"Four Reasons I Like Family Sunday..."
1 To define the role of Children in Worship – If the only time the kids are invited into the sanctuary is to perform; we send them, and us, the wrong message. They are cute. They are performers. Everyone likes to “see” them. Everyone wants them on stage. But children are much more than that. They are active, vital, necessary members of the body of Christ. If they are only invited into worship to “perform” then guess what worship/church becomes for them? A performance. And when they get tired of performing or they aren’t cute anymore, they move on to bigger and better things. I want my kids to always be a part of the church.
2 To define the role of the Children’s Pastor – Many or most who work in Children’s ministry, rarely spend much time in “big church.” Their role is unseen; serving downstairs or upstairs making sure children are loved, rooms are covered, volunteers are appreciated, parents are affirmed, janitors are appeased, visitors are welcomed, and families are encouraged. But the only time a children’s minister is seen in church is when she brings the children up to put on a show. It creates a very limited view of who our children’s ministers are. Whether that is the Pastor or one of the many helpers who make Kid’s Cove a possibility each week.
3 To define the role of the Congregation – When the children perform, all the feelings are there! The kids are sweet and cute and the church loves to see them in church. But it is a passive reception; the kids give, the church receives. There are no active, ongoing relationships. Many don’t even know the children’s names. They are the “girl in the angel costume that sang so beautifully” and the “boy in the tie who ran around.” It creates an environment of “us” and “them” and when the performance is over, everyone returns to their posts. However when we turn and pray a Family Blessing over that family…something happens. We as a congregation begin to develop relationships with the children and their families.
4 To define who is and who is not “the Church” This is the same reason I despise the term “big church.” There isn’t a big church and little church in God’s kingdom. There’s just church. We, all of us, old, young and in-between, are all members of God’s body, part of the Church, His Bride. We affirm this at salvation, at baptism, at dedication. The whole congregation commits to being one body. And then, we go our separate ways, big and little, for the year, or until it’s time to perform again. Family Sunday helps to eliminate this mindset from everyone.
Can’t I stay away the first Sunday of every month?
Well, I hope not. I really pray that you’ll understand why we are making some changes to the first Sunday of each month and that Family Blessing Sunday is really important. For this reason you will find that we are going to try and make Family Sunday more like a regular service and less like Sunday School. The idea is to be godly not goofy!
Let’s start making the children part of the larger corporate worship more frequently, giving them a name and voice and relationships rather than just being cute and adorable. They will be given a role in reading scripture, helping with communion or collections and most importantly expected to worship alongside the church body.
I mean, let’s face it, Christmas programs are in and of themselves not the issue. They are part of the regular church experience and, come on, the kids are really cute!
But if that’s all they are, if that is the only time they are seen and the only role they fill, then Christmas programs are the issue. If that’s the only time the children’s minister is a part of corporate worship, it’s an issue. If a culture of “us” and “them” is perpetuated or if children are guests in the service rather than family at the table, then it’s an issue.
Christmas is a time we celebrate Love coming to earth…as a child. Our programming, no matter how cute or adorable it is, should be a continuation of that story through the community and family that is the church. We believe Family Sunday is vitally important in moving the whole church forward. We hope you’ll join with us.
- Pastor Rob Slote
(Material taken from Refocus Ministries)