MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Losing a Generation

April 26th, 2007 Visited 3420 times, 1 so far today
This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series How To Reach Them

It has only recently become evident that the key to changing society was through the next generation.  For many years, Christians watched as the Bible and Godly morals were questioned and removed from our schools and we got somewhat upset, but did not realize the full impact of the replacement.

Now, many wage their battles with our children in the schools, and many have removed their children from the schools altogether– realizing just how powerful having the time every day to expose children to values in this way is.

We are quickly seeing the erosion of basic knowledge of God and the Bible to the point that we are becoming the pagan country a lot of people try to claim we already are.  It reminds me of the end of the book of Joshua and into the book of Judges where we see the commentary: and they followed the Lord all the days of Joshua and those that followed after him.  We will quickly see the result of a group of children that know not God.

And we’re seeing it in our churches– by the attendance, by the desire to be entertained rather than worshiping God.  We are seeing a generation that is consumed with self, unknowing of what it’s like to take a stand for faith and to be persecuted– except for with words.

What we choose to do in our youth groups, in our Sunday Schools and in our services to reach this generation will have to be different than anything that we’ve done before.  We can no longer expect these kids to come to our churches knowing all the basic concepts (that they’re a sinner, that there is a God, etc.) but we must begin to take the Gospel to them.

This is not unlike the way that Paul had to minister on Mars Hill vs. in the synagogues.  In the Jewish synagogues Paul could talk about the law and how it mirrored Christ.  On Mars Hill he had to start with Creation and teach them about God.  This is much harder to do, but it is necessary.

In order for the Church of Jesus Christ to reach those that need salvation, we’re going to need to adjust what we’re doing, because to continue to reach out in the same ways will not work.

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  • Colleen says on: April 26, 2007 at 8:42 am

     

    I agree that we need to adjust what we are doing to reach out. This generation is very different then those previously. Many of today’s generation hold a lot of weight on what their parent’s opinions. This puts a lot of pressure on the parents and also poses a challenge for those who want to influence this generation in a positive way!

  • Mary says on: April 26, 2007 at 9:50 am

     

    What a great idea for a new series! This is something that desperately needs addressed. With 9 nieces and nephews in high school and college currently, this hits me in the heart. I confess to not being there for them, for letting them somehow grow up without much Aunt Mary time. I’ve always been more hands on with them in their preteen years, before they all got so busy with high school sports/pursuits.

    So sock it to us, my mind has been exploring options in this area already, so this is divine timing!

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: April 26, 2007 at 10:53 am

     

    “by the desire to be entertained rather than worshipping God.”

    Boy I am seeing that one played out alot lately. The other day two new young girls (about 8) came to our church. I walked them to the Children’s Auditorium where they do praise and worship and a lesson, a skit and such. Caught these girls later to ask how they liked it, and they said it was “too loud”. Now if the KIDS are complaining it is too loud, then ITS TOO LOUD. (Did you all hear that? You old fogies! lol)

    Anyway, loud for the sake of coolness is really NOT that cool. It damages your hearing, and obviously it isn’t *that* cool.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  • MInTheGap says on: April 26, 2007 at 11:48 am

     

    Colleen, Ken Ham talks about how this is much more a Mars Hill society than a Jerusalem society now– we have to start with the basics about God. We’ve become that Greek society with many gods and we have to introduce the true one.

    Mary, I’ve been mulling over just what to do to reach out to a generation that seems to have apathy towards the things of God, and why some of the things “that we’ve always done” no longer seem to have meaning or purpose. I’ll be looking at one particular way of bridging the gap between the world and the church and finding purpose (sometimes new purpose) to the programs that we do, so hang tight.

    Meg, you’re right. Our message needs to be what is reaching out to people, not our entertainment. We want people to come to Christ because of who He is, not because they like the music. Your case is even worse, however. People were actually turned off of Christ by the music!

  • Rebecca says on: April 26, 2007 at 3:35 pm

     

    Well, I am certainly looking forward to this new series – if only to get my adrenaline up, because so much of what I see going on in churches now makes me so mad! LAS (Laughing At Self! ha ha)

  • DLOGAN says on: April 27, 2007 at 10:25 pm

     

    “What we choose to do in our youth groups, in our Sunday Schools and in our services to reach this generation will have to be different than anything that we’ve done before. We can no longer expect these kids to come to our churches knowing all the basic concepts (that they’re a sinner, that there is a God, etc.) but we must begin to take the Gospel to them.”

    Have we always assumed that kids walking in the door of the church knew these concepts, or is that a transition of the last 20-30 years? I almost wonder if what we need to do is go back to the fundamental ways of really teaching the Word. More than the newest “techniques for reaching the lost”, what we all really need is more of the bible being taught in our lives. I certainly think that there is a place for podcasts, blogs, etc, in teaching the word. However I think if we just concentrated on having good quality, fundamental bible teaching, teaching people how to read the bible on their own… that itself would revolutionize the church.

  • Rebecca says on: April 28, 2007 at 12:42 am

     

    How about we quit kicking the kids out of the Sunday worship service?

  • Stephen Kingston says on: April 28, 2007 at 4:59 am

     

    Rebecca, I agree.

    When I was young, children stayed in for the service and went to Sunday School on a Sunday afternoon. I believe the retreat from this was a grave error.

  • MInTheGap says on: April 28, 2007 at 6:26 am

     

    Doug – I think you’re right. We’ve begun to do things because we’ve always done them rather that doing them because they are accomplishing our goal for reaching the lost. It’s not wrong to do an activity, but our activities should be there for the purpose of teaching kids how to read the Bible, how to grow as a Christian, and those kinds of things– not to just provide entertainment.

    Rebecca/Stephen – There are definitely two schools of thought here. My wife has always wondered why children in the tribes are able to sit still, be quiet and pay attention in the front and our children have to have their own special class. The question is, due to the short attention span that our children have learned through television and other entertainment, and the fact that public schooling (to some degree) has given us a generation of non-thinkers, are these children equipped to handle not only sitting in a service quietly but to actually process what is being said?

    One camp says that we need to simply and repeat a message in order for kids to remember it. I know that this is the case with my oldest (4 years old). In trying to get a message through to him I actually have to keep him engaged– repeat a concept, quiz him on the concept, and go over it again for him to remember it.

    I can also remember myself (as a young child) looking forward only to the story that the pastor told at the beginning of the sermon, but not remembering the rest. If I’m not saved, and don’t have the Holy Spirit in me, surely the service is not that profitable for me yet, and I won’t understand most of what’s being said.

    So, at what age do you think that the children should be in the service? Should they be in there at 3 years old? Older? Is there no benefit in having a special service geared for them? I am really interested in hearing your thoughts.

  • DLOGAN says on: April 28, 2007 at 9:06 am

     

    This brings up even more issues. I think if the vast majority of people required a higher level of discipline from their children there is no reason why having kids in Church couldn’t work. I personally think it has little to do with TV and other outside environmental influences and much more with what parents are requiring of their kids.

    Not only are parents in general more apt to chalk up bad behavior from their kids to their age or a misguided impression of what should be normal, but with kids spending 8-10 hrs a day in childcare and often the remainder of their time split between two separated parents it is genuinely difficult for even the most well meaning parent to have a consistent environment to enforce discipline. Consistency is one of the biggest keys to disciplined, well behaved children. With so many people taking care of the children its difficult to be consistent even if all the parties involved are working together, let along if they have very different ideas on how to do things.

    With this in mind, what should the church’s stance be about kids in church? Certainly we can’t have yelling, screaming kids distracting the whole service so that even the parents don’t get anything out of it. At the same time I think that kids tend to glean more knowledge from being in those services then they actively remember and its benificial for them to be there.

    This leaves two options, have a strict policy of kids being quiet in service and kick them out if they’re being noisy; or outright keep the kids out of service. In a perfect world you would teach all the parents how to have disciplined, well behaved kids, and allow the kids to be in service.

    However, if the Church is going to fullfill its purpose of reaching the lost… you are always going to have wordly new people there whose kids will probably not be able to sit through the service. Do you then kick out of the service essentially the very people you want to reach because their kids are being noisy? Do you think they’ll come back if you do this?

    With that said I think that its important in today’s world to have children’s ministry during service, but it needs to not be day care. There is no reason why doctrinal issues can not start to be taught to a 2 yr old at a simple level, and have this continue all the way through the age levels. Too many churches take the worldly perspective that a 2 yr old can’t retain enough information to even bother.

    With this said, we should be transitioning kids towards regular service. At some point they should start being in service part of the time, and eventually in the service all of the time. I don’t think this means that when a kid is old enough to be in service the whole time that there should no longer be programs for their age group (I’ve seen churches do this as well). It is important for teenage Christians to also have a less formal, planned avenue to further learn how to apply biblicial principles in their lives. (Which is also true for adults, and you fine even less)

  • Rebecca says on: April 29, 2007 at 3:00 pm

     

    I agree with Doug Logan.

    A few other points:

    1) We in the church need a major paradigm shift. Parents are the solution, not the problem. Often in our zeal for children’s ministry we can be downright insulting. Like Doug said: “In a perfect world you would teach all the parents how to have disciplined, well behaved kids, and allow the kids to be in service.”

    2) The excuse that “the parents won’t do it” only holds water when we’re working with kids from unbelieving households. God has given the responsibility for the training of children to the parents; if a member of your church is not training his children properly, that does not mean the church should do it. The church needs to disciple, train, and equip him.

    I would never counsel a young believing wife that if her husband wasn’t fulfilling his God-given responsibilities she should jump in and take over. The church needs to stop usurping the parental role.

    3) Originally Sunday School was an outreach for children whose parents were not in church. Perhaps now lifestyles lend themselves more to outreaches in a different time slot: after-school Good News Clubs, evening Awana programs, and VBS’s.

    4) The availability of children’s church in a service creates a peer pressure environment, working against some families who would prefer to keep their children in service with them. (Recently a close friend of mine left our church for a family-integrated church, I believe at least partially for this reason.)

    As a solution, in my church, I would love to see one service family-integrated and one service with children’s church. The majority of new people come to the later service, so that would be the natural one to retain children’s church.

    I see no need to do away with Sunday School or youth group, but as I have said before (I think at Stephen’s blog), those programs could have advisory boards comprised of believing parents whose children are in the program.

    MIn, you are going to read this to Virtuous Blonde, aren’t you?

  • Stephen Kingston says on: April 29, 2007 at 3:36 pm

     

    Min, I also remember only looking forward to parts of the sermon, and I would usually colour or draw during the sermon, but:

    1) Children absorb what is going on around them when involved in activities like colouring and drawing. Information went in during these times that I was able to draw on later.

    2) The presence of children in the service may encourage pastors to speak in a manner that is plainer and more easily understood – which can benefit other people, not just the children. A more in depth teaching programme for adults can be catered for through bible studies.

    3) A big problem time for retention of children is when they transition from their activities into the main life of the adult church. Because they have not been present, the church service is an alien culture to them.

    4) A spereate sunday school (even if it is not actually on a Sunday!) benefits the children because there is more time for the activities.

  • Mary says on: April 30, 2007 at 10:22 am

     

    Interesting comments…

    I thought most churches still had a separate Sunday School and church…I’d hate to see it combined just to get the children out of the church service.

    I can tell you that our oldest sat with us in the services from infant up, being in the nursery only occasionally. She’s nine now and hates missing the sermon, even takes notes and is totally engaged to the point of elbowing me at certain points to say as she did this past Sunday, “Mom, the belt of truth” (we were in Phil. 4:8-9, talking about keeping our thoughts pure) “this goes along with the Spiritual armor we were learning about…”

    My six year old, hated the nursery. We attended a different church with her, she was the only toddler (what child wants to be the only one in a nursery with adults she’s not sure about?) and so I ended up keeping her with me in each service. I always felt that church frowned on children in the service “making any noise” so I got into the habit of bringing her snacks and papers to color, etc., to keep her quiet. Something I never did for my oldest. My oldest got taken out and “trained” if she made a peep. (Yes, I’m ashamed for slacking off). As a result, my six year old sits very quietly in church, but feels the need to draw the whole time. Stephen mentioned that he took in some of the sermon while he drew, but I’m sure my 6 yo doesn’t. She’s in her own dreamworld, and I’m afraid if I continue to let her do this, she’ll always retreat into her imagination to survive the “boredom” of church. I think MANY children do this.

    We’re back at a bigger church now, plenty of littles in the nursery, and I confess to wanting to be able to take notes and enjoy the sermon so I do let my almost 3 year old go to the nursery during church. There are two other couples training their 1-2 year olds to sit still in church, and they’re successful. Happily, their children usually go to sleep on them…my children never went to sleep in church! Don’t know what’s up with that, but anyway…

    I think, and I’ve done this to some extent, we need to work with our toddlers at home on sitting still. I do this during read-aloud time with my toddler. She has to sit in one of the recliners without toys/books and stay in the chair till I say she can get down. She does pretty well. Now to take the plunge in church.

    I do wonder, if you don’t start at one year of age in teaching/training them to sit still in church, is it better to let them enjoy the nursery till an older age and then instead of trying to transition them into sitting quietly in the service by providing colors and paper/snacks etc (which seems to me is teaching them that they need to entertain themselves during church) just tell them that in church we sit still and listen. Period. By the age of 6 they can probably take notes, or draw a picture of what the preacher is saying, but not just whatever picture they want. Something that helps channel the message from the air to their ears and to their heart.

    I know my children usually respond well to high expectations when they come in the beginning of a new routine. But once you’ve muddied the waters by allowing certain things, it seems that breaking those habits is extra hard.

    Oh and another thing that drives me nuts…people don’t teach their children to go to the bathroom before the service. I understand needing to leave due to avoiding an accident, but my girls have spent a good ten minutes squirming in the pew b/c they “forgot” to take care of these needs before church. When an adult leaves presumably to use the facilities…I have to hope that they were dangerously near wetting their pants. Unless they have a child in hand, then I’m usually more understanding!

  • MInTheGap says on: April 30, 2007 at 10:58 am

     

    It’s a hard thing to know what to do, for sure. I like what you guys have been saying (Doug, Rebecca, Stephen, Mary). The problem that I have is that it’s a hard transition, and when you see so many parents that are not involved in transferring the excitement for the things of God to their kids, you start to think that maybe if you engaged them in something they could comprehend earlier they would learn to be engaged throughout.

    I’m still on the fence when it comes to Junior Church– and believe that I definitely need to keep working with the oldest as far as being engaged (though I’m not sure how much a 4 year old can really get out of a service). This past Sunday I tried whispering him terms that he could understand so that he could actually know what was being said.

    You don’t want to get to the point that you’re doing things to entertain– and to some degree that’s what children often want rather then to learn things… It truly is a sticky problem.

  • Stephen Kingston says on: April 30, 2007 at 3:28 pm

     

    Mary, if churches where you are have seperate sunday schools (not during the church service), then keep it! In th UK there was a wholesale retreat from these two or three decades ago. Now Sunday schools take place during the Church service. One thing that particularly annoys me is that the Children often are out at Sunday school during communion. I personally don’t see how you can have scriptural communion when you have excluded a significant part of the Church.

    I know that practice differs in various places. I visited relatives when they were living in New Orleans some years ago, and their church was much like what we have in the UK. On the other hand, my Uncle’s church in Blacksburg has no evening service at all, but a very long morning service which has a Bible Study (which is broken down into age groups for younger people) and an a worship service which I think is all-age.

    There is, of course, no right or wrong – but we should not be too ready to exclude children from our services, and a “junior church” (if we have one) is not a replacement for a Sunday School.

  • Mary says on: April 30, 2007 at 3:48 pm

     

    Our Sunday morning church schedule is: 9:30 am prayer time, 10-10:40 am Sunday school, and 10:45-12 service.

    We had some parent-less children acting out/causing disruptions during the church service which had some well-meaning people hinting about the need to start a children’s church ministry, but we nipped that in the bud. A couple of families have taken those children under their wing, adopting them into their pew for the morning. I don’t like children’s church. For one thing, it takes adults out of the service…which already happens when it happens to be your rotation in the nursery schedule (which at our church is once every 3 months or so, so not worth complaining about)…

    We do have nursery for 4 and under during the main service. We don’t have an evening service, because Sunday nights are when we have AWANA. There are home Bible studies going on that night though, as well as on weeknights at various homes.

    That is one thing that has changed greatly in the US since I was a child…most churches seem to be doing away with the Sunday evening service, and the mid-week prayer meeting. I’m somewhat mollified that our church at least does home Bible studies, but I miss the Pastor-led corporate meetings on Sunday nights.

  • MInTheGap says on: April 30, 2007 at 4:15 pm

     

    We have Sunday School at 9:30-10:30, a mini fellowship time from 9:30 to 10:45 and the Morning Worship from 10:45-12:00pm. We have nursery from 0-2, a 2-3 Junior Church (which is really just the 2-3 Sunday School continued through the service) and a 4-6 Junior Church that takes place during the morning message (after the song service). We’ve also had 7-9 Jr Church, but since we are a smaller church that was canceled about a year ago.

    We still have an Evening Service and a mid-week Prayer Meeting. Our youth groups are on Wednesday Evening– and usually don’t run during the summer.

    The more we talk about this, the more I’m finding two different camps: One that firmly believes that all ages should be together, and one that believes that there is a benefit to age appropriate teaching. And two very passionate responses!

  • Rebecca says on: April 30, 2007 at 4:50 pm

     

    Okay, I’m jealous now. Our church has never had a Sunday evening service in the 10 years we’ve been here, but the youth group (the fun one, big on service, less on teaching) meets that night. Should I be insulted as an adult that the church provides more opportunities for the teens to worship than it does for me? Or should my kids be insulted that the church thinks they need to be in church more? 😉

  • DLOGAN says on: April 30, 2007 at 5:30 pm

     

    Stephen, “One thing that particularly annoys me is that the Children often are out at Sunday school during communion. I personally don’t see how you can have scriptural communion when you have excluded a significant part of the Church.”

    I think this is usually done because many younger children have not made a decision for Christ. Without that decision there really isn’t much point in them taking part in communion (and the bible says its a bad idea).

    Rebecca,
    I’ve never been to a church with a Sunday evening service ;-), Wed Night and Thursday night, yes, but not Sunday. It would be interesting to have a Sunday night service 😉

  • Rebecca says on: April 30, 2007 at 5:54 pm

     

    I’d gladly go to a mid-week service if that were offered, but we only have Sunday morning. Actually, I think a Friday or Saturday night would be a good option, too, but that may be a throw-back to my partying days. Why shouldn’t church be a party?

  • MInTheGap says on: April 30, 2007 at 8:55 pm

     

    Funny– I’ve always attended a church that had Sunday evening services. At college, these churches had bigger attendance on Sunday nights because all of us college kids had to attend morning service on campus!

    Doug, when I was a deacon and was serving communion to children, it was difficult to know whether I should be serving it to a child or not. Hard to know about what they really believe and what they understand.

  • Stephen Kingston says on: May 1, 2007 at 4:33 am

     

    Doug, I agree that we do not want to push children too early into taking communion, but I still think they should be present. My reasons are:

    1. They may partake with their family in the celebration of Christ’s death and ressurrection through prayer and worship. Many churches, ours included, will pray for the children specifically (when they are present), and to our 3 year old, we call the service “special prayer”.

    2. Children see us partaking in the communion, and learn by our example that this is something special. A truth that we take seriously – that one day we will drink of the fruit of the vine with Christ in our father’s kingdom, because of His sacrifice for us.

    3. If children have made a commitment, then in excluding them from communion, we send a message that this commitment is not taken seriously (or else, that the nature of Christ’s body – the church – joining together in communion is not taken seriously).

    4. Even prior to an act of commitment, children of Christian families are in a special position in the Church. They must clearly take their own step of faith and trust in Christ for their salvation, but they are under the guidance and protection of the church family. They are more likely, of course, to take that step of commitment. They cannot rely on the faith of their parents and those around them, but it is the faith of their parents and the church that guides them, nurtures them and protects them. Thus whilst we do not yet know if they are members of the true church, we can still celebrate with them in the family of the church. As communion is about the family of the church, children should be present.

  • Stephen Kingston says on: May 1, 2007 at 4:46 am

     

    Min, to know if a child is to take communion, maybe some signal is required. Some churches suggest that children keep hands behind their back if not partaking, and hands ready to receive the bread if they are. Parents need to take responsibility for teaching their children so that the children can know whether they ought receive or not.

    On the other hand, i don’t think we need to get too worried about the clear warnings of scripture about abuse of communion, when it comes to children. A child who takes communion when they have not really appreciated the full gospel message is not drinking hjudgement on themself in the same way that proud and rich Corinthian Christians were drinking judgement on themselves by getting gorged and drunk on the communion meal they brought along themselves and failed to share with the other Christians, whilst being involved in sexual relations with their mother-in-law (or temple prostitutes or whatever).

    Communion *is* an act of worship by Christians and for Christians, who are living a life of commitment to Christ. We teach this and keep the meal between Christians where possible, but I think that inclusivity is better in the grey areas, knowing that God is loving and merciful where someone partakes despite a lack of understanding.

    Indeed, we have people attending our church from a care home for the mentally handicapped. When their understanding is as a child’s, should we exclude *them* from communion too? Would we do this knowing we could never reach a point where we would then allow communion? Are we saying that God cannot regenerate the hearts of such people? (Certainly not). Thus inclusivity is the rule. If these people wish to worship God in communion, knowing what He has done for us to the best of their understanding, then who are we to deny them?

  • MInTheGap says on: May 1, 2007 at 8:54 am

     

    That’s a good idea, Stephen– by giving visual cues it would be a lot clearer. You’ve also got a point about those that are not Christians not being effected by the commands. I also really like the idea of having a special prayer for the children. That’s something I’ll have to suggest to our pastor.

  • Deborah says on: May 1, 2007 at 9:31 pm

     

    I haven’t been around much lately…but I’ve really enjoyed reading the ’24’ comments here!

    So, here’s my opinion. Everything we do in life, should have appropiate behavior, dress and actions for that activity. Our children learn this through seeing us practice it. I like Sunday School for all ages, even down to the two year old level. Each class should be at the maturity level of that individual group. I feel that is what Sunday School is for. A teaching environment. I feel that the worship service can also be a time of learning and a time of worship and it should be a family activity. It won’t be if the children are taken out. What is wrong with a child having to learn to sit for an hour? Not even an hour in most churches if you count the singing, offering, etc. And I mean sit…not snack, draw or whisper. We as adults do not eat, draw or whisper in church, or atleast we shouldn’t because it is disrespectful to the speaker. We need to teach by our actions. Any child that is not bottle fed or nursing can usually sit for an hour and you can even arrange your feeding schedule for those other two.

    Let’s give our children a little credit. God created them with wonderful, curious minds…ready to learn. No, most children will not pick up a lot for those first few years, but they are getting down how to ACT in church. Something most children do not seem to understand today and these children are growing into adults showing the same disrespect. They dress sloppily for services, carrying in their coffee, etc. and talk throughout the service. We have become tolerant of this shameful behavior and disrespectful to God’s Word.

    I think tolerance is the key word here. What are we throwing out the window in order to supposedly ‘reach’ the lost? I agree with Doug. We need good, sound fundamental teaching. That is what will reach people…the lost and the saved. We don’t need the circus! And our children really don’t.

  • MInTheGap says on: May 2, 2007 at 10:08 am

     

    I guess the other side of the argument, Deborah, would be that instead of kids not picking up a lot the first few years, they could be in a class tailored to their age where they would be learning and growing.

    To me, it’s a tough call, and I could argue either side. I see the benefits of both. Personally, I’ll be trying a little hard to get my children to be able to sit in the service, but I won’t frown on people that want their kids in junior church either.

  • Deborah says on: May 2, 2007 at 12:18 pm

     

    Yes, we have done both too…and currently our ten year old is in Junior Church. I would NEVER fault a parent for what they think is best for their child. That is between them and God. My opinion was stated more in a ‘perfect’ setting scenario.

    We had watched a DVD the other night. Mark Cahill was speaking. (I think that is the spelling of his last name.) He was very good in my opinion and that same DVD was addressing the issue of the Emergent Church. I think that sometimes in our effort to reach the lost and get them interested, we forget that the church setting is for the edification of the Saints. The place where Believers are to be fed spiritually and have fellowship with other Believers. We should certainly give out the gospel, but that shouldn’t be the goal of the church setting…whether it be in a church building or where ever a body of Believers meets for that purpose. We as Believers should ALWAYS be trying to witness and reach the lost, and the local church is where we should be ‘fueled up’ to do that. We evangelize and then bring the new Believer into the church setting so they can grow in their knowledge of the Bible.

    I think there can be many different meetings during the week in the local church…Bible studies, AWANA, prayer meetings, etc., but I really think that the Sunday morning worship service needs to maintain a sense of worship and respect to some degree. It is just another area that is getting ‘watered down’.

  • Rebecca says on: May 2, 2007 at 12:37 pm

     

    That’s exactly the point, Deborah!

    Church, the Sunday worship service, not to be excluding the lost, but it’s purpose is not evangelism, it’s edification. The point of that edification being for us to be equipped to go out and reach the lost and make disciples.

    Perhaps I’m being judgmental. I can’t see people’s motives, but it seems like we are just plain too lazy to talk to our neighbors and we’d rather just water down the church service so we can placate ourselves by inviting people to church and calling it evangelism.

    Uh … yeah. I think I’d better go pray now.

  • MInTheGap says on: May 2, 2007 at 3:13 pm

     

    I think you and Deborah are right here, Rebecca, which is exactly the point of this series (and started in the second post)– we need to be reaching these people where they are, not expecting them to come to us. We need to be creating opportunities both in our communities and in our neighborhoods.

  • Stephen Kingston says on: May 3, 2007 at 5:09 am

     

    Min, I hope that no-one would look down on anyone who chooses to keep children in or take them out. That would clearly be a wrong attitude. The point I was trying to make is that there should be no compulsion to take the children out – particularly in communion, and that if our communion services are simply inappropriate for children, then we may be doing something wrong in the communion service itself (which would be a point to take up with the church leadership).

    Regards,
    Stephen

  • MInTheGap says on: May 3, 2007 at 8:20 am

     

    I totally understand. In our current arrangement at our church, the children are not there during communion when we have it Sunday morning because of Junior Church, but they are there Sunday Evening.

    In any event, it’s a good idea to figure out ways to include them and let them know what we’re doing.

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: May 4, 2007 at 1:12 pm

     

    I think that children’s ministry (with proper teaching!) should be available. I do not however, think that children should be out right banned from the service. They ought to be allowed, and then asked to leave if they become disruptive. And PARENTS ought to be the ones to excuse themselves! I also think that those who are serving should not be required to serve every week. Enough people ought to step up and serve that they can be rotated and fed in the main service.

    Ha, lots of “shoulds” but how to implement this with balance in a church is a whole other matter! LOL… anyway, just my thoughts on the issue.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  • MInTheGap says on: May 4, 2007 at 1:21 pm

     

    There’s a bigger question here, I think, than just whether there should be Junior Church, and that is: What is the point of the Worship Service? To be served or to serve?

    What is more important, that we do a good job serving those that come or that we make sure we are fed?

    The Lord’s really been working on me in this area, and I should post about it later, but I’m becoming more convinced that we should be concerned about doing a better job serving than worrying about how well we are being served.

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: May 4, 2007 at 1:33 pm

     

    I guess I would like to add that I definitely agree with Mary and Stephen about training our kids, and about having them available for communion. I don’t like to see families split up intentionally or by pressure of the body. I know at our church, parents are NOT ALLOWED to bring kids into the service. This really bothers me. Anyone who brings a kid of any age (under 5th grade) into service even during praise and worship, is asked to leave, and then they are talked about behind their backs… *sigh* it really gets me riled up.

    I would like to train my children to sit in service. I really think that they would learn alot, especially my son. “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. All wisdom and revelation is a gift from God, and children are able to absorb far more into their spirit than we give them credit for. I remember sitting in service, finding it boring, and coloring. I also remember ALOT of what was taught. It was absorbed in some way. I didn’t become a Christian until I was 20ish though.

    There is also the point that kids are learning more than just the doctrine from the sermon in a service. Kids are learning self control as Mary pointed out, and to listen. To be attentive… things which are often overlooked in todays culture, in favor of TV (quick entertainment) and such. These things will prove to be invaluable resources to our children, as they will be some of the ONLY adults with any attention span and any self control in the world of tomorrow.

    Ok, I better run now.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  • MInTheGap says on: May 4, 2007 at 1:35 pm

     

    I think you’re right on here, Meg. I think that we need to think about ALL that we are ministering to, and not just the subset. People should never be made to feel unwelcome, no matter their age.

    I’m not sure about the coloring, though. As I’ve said before, I wasn’t able to focus on what was said by the pastor other than his story. I couldn’t tell you that afternoon the topic, probably. You need to be able to get people excited and engaged into the Word of God and its preaching. That’s one of the challenges of today.

  • Rebecca says on: May 4, 2007 at 2:33 pm

     

    I think the point of the worship service is to worship, and we see in Exodus chapter 10 that God required it to include everyone: the young and the old. Although I suppose instead of bringing our herds and livestock now we can just bring a check! LOL

  • MInTheGap says on: May 4, 2007 at 3:30 pm

     

    A check would probably burn a whole lot faster than a herd!

    The question is, were the New Testament churches assembled to teach (following the Great Commission), to serve others, etc. or what? Are we there to minister (i.e. we’re worshiping through our service to Christ) or to be ministered unto (i.e. to sit back and expect people to minister to us)?

    If you think about it, the pastor ministers, the organist/pianist ministers, the Sunday School teacher ministers, the bus person ministers, the junior church person ministers, if you help people find a seat you minister,… and that’s the point. It’s Christ washing the disciple’s feet– he who is greatest is the least.

    I think the problem is that too many people come to church expecting their feet wash and feel cheated if they don’t get a chance to instead of coming to the service looking for someone else’s feet to wash.

  • Mary says on: May 6, 2007 at 8:14 pm

     

    Just checking in to say I’ve really enjoyed all the comments, what a great discussion!

    I made my toddler suffer through the service today, we had to leave once to get a swat and she was good the rest of the time, but she kept whispering, “Can I go play with the babies now?” (Meaning her infant friends in the nursery) I kept putting her off, and when church was over, and she realized we were on the way outside without visiting the nursery, she fell apart. Not a tantrum, but honest big sad tears and disappointment that she’d not gotten to play with her “babies”…she’s such a mother hen. She’s also a wiggle worm, and I really don’t know if I have the fortitude to miss out on most of the service as I curtail the wiggling. I don’t know if it’s worth it at her age. I think I should have started a lot younger, and never done nursery time…or that I should just wait till she’s 4 and is too old for the nursery. At that point we’d jump into the service with both feet, and try to make sitting still/paying attention the whole object of her outgrowing the nursery. Still thinking on it.

    I don’t think I would last long in a church that didn’t allow children in the service. For us, Sunday is a family day, one of the only days we get to spend with dh…kids are already dumbed down in the public school system, we’re perpetuating that whole theory by believing they are unable to grow/gain by being in an adult service. I think by the age of 5 for sure, children should be in the main worship service with their parents. Of course, as I said before, our church has SS for every grade to adult…and then we have the worship service. So we get both, and both are so important.

  • Arthur Eiss says on: May 6, 2007 at 9:38 pm

     

    Looking at the generation problem in the Church, I’m often frustrated by the lack of perspective many Christians have. That being said, there’s a few things I’d like to mention. Here’s my 2 cents:

    – Children should be ministered to in the Church, but it’s more important to pro-actively disciple parents and help them RAISE their children than it is to have a ‘Youth Pastor’ or rock and roll in Church. That’s what the Bible says “RAISE up YOUR children in the way they should go…” Not “Hire a good youth pastor and hope he can find some way of reaching them because obviously you can’t”

    – I saw an accurate observation here, “Children today really care about their parent’s oppinions.” (duh) … Remember that parents!

    – Do NOT believe the lie that existentialist/pluralist society have told you. You CAN do something, teenage sex and drug use is not just “what they do.”

    – I feel like there’s this idea that America has lost God somehow, but if other generations were passing or allowing to pass these anti-Christian laws in the past, just how much did they really believe? Or was it a case of surface Christianity?

    – Don’t fight your battles in the courts as the pagans do; fight them, out of pure motives, in the hearts and minds of people (young and old). “…but first wash the inside of the cup or dish and the outside will be made clean also.”

    – Children should be allowed in Church services because they are integral parts of their family units. To shuffle them off on others is to again bend the knee to the social order of the day that caused (and causes) the problem of unruly children in the first place.

    – Do not seek out new ways to reach and teach your children. “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

    – If you want to reach your children in new ways, try these: 1. Talk to them, find out what their needs are. 2. Provide for their needs. 3. Tell them the TRUTH about God and His Word. 4. Correct them when they err. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”

    – Don’t believe the lie that it’s not ok to spank, paddle, hurt or otherwise discipline your child in a ‘harsh’ way. It’s more harsh when a spoiled child is released unto the world in an adult body and must make these corrections later on in life or suffer constant, cyclical, disappointment and self-induced emotional torment.

    – Heed this advice, I’m one of those spoiled children, a child of the ‘me generation’. I know what it’s like to wake up one day and find out that the gentle world your parents allowed you to experience does not exist, and all you’re left with is your weak flesh unless you know Christ. I’ve been spending the last 4 years of my life unlearning all the lies that the ritalin/prozac generation taught me and learning the Truth of God.

    – The answer to your child’s behavior is NOT found in a pill.

    – All that a “time out” does is teach a child how to have fun while sitting alone in a corner. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s no rod of correction.)

    Love,
    Arthur Eiss

  • MInTheGap says on: May 7, 2007 at 2:44 pm

     

    I kept my oldest with me in the service this past Sunday for a couple of reasons (one has to do with facilities), and he did ok. It’s difficult since I’m involved with the music part of the service so I’m not always able to sit with my family. The curse of being able to play the piano, I guess.

    It is disheartening to see how many children need to sleep on mommy’s lap or find something else to do because they haven’t learned how to pay attention– but on the other hand, it is a lot of work, and requires you to look toward ministering to your child over having hearing the message yourself as your first priority.

  • MInTheGap says on: May 7, 2007 at 2:59 pm

     

    There’s a lot of truth here, Arthur. I think if you added the part about Parents that were brought up in the me generation don’t know as much about self sacrificing for their children, and are still seeking to get the most they can out of things then you’d be right on.

  • Mary says on: May 7, 2007 at 3:02 pm

     

    Great advice, Arthur, thanks for sharing it…I really liked “the answer to your child’s problem is not found in a pill” So true.

    Quoting MIn: “requires you to look toward ministering to your child over having hearing the message yourself as your first priority”

    Sigh. This kind of goes along with your thoughts on going to church to serve or to be served, right? :pouty:

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

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