Same job, different uniform.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Check Your Children at the Door

A gentleman named Gary Lamb has posted an update on his blog explaining his church's new "no-children" rule. You may read the whole thing here, but it's not difficult to explain: No young children allowed in the service.

Generally I am of two minds about this though I disagree with Lamb's policy and his rationale is terrible.

Churchgoers are human beings. Attending worship has not made us above being distracted and annoyed. We don't have a "right" to listen to a sermon without interruption, but common courtesy dictates removing a noisy child from the service. Unfortunately common courtesy is scarce and indulgence frequently trumps responsibility.

I also have to wonder, at what point does it defeat the purpose of attending worship if you miss the service because you are in the hallway with your child?

On the other hand, as Ms. Neidlinger (who is on a roll) points out, "suffer the little children to come unto Me" can hardly mean forbidding them to attend worship with their parents because they have a propensity to squirm. Or because you have a vision to be a church that turns away families in the sanctuary.

And let's be honest. There are a fair number of teenagers that can't sit through church without two visits to the bathroom. I doubt a "no teenagers" rule will surface at Mr. Lamb's church anytime soon.

Isn't there a compromise? Perhaps the conscientious parent who has a child that absolutely will not sit through service can consider the nursery from time to time. Conversely the indulgent parent should consider whether or not their children's ability to sit through service is due in part to their unwillingness to try it.

And maybe, if God will help us, we will all "in honor, give preference to one another." Even the kiddos.

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Blogger Ibid said...

I don't know what you're talking about. I mean, how great is it that one can "preach the gospel" in the sweet sweet bubble of sterility. This man has lasting vision, which may even endure until all his generation has died out.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blogger Gary Lamb said...

wow, I've never been called a gentleman before. I'm impressed. :)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blogger girlfriday said...

Forgive me, Sir, but aren't you being a tad glib? It's a pretty serious move to forbid children from attending worship, especially when you run the risk of offending your congregants. I would call this a question of Christian liberty, not dogma.

Perhaps girlfriday and Lone Prairie readers would benefit from a serious defense of your church's position.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blogger Gary Lamb said...

A tad glib? I'm not trying to be, I'm just amused by the response.

I have covered this on my blog in the past but I will give you the short here today.

1.) We are all about creating a distraction free worship experience. We feel the message of Jesus is the most important message there is. A child cannot sit through our service. It is to long and they will do as children do and beome restless. They start kicking the chairs in front of them, crying, etc. I can't compete with a crying child or the cuteness of a child. They are the ones getting the attention and not the message that is being taught. We want those who need to hear the message to hear it and not a crying child.

2.) We REFUSE for children to grow up in our church hating church. A child is not going to enjoy our service. They will not understand what I am saying, the service is to long, and we cover topics that they shouldn't hear at times. However we have spent a lot of money, time and staff on creating a worship service geared towards kids on their level where they can love coming to church.

We are a 20 month old church running about 450 people and about 120 kids. We have had one family upset over this policy and they havent' been in a service in months because they stand in the hall outside with their crying child. Why even come if that is the case?

You don't have to agree, we understand that and we also understand that there are other churches out there for those people to attend.

We don't do this because we hate kids, rather we do it because we love them and want them to have a blast learning about God. They are not learning sitting in our adult service coloring a veggie tale picture.

Hope I wasn't to glib for you. :)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blogger Julie said...

I just have one question:

What kind of worship is it that you hope to offer that can only survive when there is no distraction? Is that the sacrifice of praise I hear so much about?

If I can worship God with three screaming toddlers next to me, that's something. Anyone can worship when there are no distractions and everything is pleasant.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

gary lamb...It appears to me your reasonings for "no children" at church are shallow at best. In fact, I find it offensive. Children, sir, are more adept to understanding deep theological matters than adults at times. I've read Charles Spurgeon sermons to my children and they've understood perfectly the gospel. It appears to me you're hiding behind "not having children grow up hating church" as an excuse for your laziness and that of your congregation. Do you think it your decision if children grow up hating church? Or would that decision best be left to God Almight?
I don't find anywhere in the gospel a defense for your position.
With school, day care, sports, and television, one would think Sunday service would be a safe spot for welcomed children no matter the cause.
If I had the time, I would logically argue each of your points. Unfortunately I don't have the time. I will say, having five children of my own, little ones are more than capable of sitting through service.
"I don't compete with crying children"
Pride goeth before the fall, brother! Pride goeth before the fall.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blogger Julie said...

I guess that was two questions.

Sorry. Art major. Trouble counting. But both valid questions.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blogger girlfriday said...

Mr. Lamb: What is the message of Jesus? How broad is it? Does it include Christ's teaching about children?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blogger Sky said...

Our kids sit through worship service and then there is a ten minute break where the kids old enough go to their own Sunday class where they read Bible stories and learn the basics of being a Christian, the tiny can go to nursery if you so desire, I do not and there is a special room for my husband and I to sit in, it's called the Charles Spurgeon Room, here we can take our little ones and sit in the same chairs as in the sactuary and watch the sermon on tv.
I think it is important for our kids to grow up knowing that Faith is a serious lifestyle not something we do for fun or because it makes us feel better.

I wonder how comfortable it was sitting on a hillside listening to Jesus. And I would bet that there were a few babies crying sometimes, and yet He says to bring him the little children.

I have never understood why age is exclusive.

I understood the Gospel when I was three years old. I sat and listened to the sermon because I wanted to. How will we know when our kids are done "having a blast" and ready for real church if we don't show them what real church is?
Telling kids they are not included because they are little is not a great start to raising your child the way he/she should go.

Maybe y'all should sing louder during worship...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blogger Hobster said...

good stuff sky and travelin'. Ms. Neidlinger was absolutely right to title her post as she did, too.

I'm going to skip right over the notion that there's anything that should be preached that kids shouldn't hear. Ditto for the "well, no one's complained" line of reasoning. Fish in barrels and all that.

I would state, unequivocally, that I find this practice abhorrent. A congregation should be one body, not several age-segregated (and why stop with age? Move on to income, education, music preference, preference for the Designated Hitter, etc.). The practice of the Church has always been for all the people to assemble--take a look at Deut. 31, for example. Or Josh 8:35, "There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them." I dare say that Joshua's reading would be longer than many American services, yet there are the little ones attending.

Jesus himself said that from the mouth of nursing babies comes praise for the Lord. Christ and the Psalmist both said that children were capable of praising God. An atmosphere devoid of the praises of God’s lambs cannot properly be called a "worshipful atmosphere" however much we may want it to be one.

God has called us to worship Him in the congregation of His saints. Children are part of that call--if they aren't present, can we truly say we've responded to the call?

One question I have: If one who receives a child in Christ's name receives Christ, what does that suggest about one who shoos off a child in Christ's name?

As a hero of mine once wrote, "Whoever then desires to escape that fearful punishment which Christ denounces, let him stretch out his hand to the little ones who are despised by the world, and let him kindly assist them in keeping the path of duty."

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blogger Briana LeClaire said...

I'm going to throw the Catholic viewpoint into the mix. The Mass is a group sacrifice from beginning to end, and it is proper for children to participate to the extent that they can. To a Catholic, a "no children" worship service is like cutting off part of your body. At St. Mark's (Boise) screaming children are to go to "the bad baby room" (as my older two call it) but then we are to bring them back as soon as they calm down. I have spent months in a row in that room with my son, particularly, but there is a big plate-glass window for seeing and speakers for hearing, so I always felt like I was participating.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Blogger Tracy said...

OK, I know I'm late to this discussion. But I have a unique prospective. I am a Preacher's kid, so I see what Mr. Lamb is talking about. Also, I'm the mother of 3 children under age 9 so I DEFINITELY know the other angle. Our church has a really great answer to this - it meets the requirements of both sides. Up to age 3, the child stays in the nursery/playroom. Ages 4 thru 3rd grade stay upstairs and worship/sing praise songs with the adults then go downstairs for a lesson that is friendly to their age. All children 4th grade and up stay upstairs with their parents through the whole service. This is important - they need to learn to listen to the message from the pastor and behave themselves - and by this age they are capable of doing so. Anyway, there it is - works for us! :) Blessings.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


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