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Friday, September 21, 2007

Family Focus Friday: Family Worship

This week's topic is Family Worship, and I don't really mean devotions or family church you may do every day at home. That topic may be another week. This week I want to hear your take on the whole family being in Sunday church service together. So far, we've always just put Eli in the nursery. He's one of the most active babies ever and doesn't, even for 30 seconds, EVER sit in my lap. So the idea of getting quietly through a church service seems completely unrealistic....for now.

Now Eli's switched from the nursery to the toddler room, and I look forward to him actually getting to play with other children since he has nearly nothing of that during the week. Then I realized my thoughts--that I'm excited for Eli to go to church so he can play with others--and how my thoughts really have no focus on God. And it just occurred to me (just now as I'm writing this post) that if having social play time for Eli is something important to me, then I need to find something besides church for him to have that. Then church can just be worship and play can be play.

I would love for us to someday worship together as a whole family. Yet I also understand the value of children's church where kids have their separate classes to go to and they have lessons taught to them at a level they understand. However, it would also be a good opportunity for family to discuss the sermon afterwards to help the children better understand.

These are two websites with great ideas on getting helping children sit in church: Kerux Noemata and Raising Godly Tomatoes. I really liked the idea of "practicing" church at home, so just yesterday I started what I like to call "obedience training" with Eli. I picked a time I can do most every day (for us it's 1:30) and every day at that time I will play a sermon MP3 on the computer, pick one small toy, put Eli in my lap, and start the kitchen timer for 15 minutes with the goal of teaching him how to sit in my lap quietly for the duration of this time. (as he gets better I'll increase the time) So far we still have a loooong way to go, and it's a quite miserable process right now, but this will hopefully teach him the obedience he needs to get through all of life, and maybe just maybe we can smoothly get through or altogether avoid typical toddler tantrums. And maybe one day Eli will be able to sit quietly in church with us, listening for key words in the sermon, looking up the Bible passages, writing down key points in his own little journal... what a vision.

So what do you think? What's your take on families worshiping together in church vs. separate children/adult church? What do you do? Share your vision.... (it doesn't matter if Friday has already passed or even a week has passed; I'd love to hear from you!)


paul said...

I totally agree with your statement that church needs to be worship (and I hope you mean that in a broad sense, not just in the sense of songs and preaching) and not merely social hour. Of course, even "worship" apart from placing faith in Christ will get Eli nowhere, but at least you can build right foundations now for Eli to have a context in which to understand the gospel.

Does Shepherding a Child's Heart address this subject at all?

According to HIS Power said...

I am joining this, Sarah but it may be later tonight before I get mine posted. This is a wonderful topic! Love and Prayers,


Anonymous said...

I just heard a preacher say "Your children will decide what the TRUE priorities are in your life, by what sacrifices they see you make for them". So I do believe that being in church together as a family is a sacrifice that is well worth being made. I don't have anything against SS or Childrens Church...I taught it myself. But I think there is something very precious about your children being in the service with you and learning from a young age to hear God's Word and sing His songs, and as they grow, follow along in their own Bible. Just my opinion, since you asked :-)

Oldqueen44 said...

Our church has the kids in with the adults for everything except the sermon. I like it this way so the kids have time to learn to sit quietly and reverently and sing and praise the Lord. Then they get to go to learn about Jesus on a level they can understand, remember and take home. Yesterday my wild 3yr old cowboy grandson was outside looking around on the ground. I asked him what he was doing and he said, in a very nonchalant way, I'm just praising the Lord.

Dirtyhands4Him said...

I'll pray with you on this subject. I believe its important to have the children understand what's going on in church, and learn how to be quiet. Unfortunately some churches aren't that generous in their understanding of children making even the slightest noise in church. I believe its important to go with what you feel led by God in your own church and family situation. It's never too early, especially for a boy to learn to sit still. My son who is now a fifth grader had some physical and developmental problems especially as an infant. And with the fact that my husband is a pastor, and not available at all to sit with me (SIGH), I had to basically let each week, his health and behaviour guide my decisions for church attendance. More often that not, especially at a young age,we sat through part of the service and then went to the nursery. Eventually pre-k helped him to learn how to sit still, and that greatly helped out with Sunday worship service. There's one thing about having a whole class being made to sit still, positive peer pressure. Anyways, I'll be praying. Try not to get too upset when you don't think you're being a good mom and he's not sitting still. You are doing wonderful.

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

I, too, like the idea of "practicing" at home.

My husband does the recording for our little church, s we could even practice to a familiar voice.

Trouble is, I probably need to learn to be still as much as the kids. When we listen to "words" (as opposed to music) at home I am usually "being productive."

But as I have asserted to my husband that I would rather juggle our three preschoolers through the sermon than teach children's church myself, I suppose I ought to prepare myself for that event.

I see you are preparing for a soon arrival. I'm excited for you! This will be a special time.

(My first two are 17 1/2 months apart, and for all that it took me three months to find my feet again, I've been thankful for God's timing ever since.)

Blessings on your day!