Luke 18:15-17 “People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. ‘Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.’”
Last summer I had the opportunity to visit a very large, very contemporary church. It was a dazzling experience. There was a Starbucks located right in the lobby (yes, it had a lobby!), they had a book store, and a childcare center that looked like a theme park complete with a two-story slide. I have no doubt that they also had a wonderful program for the children who attended.
The church I serve would probably fit into the lobby of that big church, even with the Starbucks! We often have coffee but we don’t have a two-story slide. In fact, we don’t have separate childcare. Babies, toddlers, and kiddos of all ages worship alongside the tweens, teens, young adults, middle-aged, and seniors. We experimented, over the years, with different childcare options like a nursery or Children’s Church program. However, that was never a comfortable “fit” for us. We like to have our children in worship. Yes, it is occasionally a bit distracting when a wee worshiper is displeased, and not everyone loves the arrangement. Yet, we have prayerfully decided that this is what fits us best and the joys have far outweighed the occasional distractions.
We have a young man in our church who is getting ready to enter middle school. He has been attending worship with his family since shortly after he was born. His grandmother serves as an usher and as soon as Max could walk, he started accompanying his grandmother, holding her hand as she took up the offering. One Sunday morning I invited the ushers to come forward, as always, and Max, as always, made his way into the aisle. Not realizing that his grandmother wasn’t there, he found himself standing in the aisle looking up at the other faces. Not seeing her, he paused for just a minute and then he took hold of the hand of one of other the other ladies, who beamed with delight, and together they did what they do every Sunday, they took up the offering. It was a beautiful thing.
We don’t have a two-story slide or a separate child care program. We do have “Wiggle Bags” to keep little ones busy, we do have a weekly Children’s Message that is fun and interactive, and best of all, we do have a church family that loves, supports, and helps guide and care for each tiny brother or sister in Christ. So, it doesn’t matter if your church is big or small or in between, what matters is that you find what fits for your congregation because even in worship, one size just does not fit all.