At the start of the sermon I said we all know what it’s like to have someone throw you under the bus. Emily didn’t. In her 4 year-old voice she gasped, “No!” The back rows of the church broke out in laughter.
Bringing children to worship can seem like a battle from getting their socks and shoes on to encouraging them to be quiet during the sermon. At times parents may wonder if all the effort is really worth it. Lean into the grace of Christ, push through the emotions and distractions to bring yourself and your kids to worship. What God has for you and them is totally worth it.
As we look around our post-Christian society, raising kids in the faith and having a Christ-centered marriage are so hard. Even though you may feel worn and broken, remember the Lord is near.
When your child misbehaves and people look around, remember most of the adults have gone exactly what you are going through. They are sympathetic, not judgmental. As disheartened and discouraged you may feel, redirect your focus to be in the presence of God. God knows every parent struggling through difficulties of bringing children to worship is engaged in a heroic spiritual battle.
To all our parents who are fighting the good fight of faith do whatever you have to do to get your family to worship; especially you fathers: be the pathfinders. Remember the only audience you come to see in worship is God. The one who says to bring the little children to him delights in your attendance.
The LORD has great blessings for your family that cannot be obtained at the school, the mall, or any streaming TV. Knowing God created you, redeems you and walks with you through the challenges of this life are blessings everyone of us needs no matter our age. This Gospel of Jesus Christ that gives us forgiveness and freedom is critical to both your spirit and your children’s spiritual development.
When your family has a late Saturday night with everyone snail moving Sunday morning, unable to locate shoes and whining about having to go, rally your troop, wear whatever is presentable and bring your kids to worship anyway.
Hair might not be brushed, socks don’t match, and the only outfit your four year old will wear is a superhero costume; let the kids look a bit disheveled, unkept, and festive. Bring your kids to worship anyway.
Restless toddlers are often resistant to confined spaces for extended periods of time, climbing up, down and all around, making multiple escape attempts down the aisle. Bring your kids to worship anyway.
Siblings often must be strategically seated in the pew and bribed with promised donuts afterwards to keep the mischief to a minimum for a solid hour. Bring your kids to worship anyway.
Know that you have supporters at St. John’s. Activity bags right inside the door in both worship spaces if you need them. Grandparents are around always eager to hold babies. The kids message is a special time for the children to know I am their pastor too. We offer children’s chapel during the contemporary worship so kids receive a message on their level while you get to listen to the sermon. We offer Sunday School during the academic year and VBS in the summer. And we are launching a young family group.
Let the LORD build your family so your efforts are fruitful. Let the LORD watch over your family so you may strengthen them for this life. (Psalm 127:1)
Being rooted and established in love, may you have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. (Eph 3:18)
Your servant in Christ, Pastor Douglas