Baby Pew Sitters
Christopher D. Hall on the Disservice of Children’s Church
"I understand the concept of “children’s church.” I sat in pews with small children before I was ordained. I know the constant juggling of Cheerios and crayons, the winces as plastic toys hit the tile floor, the random shrieks of babies, and the “whisper” of toddlers that carries halfway to the pulpit.
I’ve said prayers like this: “Our Father who art in . . . ssshh! Put that down . . . thy kingdom come, thy will . . . no, don’t color on that . . . Give us this day . . . ssshh! I said. . . .” It would be nice to have an hour of quiet, an hour of worship, an hour of attentiveness knowing that my children are hearing about our God and Savior.
Children’s church seeks to reach children at a level cognitively and emotionally appropriate to their age, all the while allowing parents to be attentive to worship, but it does a disservice to the children, disconnecting them from the church gathered as the complete Body of Christ, sacramentally present, serving the Body of Christ with our Lord himself. It does a disservice to adults, too, subtly giving them the impression that church is like the evening news or a PG-rated musical: adult fare that requires some maturity."
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