Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” Luke 9:48
I know the company line is that American churches love children. That’s why we have such amazing Children’s Ministry Departments. I’m not sure I buy it 100%, though. In many churches, I get the sense that children are a requirement – something you have to do to keep the parents happy – instead of a ministry.
What if churches viewed children as a vibrant part of the community of faith instead of a distraction from the worship service?
I ask this out of my own experience. Last night, as I was listening to the message at church, someone’s young child kept cooing behind me. I thought to myself, “Don’t they know there’s a nursery? It’s well-staffed. Couldn’t they at least take the kid into the foyer area? That way I could hear what the preacher is talking about. Can we just get rid of that distraction?”
But what if that child wasn’t a distraction? After all, that child is loved by the Father. What if that child needed to be loved by the people in “big church”? What if we’re viewing children’s ministry and church in general all wrong?
Of course, if we really treated the children as active members of the community of faith, central to why we’re gathered as believers, things would be quite different on a Sunday morning, wouldn’t they? It would get a little messy. And it would definitely be louder.
And maybe that’s OK.