November 1, 2016
You know what this looks like. At some point, early in the Sunday Worship Service, the children are called up front. They sit on the floor while the pastor or a Sunday School teacher share a short "object lesson" with them. Then, they are dismissed to go to Sunday School. While the adult doing the teaching is certainly well intentioned, there are three things about Children's Church that make me sad...
- The lesson is taking place in a church building instead of the home. In the majority of the families represented, there is little or no spiritual training at home. ("We bring them to church for that.") Compare with Deut. 6:6-9.
- The lesson is being taught by some adult other than each child's parent. Again, in many of the homes, the parents feel ill equipped to train their children. ("That's what we pay the pastor (or youth group leader) to do.") Compare with Eph. 6:4.
- The impact on the children is generally superficial. Lecture (telling) is the least effective method of learning. True for both children and adults. And, in general, the typical children's programs and youth programs are proving to be ineffective in the long run. How do we know this? Because so many youth are leaving the church after high school years.
By way of contrast, I want to share with you a text I received last weekend from Jim and Cathy Mellon who are leading a Church 101 group with three couples in Texas. These couples are implementing what they are learning (like "checking in with SASHET") with their children in their home. Here's the text...
- "(Our son) wasn't feeling well on Sunday, so we stayed home from church and did home church as a family. To hear our kids SASHET was both shocking and beautiful. We were able to talk through some things as a family and it was a beautifully orchestrated God thing!! So glad to have met you guys and share life with y'all"
There is an alternative to Children's Church! Spread the word.