I really know the value of bringing kids to church. It was a real battle when my own were little, but we can’t underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit working in hearts and minds from early on. Through their baptism, that power has been unleashed, preparing our children for life.
When Jesus’ disciples tried to dismiss the children from the large crowd, Jesus rebuked and reminded them that His kingdom consisted of those with a childlike faith. Kids believe without hesitation – accept with open minds – come with no preconceived ideas or years of theological study.
Looking back, it wasn’t easy getting three kids ready for church. They complained, many times refused, would much rather crawl back into their warm beds and preferred to watch Sunday morning cartoons – but we went to church. It was simply a part of their childhood.
Once there, we faced short attention spans, fidgeting, teasing each other, not paying attention and trying to discretely open a bag of Cheerios to satisfy them for a while. Sometimes their loud singing brought stares. There were several trips to the restroom to review the rules and talk about behavior. I felt all eyes follow as we took one after the other out.
One Sunday our precocious third child coaxed a piece of chewing gum from the boy sitting in front of us. She literally retrieved it from his mouth! The poor little guy asked his dad for another piece and was told that if he swallowed it, he couldn’t have anymore. Of course we explained after church, but it was one of those moments I wanted to crawl in a hole.
Most of the time we picked up smidgeons of the sermon, but I often wondered if it was serving any purpose to bring them to church every week. In those moments I was underestimating the power of the Holy Spirit. Not only was He working in the hearts and minds of my children, He was doing so in me as well.
His house is the perfect place to bring our families to be fed, even though we don’t see immediate results. We’re demonstrating to them the respect and honor due our God through worship, praise and prayers. Kids may not be big enough to see over the pew, but they can see us. God loves children just as He loves all those who come to Him. He is the best thing we can give to these precious little lambs.