Pastor's Note | Saturday, March 22nd7
Our 3 year old, Moses, is on our church campus at least three times each week: Sunday mornings for worship, Wednesday mornings for Mom's Connect, and Wednesday evenings for Small Group. That probably won't set any records for a child's involvement in their faith communities, though it's enough for him to feel at home while he's here.
Cassie and I take great joy when we see him interact with others - especially with adults. It's so meaningful for us to be a part of a community that takes seriously Jesus' welcome of children. Recall His bold invitation, in a culture where children were not held in high esteem or welcomed:
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
But something Moses said last week, while we were on our way to church, has stuck with me. And not in a good way.
As we were getting in the car, setting Zoe's seat securely in place, getting Moses strapped into his "big boy chair," and making sure we had enough diapers for the excursion (!), Moses said, regarding church (and I quote),
Mama and Dada has to go to their friends. And Moses has to go to his friends.
Then he said it again.
And, he repeated it again this week, as we drove to our Wednesday evening small group meeting.
Now, before I go any further, let me be clear: I don't think my son is necessarily lamenting that he has to go see his friends. He has a great time seeing and playing with friends and babysitters! But, for just a moment, I'd like us to ask ourselves, does that statement, albeit by a mere Toddler, tell us something about church?
It was years ago at Fuller Theological Seminary that, almost as a passing remark, Dr. Eddie Gibbs, esteemed professor of ecclesiology (church studies) stated,
The American church has done more to divide families than any other institution.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. The lecture went on, but that one sentence just played over and over in my head. And continues to today.
Now, we could debate with Dr. Gibbs' whether that's 100% true. I happen to think it just might be. Think about it: Where else do families go, then completely separate, each going their own direction?!
That said, to debate the statistical truth of Eddie's statement would miss the point. Because prophetic statements communicate something more than can be understood via statistics. Perhaps the point was communicated just as clearly by my 3 year old:
Mama and Dada has to go to their friends. And Moses has to go to his friends.
Of course, there's a time and a place for adults to be with adults, for students to be with students, and for children to be with children. But perhaps there should be other times when we all stay together.
My hope is that Sunday, March 30th will be one of those times. On that day, Good Shepherd will offer two identical worship gatherings, each with the choir and praise band (yes, ear plugs will be available - though I don't think you'll need them!). Our nursery and 2/3 room will be available, but kids ages 4 and up will remain in the gathering for its entirety.
We're working very hard to try make this as meaningful as possible for all those involved, and believe that this "family reunion" will be a great joy for all in attendance. I hope you'll be able to attend!
This week, Friday, March 21st, was the anniversary of my ordination and installation service years ago. I was reminded of the date when I ran across a copy of the bulletin on my computer. I'd forgotten that the postlude was Al Green's Let's Stay Together!
Let's stay together next Sunday, March 30th, and as we continue our journey of faith together.
Let's continue to welcome the little children, as our Lord welcomed them.
And let's continue to be and become a place that fosters intergenerational relationships, so that my Toddler can instead come up with things like,
Moses has to go to his friends, and his friends are same friends as Mama and Dada's friends!
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Aunt Marsha Mar 25, 2014 @ 1:27 pm
This is great, Curtis. Long ago I attended a Mormon service with a friend. It was full of families...all ages gathered together.....toddlers walking around and babies crying. I have never forgotten it. It was wonderful. Have fun!
Diana Brett Mar 24, 2014 @ 3:39 pm
Great idea - lets break down those generational "walls", and have an old-fashioned family reunion!!!
Magaly Rodriguez Mar 23, 2014 @ 6:28 pm
I love the idea of having services together. I always enjoy small children's display of joy, surprise, etc. during services.
Praise the Lord and AAAAAmen Mar 22, 2014 @ 3:33 pm
I am excited with this new experiment. But I would love to go a little farther and have only one service on that day so we could really mix. On the 30th we are exposing our people to both kinds of worship but those who come to first will come to first and those who come to second will come to second. I know it will be crowed but we can always put chairs down the isle. It's hard to get the older and younger group together. We have some activities that include both groups but it is usually a service not fellowship. I'm not sure how to do this but would love to be on a group to think of ways. About the children being in church "Love the idea" Thank you for trying to begin a way to make us a family. In God's love, Donna Livingston
Marilyn Kane Mar 22, 2014 @ 2:20 pm
just wanted you to know I have finally found the newsletter from the church. It is now in Promotions. You must be selling something.
Anna Abell Mar 22, 2014 @ 12:59 pm
Curtis.........out of the mouths of babes..........I really agree with your thoughts and am praying for the 30th to be exciting and filled with God's blessing in every way, as we worship as a family. Let's hear it for intergenerational worship!!
Debra Knutzen Mar 22, 2014 @ 11:22 am
Great Idea. Some of my best times in church as a small child was talking to God. My parents told me that I had to listen very closely for God to answer in my head and that my conscience(heart) would tell me if its was truly him.