I don't know how it happened. I have some good guesses below which will not change the tragic results. We Protestant Evangelicals have created a chasm between ourselves and our children in worship. Someone, I don't know who, invented children's church, and that's the last we've seen of our children during Sunday morning services- Poof!, and the wonder in the eyes of a child was stripped from the worship experience altogether.
Is it because children are no longer capable of comprehending the Gospel? Do children of this new generation require things particularly tailored to them?
Or is it because parents no longer know how to parent in the church setting?
Have churches become distracted and annoyed by young ones during the "real" action of the service?
All I know for sure is that I miss little voices singing in sincerity and the conviction of youth when I attend church.
And I want them back.
I've had folks who believe the same way ask, "There are plenty of churches who do welcome children into liturgy. Why not find one and stop whining?" The answer is simple- I am called at this time to the Protestant Evangelical Church, with all its beauty and weakness. If it's not heresy to quote Ghandi for Christian purposes, I intend "to be the change I wish to see."
Last night, our church hosted an uncommon event. We worshipped intentionally as a families. One gifted family made up the music team- two beautiful daughters and a mom on vocals, dad leading, son on guitar. That entire family whole-heartedly sang, but the confident and cute-as-a-button six year old at the microphone melted me.'
My entire family danced something I choreographed to a Mercy Me song. I simply asked my household to consider the dance as an offering to an audience of One though we were to dance in front of quite a crowd. Tater, a self conscious tween, refused at first. I wasn't about to require a gift of worship from any family member. However, he came to me after careful consideration and prayer and said, "Though I might feel embarrassed, it's something I feel I am supposed to do." That was a moment with Tater I wouldn't trade for the world, my friends.''
The service provided built in silent contemplative listening time complete with journals, crayons and pencils. We considered scripture together in small groups, and ended with active, flag waving worship at the end. You might find this irreverent, but I didn't- Wise One and a buddy threw down some guitar hero moves as they enjoyed God and the music.
Afterwards, I thought aloud, "That is church!" My congregation plans to do this another time in the next year. Perhaps it's the start to the change I hope to be.
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