Parenting in the Pew

Posted by  | Thursday, April 30, 2009  at 12:19 AM  

I just finished a great book by Robbie Castleman (a woman) called Parenting in the Pew. It is an easy read and gave me some great ideas for including Samuel in our Sunday morning meetings. The subtitle of the book is 'Guiding your children into the joy of worship.' The book is both a defense of why children should be included in the worship service and a how-to to help them get there.

She addresses the most common complaint against including children in the worship service right in the beginning - that children are a distraction. I really like what she has to say in this regard. She points out that the issue isn't what one gets out of church, but what does God get out of worship? She says we should sing "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" but instead concern ourselves with "Bless my soul, O Lord!" She doesn't deny that children can infringe on our worship experience as we might desire it, but that children don't have to interfere with God's experience of worship. Worship is first a blessing to God, and he values the presence and praise of children.

Modern church wants to separate children from their parents. The modern church has created "Children's Church" to take away distracting children so that adults can pay attention. Castleman quotes from a book on Christian community regarding this and I love what it says:

"Interestingly, Jesus put a child in the center of his disciples, "in the midst of them," in order to help them pay attention...The child was a last-ditch effort by God to help the disciples pay attention to the odd nature of God's kingdom. Few acts of Jesus are more radical, countercultural, than his blessing of children."

The book has really helped remind me why I want to include Samuel in service and has given me a lot of practical pointers.

I really love what she shared as her motivation:

"I made worship training important because I wanted my sons to know God and love him. I didn't want to raise hypocrites, but holy men."


Mark'sMeg said...

Thanks, Leah, I will definitely have to read it! Keeping our almost 2-year old in the service with us has been a lot of work lately, but I know it is worth it. Thanks for the resource and the encouragement!

Dinglefest said...

So excited to get this book! Our two-year-old daughter spends at least the first half of the service with us in the sanctuary, but I often find myself more concerned with her physical condition (is she there? is she behaving appropriately?) than her spiritual condition (is she learning to worship God?). I think this resource will help!

Christy said...

I will have to look at getting this book. I have been struggling with this issue. I come from a small church and one that well if you divide it in half young and old well my mom is on the side of the young not that I don't want her there it is just that we really don't have the workers to have a nursery ministry and barely the workers for the children's church. I typically offer my oldest to either go to the nursery or to go upstairs with me to the service. He will usually do good the first half of the service (singing and such). I want him to learn how to respond in church and this book will hopefully help me in how I need to respond to both of my boys and having them be a part of the worship service.

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