Little Children

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mat 18:3

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Mat 19:14

I like children in the regular worship gathering. I don’t care that they might act up; it is one of the few things on Sunday AM that might actually look like a 1st century gathering of believers. Have you ever noticed that sense of unrest that ripples through the auditorium (there’s a word that points to our problem) when a kid starts up, though?

I’m not a parent yet, so I don’t have that perspective, but I think of the verses above whenever a youngster gets too antsy and hyper during a sermon, and the heads start to turn. Husbands look around; wives cut their eyes at their husbands with “that face.” It is one of the most awkward moments in church life, though, and no matter what your youth minister tells you, it *is* the real reason behind children’s church.

So why do we ignore Jesus? We act like Jesus said, “Unless you turn and become like somber, stolid adults, you will never enter the kingdom.” But he DIDN’T! He said that WE need to be more like THEM!

  • Children run up to Daddy (and Mommy too) and say, “Daddy Daddy Daddy! Look what I made!!!” They don’t cringe and plead, “Dear Father, I hope that what I have done is pleasing in your sight.” I fear people are turned away from the outrageous love of Our Father because (in public) we act like he’s some unpredictably abusive tyrant.
  • Children cheer one another on! Have you ever seen a group of little kids playing T-ball? One kid hits the ball and VOOM! they’re all off to the races! Every hit is potentially an inside-the-park home run because the kids haven’t yet learned that they’re supposed to try and thwart the other kids! Nothing breaks my heart more in worship than how somberly we experience a baptism. How “adult” we are!

What do you think? What are some ways you need to become like a little child? What are some ways WE as members of believing communities need to become like little children? What do you think we need?

in HIS love,

nick

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About Nick Gill

orphan-poet-adoptee-soldier-prodigal-servant-husband- counselor-desperate seeker after my Father's face "I feel my body weakened by the years as people turn to gods of cruel design. Is it that they fear the pain of death, or is it that they fear the joy of life?" - Toad the Wet Sprocket

Posted on 21 May, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. We are covered up by little children at our church right now. There is NOTHING quiet about our worship and I love it. After services kids are running everywhere up and down the isles.

    A few weeks back an older lady, just trying to do what she thought was best, said, “Trey, do you really think that God would approve of you letting those kids run like that through the building.”

    I kind of bit my tongue and said, “I honestly think if Jesus was here tonight, he’d be the one chasing them up and down the isles.”

    She didn’t like my answer.

  2. My kids were in a soccer league once. The day came for portraits to be made of each player. For some reason, one of my kids was too nervous to get in front of the camera. I spent a few minutes playing with them (tag, tickling, whatever) and eventually, the picture got made. The photographer came over and asked, “What did you do to fix it?” I said, “Just played.” “He smiled. “So many parents try to threaten their kids when the kid was already nervous. Playing works much better.”

    Without community in the church, the kids have no reason to behave. Without parents being discipled (mentored) in the ways of mirroring God to their kids at home in daily life, kids will have no reason to obey.

    This is a serious problem. Without being taught a more excellent way, parents are teaching kids that God is angry, exhausted, and unavailable. Church is teaching kids that God is boring. School is teaching them that their parent’s beliefs are misled, and whose to blame them for believing it?

    (It’s not just the CofC, either. John Eldredge mentioned in one of his books that he and his family took a whole year off of church just to connect with God. No pretense, no expectation, no need to have a perfect life on display for 3 hours every Sunday. Very refreshing, in an unfortunate kind of way.)

    This is why house churches are so successful. There’s nothing but community, worship, and ministering – exactly what people need. The “sermon” time doubles as study time. Everyone gets to comment, discuss, learn. There’s life, and healing, and motivation to keep breathing and see what God does next. There is hope.

    I’m afraid at age 36, I’m part of a Joshua generation that won’t be able to enter the promised land that is The Church until control is either wrestled away from the prior generations, or until they die. Most of us think that out of humility and respect, we should wait for the latter. But more and more I think Jesus would simply whip us out of our buildings and tell us to try again.

    Becoming like children will most likely not happen in buildings.

    • The heart-rending brilliance of your third paragraph literally brought tears to my eyes. Who, indeed?

      Any John Eldredge reader will find a warm mug of coffee and a walking stick ready for them at my house! I remember that story, about the church performance sabbatical.

      It definitely won’t happen in buildings, but if we can get it happening in homes and coffee-shops and marketplaces in the community, it won’t go away just because we’re in a building! (i hope)

  3. Great post bro. Kids bring an element of honesty that sure seems lost in many places. Wouldn’t it be nice if the honesty and transparency of children were conveyed into maturity?

  4. Our kids leave the service for Kids Church during the sermon, except during school holidays when no programs are run for them when they stay in church. “Activity packs” are available for them – so they can draw read tetc and not disrupt the service. One week huge lollipops were included – and magic – it was very quiet with all the under 10s sucking for the whole hour or so. I had misgivings over that.. it worked but…

  5. The church where I work and worship recently had a Sunday evening worship which the little children helped lead; even helped preach. It was wonderful.

    Take a look: Jonah Running Away From God.

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