in the "main service" with their parents. Do they always need to be there? No.

I am exceedingly thankful that at my church, there are both times of teaching for my children apart from the adult service, and that there are times when they are expected to be in the auditorium with their parents, learning from our pastor. My children benefit in a variety of ways from both. I am grateful for the godly ministry and examples of the various people who serve the Lord by serving and teaching my children. This augments and reinforces what they are taught at home. If I thought that these people would somehow stunt or harm my children's spiritual growth, I would promptly remove the kids from their influence.

It is of primary benefit for children to see, model, and learn from godly parents, but it of additional benefit for children to see, model, and learn from other godly people, too. Those other godly people help my wife and me to fulfill our God-given responsibilities as parents.

In closing, our friend (ever the practical mother) also pointed out this practical nugget, overlooked by both pastors and me:

"...then when you invite a totally unchurched family to your church, you better be prepared to help that family know how to keep their children quiet in church. I don't know many unchurched children who have been trained to sit for an hour or more without some distractions to the parents. That can be frustrating to the parent and cause them to not want to come back if it's going to be so much trouble. And then what about the bus ministries. You mean, you're going to bring in a bus full of (usually) unruly children (without their parents....usually) and make them sit unattended in a church service?"

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