In addition to my position in the Education Department at Calvin, for the last 14 years my wife and I have also directed children’s ministries at our church, a job which has some real benefits. We get to know some children over the course of a number of years so that now, kids who are graduating from college were in our programs since 2nd grade. We get to see kids go from being held in their parents’ arms at baptism to participating in children’s worship and Sunday School, to being active members of our worshipping communities. In addition, many of them help out in our programs as leaders or teachers passing on some of the things they learned from their teachers. It’s a real gift for us to have been in this church for so long in this position.
But, church staff positions are draining and, because we have a staff position the church has left it up to us to fit vacations in. We’re not very good at that and so, consequently, over the past 14 years we’ve missed probably less than 20 Sundays, and even when we’ve missed we’ve often made sure that things are covered.
This summer, however, we asked the church council for two months with no responsibilities for refection and renewal, which they granted us. Today marks the first Sunday. It is wonderful. We went and visited another church with quite a different worship style and – here’s the best part – got there just in time for the service and left right afterward! We didn't have to plan for the day, nor did we have to put in extra hours thinking about the service ahead of time. Amazing.
We haven’t turned off our brains however and spent a good hour debriefing on the service we attended afterward. We have been challenged to think about how children fit into worship at a church with a very contemporary style – this isn’t clear to us at this point. We know that the church we visited has some active programs for children but when there is a contemporary service, very slick and professionally presented with few of the trappings of traditional church, is there a place for children to be included? They can watch and sing along but is there more to it than that?
A new thing
11 months ago