It seems one of the toughest questions in the emerging missional church scene (there has to be a quicker way to say that!) is the ‘what do we do with the kids?’ issue.
Obviously they are part of who we are and what we do, but certainly for us at this point they have been neither seen nor heard, most of the time. We have recognised the issue, but have needed to do some other stuff before hitting this question.
Last week we formed a small team to look at the subject and then come back to the group with their suggestions and ideas for how we integrate children into what we do as a team.
Its a question fraught with difficulties because whatever we choose to do means we will compromise on something else.
We need to approach the question both biblically – (what do the scriptures say about children and family worship?) – and culturally – (what is appopriate in the setting we find ourselves in?)
Essentially it becomes a values question. What is important to us?
* Do we value the presence of children more than their separation from us during times of worship and learning?
* What degree of personal dissatisfaction with worship and learning experiences are we prepared to have in order to have them present? (Because once kids are in the room they will demand attention!)
* If we don’t have them present, but have a separate activity for them does it say we don’t value them, or does that say we recognise that different groups have different needs and not all can be met in one setting?
* And as a missionary team, how do we integrate kids into the missionary experience and not just a worship gathering?
One of the first issues is that Tuesday night is a lousy time to try and integrate kids. Lets face it – we are all tired in the evenings as it is – but the kids go to sleep as we start or they get grumpy…
So, when could we do stuff to integrate kids?
Ummmm… Saturday or Sunday?… (You can see where this is headed!…)
And then we slice into prime time for hanging with friends and neighbours. That concerns me as I use both mornings as prime connecting time.
Can you sense the tension of the whole question?
How do we remain true to the missionary calling, yet incorporate the whole family in effective ways?
Its easy to see why so much of the EMC has been for singles and gen xers who don’t (yet) have the kids question. Its also easy to see why the established church has formed up the way it has. Practical issues shatter brittle idealism and force us to practical solutions – even if we don’t always like the solutions.
At the end of the day we must balance what is ‘right’ with what is ‘practical’… and then accept the limitations of any decision we make.
I don’t like that…botched dvdrip