As I sat in church today my mind wandered to many different places, I was distracted, big surprise. I had brought coloring books and markers, I thought I was prepared. After 5 minutes it wasn’t working the plan that I had prepared, was no longer working. The sermon had finally started and now they wouldn’t be quiet, they wouldn’t sit, let alone sit still. So it was off to “children’s church” (Sunday school), lately not their favorite place to be. When we go to our home church, we are the only non-Ugandans, Mzungu’s (yes even after attending this church for almost a year with the kids and on and off for 6 years, we still are not considered “normal”) But that is not the point of this particular blog, it has something to do with why my kids don’t like going to class, but not all of it.
So back to the story, Jacob has experienced being apart from me, being with all different types of kids. His reason for not liking class is the organization of the class, the way it’s structured and taught. He gets bored with the way that things are done by the locals. I don’t blame him, but if he can’t sit quiet in church, then he needs to go where he can sing, dance, play, and learn at his level. Parker is just not good at being by herself without me, unless there are swings, sand, toys or food. It is just Parker, she loves her momma and is very selective with what she will leave for. She also hates being looked at, touched, or babied by her peers.
Onto the real heart of this blog, children and church. My personal take on the topic. Church service has some amazing parts that children should be a part of like corporate worship, prayers, testimony, offering, and communion. However, the sermon itself is not usually something that is child appropriate. I don’t mean appropriate in the sense that they shouldn’t hear it, but rather it is not being presented in a way that a child can understand it. I strongly believe that children should experience the teachings of the Bible at their levels of understanding and presented in a way that allows the children to interact and ask questions. During the service it is very hard to explain topics to the kids when they ask them, and it’s better to be able to explain the lessons at a later time. I think that it is important for us as parents to share what we learned in Church and then allow them to ask questions.
My personal experience with children in church, my own and other people’s kids, is that it is very distracting. Even when the kid is super cute and quiet writing, drawing, playing quietly they are distracting. As a parent it is hard to listen to what the preacher is saying when I am constantly making sure my child’s needs are met, that they are quiet, do they need a snack, do they need to go to the bathroom, they are kicking the seat in front of them, they are singing, they are playing with the other kids….you get the picture. I get distracted by cute babies, kids moving around, even sleeping kids can be so adorably distracting.
But what to do? Possible solutions? Have an amazing children’s program that your kids love and want to go to each Sunday. Leave the kids at home. Go to class with them. Put the fear of God in them to behave (we all know that doesn’t work, because we are not God, and they do not fear us long enough to make it work.) Seriously, I personally am in a quandary and I am pretty sure I know what I need to do, I just don’t have the strength to do it. I know that I need to sacrifice a few weeks or months to teach the teachers, beg for volunteers, and show by example how a program for kids in church should work. Selfishly I just want to be able to sit in church, distraction free and be feed by the Holy Spirit. Instead, I am sitting there in church only hearing kids in and out of church, my kids, other kids, and wondering does anyone else see and hear these kids or is it only me?!
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? Are you ignoring Him like I am? Is it working? For me it’s not. I have tried running away from it, going to a different church, one with a better program. But still the Holy Spirit is leading me to not run but to use the gifts He has given me. To teach, to give, and to inspire. What are your Spiritual gifts? Are you using them? As we approach this Easter weekend, think about what Jesus sacrificed for us, what do we sacrifice for Him?