I was thinking last night about the next generation, about the world they are growing up in. I was thinking about the family and how for all the church (and I'm speaking of The Body of Christ not a denomination ) rants about how important family is- they certainly like to divide the family up in to little pieces on Sunday mornings.
We believe our family is supposed to, at this point, be together on Sunday mornings. But church to our children at their little ages: is being held or shhhed through a bunch of "boring" (to them?) worship songs. And then herded off to a small room with a TV. They play with their toys and are frustrated and confused because Mommmie and Daddy don't play very well. They aren't doing any thing else important (not cleaning, or cooking, or using the potty- what gives?)...They are just staring at a fuzzy screen and distractedly handing us stuff and are frankly, acting bit grumpy. They also keep asking "did you hear what he said there?" or some thing equally confusing. And it's stressful and dull and painfully boring- especially for our extroverted 2 year old.
If I was 2.5 and 13mos I'd be screaming too. I wanted to scream on Sunday. It just feels so wrong and dumb, and pointless. And yet, we have a conviction that we're supposed to be at our church. This is where we're supposed to fellowship. But some thing in our church is broken. And we can leave it broken, or we could use our heads and have open hearts to being the solution.
We're still praying about this, we haven't talked to our pastor yet, I'm sharing this partially in faith, and partially to process. Last night I think I saw a pretty clear idea of what we're supposed to do. We need to meet a need in our family, and we need to bless the families in our church.
So we're praying about starting a pre-school class. As much as I dislike children's church, we need to take this step. I feel like it's just one itty bitty step towards what we'd like to see happen down the road.
We're going to take on the preschoolers (there are only a little over a handful) and see how the ideas, principles and dreams we have for a future "Family Service" would work out. I want to teach littles how to worship: REALLY worship. Not just sing silly songs, but teach them who the Holy Spirit is...Teach them how to pray, how to pray for each other, how to hear His voice. Teach them real Bible stories (We'd also be using "What's In The Bible?" DVDs).
Eventually, maybe, this would spread to the rest of the church. Have a "Family Service" before the regular service where we'd have a really active, busy kid oriented (but REAL) worship time, and then take time for parents to lay hands on their kids and pray over them, for kids to pray for their parents, we'd "break bread" together: pass out snacks for the kids while we share the message...It might not be perfectly quiet, there might be some big distractions. But working with the kids, keeping it real, real meat, and not one person talking while every one sits and is quiet...But kid asking questions, parents too: an open dialogue. Working with in what is LIFE as a family. Studying grace and how it works through out life, through out our relationships with each other. Just a real time for families to reconnect and FELLOWSHIP. It would probably be more like a giant, kind of crazy, small group time than a "service"...But THAT is what this generation needs to see: it's about relationship- not services and rituals. It's about fellowship and sharing in The Word. That is what church needs to be to this generation. Because it's the only way they are going to reach their un-churched peers...Seeing church, fellowship, as LIFE, not a place and a time, but LIFE.
She really has quite a beautiful REAL smile- we call this her cheesey grin...She puts it on to be extra silly!