Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Out or In...?



Doing my usual nosey round children's ministry websites/local church developments. I have copied this from a church website from somewhere far, far away:

" Since children's ministry is one of the most important things we do and the main service is designed for adults, children 6th grade and under are not permitted in the adult service. They will have a better experience and learn about God in a more appropriate manner in KidVenture. Check-in begins 20 minutes before each service."

Any comments?

6 comments:

  1. Me me! I have a comment! I am slightly horrified by this quote. Kids will have a better experience away from the adult church? The main service is designed only for adults?!

    Now, I must take in to consideration the fact that I do not know the context of this stuff and it may be that this church to many-a-family-thing together outwith sunday services HOWEVER as much as I believe that churches should have seperate children's ministries which allow kids to experience church at their own, age/stage-appropriate level, I also believe that church is family. Families learn together and grow together. My query regarding the above statement is really on of the "how seperate do the children and adults really need to be in order to experience and learn about God?" type.

    Does the above statement give children the impression that, 'church is for grown-ups - come back when you're older' or does it say, 'We value you enough to run something COMPLETELY seperate.' ???

    I'm all in favour of a balanced approach. Kids should be able to learn in an environment where teaching etc. is appropriate to their level and it's fabulous when churches provide this but PLEASE don't cut them out altogether...

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  2. Mmmm ... guess they haven't quite worked out the nature of children's ministry or read their bible very well!!!

    Sorry ... but I can't be kind to muppets who write such tosh anymore!

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  3. Oh dear. That's total mince.

    I have had the great privilege to visit many churches and kids have a lot to offer. They bring such a sense of fun and simplicity and life to the place.

    Our own church has two morning services.

    The early one had no provision for kids, although obviously (well obviously to me though not to the writer of your quote) they aren't banned. We have traditional hymns at that service and the numbers are small although it is a fulfilling service to preach at as they are quite reflective and thoughtful (and quiet!).

    The second service is full of all ages of people and the kids are made thoroughly welcome and go out half way through to have fun without us. It's thriving and because the kids are happy their parents are relaxed and come more regularly. Our numbers are growing well.

    On the other hand I've visited churches with barely a soul under fifty and it's really sad. One church I went to a snobby sounding woman said dismissively, "Of course, the young people of this village won't make the effort to come". Er, well, would you make the effort to be a wee bit more flexible and at least come into the twentieth if not the twenty-first century? God's taken his lampstand and moved out and you haven't even noticed! OOPS this has turned into a rant.

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  4. I'm being uncharacteristically quiet.

    thanks for your comments guys. I think you know me well enough to know what my comments will be....

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  5. that's one church to cross off my list, thanks!

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  6. many weeks have past since I posted this and I left it for everyone else to comment, now it's my turn....!

    I wasn't just shocked when I read this on a church website but a wave of sadness came over me.

    This congregation is missing out. Children are neither performing muppets nor silent witnesses. In both ANE culture and Graeco-Roman culture were not considered real persons. Jesus challenged cultural expectations at the deepest level in his embrace of the oppressed; the forgotten - the poor, the widow, the prostitute, the child.

    I find it deeply significant that God in human form lifted up a child to physically embrace and bless him/her. We have to read the Mark 10:16 text in its cultural persepective; Jesus subverted the social norms of the day.

    And so, he didn't lift a child up to send them to their separate groupings *over there*; they sat on the lap of Christ and he taught the disciples a kingdom principle WHILE THE CHILD WAS PRESENT.

    Could this just be significant?

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