This week at theStory we spent some time talking about children and the role that they have in our community. It’s been something that lays heavily on our hearts because we don’t think that the church in general has been doing a very good job with them and we don’t think we are doing a very good job with them. As it stands right now, children on Sunday mornings are no more than babysat in another room. We want to get away from thinking that the important spiritual formation and the real ‘church’ is happening in the ‘main service’ and start actually looking at children as equal parts in the gathering.
I’m quite fascinated really how the church, since I have been noticing, has dealt and worked alongside of children. It’s basically the opposite of what Jesus has told us. Jesus says that we need to be like little children, yet every church program there is somehow manages to put children through a system to make them more like us. Jesus says that the secrets of the kingdom are given to little children, yet we run things as if we have secrets to tell them. He tells us that unless we change and become like children we will never enter the kingdom of heaven, but we’d rather discipline and make the children to ‘adult things’ at their own level. There is something that Jesus keeps bringing us back to in seeing something special in children, yet we seem to brush it off or use it as a sermon illustration instead.
I wrote a post a few days ago wondering what it would be like if children were considered more important than adults on a Sunday morning. What if church was about having the adults teach the children instead of getting the children out of the way so the adults could learn? I don’t think something like this could ever happen until we start to change our theology towards them. Unless we actually believe that they have something to offer a community besides ‘aw ain’t that cute’ moments then I have a feeling understanding the kingdom of God is going to be quite tough. Why do we think that a pastor has a better ‘understanding’ about the kingdom than a child? Why have we elevated teachers above children?
I am still struggling to see what this balance will look like. We’ll be meeting once a month with different people from theStory who are going to be part of involving the kids in what we are doing and involving us in what the kids are doing. So I am praying that out of this come a new understanding of children and what they can offer a church community.