Friday, April 12, 2013

Parenting and Worship

When our children were old enough to go to “big church” it was important that they sit with me instead of with their friends…..their friends were MORE than welcome to sit with us but I needed/wanted to know what they were doing (or were not doing) in church.  I could do this since I was/am not a “good” pastor’s wife because I don’t play the piano and I do not sing in the choir or praise team!  Shocker I know!! 
Anyway… you, It was SO important to us that they LOVE going to church….we wanted it to be a good and fun experience for them.  At the same time, it was also important for them to be respectful to God and others and learn to worship well, so they needed to be quiet and still. 

How in the world was I going to teach them that?  I was not taught that as a child….I did not grow up going to church….how in the world was I going to impart a love for the Church and for worship?  How was I to keep youngsters still and quiet and engaged and love going to church and still be able to worship and listen and learn myself?  Not an easy feat that is for sure!! 
Through prayer and the power and grace of God that is how!!  By me modeling a love for Christ and the Church and worship before them!  What a responsibility!!  And, to be honest, I failed a lot!!
There were Sundays when I just did not "feel" like going to church!  (Surely I am not the only PW who has not wanted to go to church...?)  I wanted to stay at home in my pj's and read the newspaper or something....anything....but go to church!!  Then I would remember.....this is all much bigger than me!!!  There are little eyes watching and little ears listening.....My choices set precedences that might just affect generations to come and "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"  What kind of legacy will I leave behind? 
On a side note, We would say, "We get to go to church!" instead of "We have to go to church."
Like many of you I would have paper and pen ready!  (There is just something super fun to a little one about getting to use a pen instead of a crayon J!)  The hard part was having something for them to do that a) would not involve the loud noise of rustling paper and b) keep them engaged in what was going on.

Recently, our church stopped having children’s church and so we now give out fun bags to all school aged children as they come into “big” church that has lots of fun things for them to do in it….much of it dealing with what they hear and/or see in church.  When church is over, they keep whatever paper/activity they used and leave the bag at the welcome center.  It’s a great idea!!  Each week they might get a different bag. 
One of my favorite memories of having the kids sit with me at church was during the offering.  At that time we received the offering right before the sermon and I would always lean over and pray with my kids for their dad right before he was to preach.  Sweet times!!

There were many times when they did not behave in church….and there would be consequences.  At the same time, when they were great…..we would oooohhhh and aaaahhhh over their behavior to reinforce positive expectations.  The precedent principle came into play (see previous post)!!
Parenting in the ministry is hard.  Many children who are raised in ministers homes leave the church….the statistics are staggering…..and fearful.  We need each other.  We need God!

What tips, ideas, suggestions do you have?  If you are singing or playing an instrument during church how do you "deal" with your children?

Oh Father, we confess that we are incapable of so much!!  We ask for Your wisdom as we parent our children.  You are able and we are weak.  Please wrap Your arms around the mom reading this whose heart is broken over her child.  Pour out Your love upon her.  I stand against the enemy who would cause us to want to give up or be discouraged or defeated.  We desire for Godly kids who love You with all of their heart and soul and mind and strength….give us the grace to parent well.  In Jesus’ name….amen!!

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