My Kids and Church

Be warned, this post may offend some people that I love, but this is my blog, and I need to get this off my chest. And I need some advice, so I’m hoping that y’all will chime in with some words of wisdom for me.

My issue is with my kids and church. I love our church. Please, don’t anyone think otherwise. If it hadn’t been for our church, I wouldn’t have gotten saved or committed my life to serving Christ. I know that. And I love the members of our church. Of all the churches I have attended, I have never met so many people that truly care about the other members. The way they band together in times of trouble is amazing. And our church is the most praying church I have ever seen. When someone says that they are praying for you, you know that it’s true. I love our church. I am blessed to be a part of it.

That being said, here’s where I’m struggling: Our church doesn’t really have any children’s ministries. They never have. The members don’t want it.

After we moved here in September of ’07, the Pastor and I talked at length about starting a nursery during the morning worship service. They had tried in the past, but no one would help staff it, so they gave up. The preacher warned me that I would be doing it alone, and the members probably wouldn’t like it.

He was right. I have done it alone and faithfully since then, missing only times when we were out of town, there was a special service, one of the kids were sick, or when Parker was born and had to be kept home for 30 days. Other than that, I have been faithfully teaching the children that come to my class. Which, right now, are my children (Jace, Lucy, and Parker), and one other child – who is just like another child of mine. The other members of the church will not bring their children down to me, and it’s hard not to be offended. But, I’m not giving up. I will still teach the Word on a level that the children will understand. We sing songs, play games, have a Bible lesson, an art project, and we learn a Bible verse. Every week. Granted, most weeks, *I’m* the one learning something, but I love teaching these kids, and I know that this is what God wants me to do.

My problem really lies in the Sunday Night and Wednesday Night services. (Yes, we’re in church all the time. If the doors are open, we are there.) You would think that because we are at church all.the.time that my children would know how to sit and listen. But, no. It seems that every week, I am getting up and walking out of the service. And what is that teaching my kids? Hey, if I scream loud enough, Mom will take me to the nursery.

I need fed. *I* need to hear the word of God, and I need to feel the Spirit just like every other member of our church gets to. But I just can’t do it with my kids. I don’t know how to make them behave. Parker is just a baby. He cannot be expected to sit and behave the way I expect Zander to behave. I understand that.

We need a nursery for every service. But we need more willing ladies in our church who see the importance of a Children’s Ministry. I can’t do it all on my own. If I am constantly giving, and not being fed myself, I will burn out. I won’t be of any use to the children, or to anyone for that matter. I would gladly start a nursery on Sunday nights if I knew that I could write up a schedule and have that schedule followed. But, the women of our church don’t want to staff a nursery. And I just don’t get it.

Now, I will say that there is one lady to whom this post does not apply. She has taught Sunday school for years, takes care of the nursery on Wednesday nights during the school year, and has helped me out many times. She has held Parker, screaming at the top of his lungs, so that I could go to Sunday School or teach my Wednesday Night Class. She knows who she is, and she’d better know how much I love and appreciate her.

But, what can I do? I get so embarrassed when my kids start acting up in church. Sure, the members say that they didn’t even notice, but I know they have to. I notice when other peoples’ kids act up. (And I secretly thank God for not letting my kids be the only noisy kids in church!)

In all honesty, I am terrified that I’m going to go to heaven and God is going to say, “Angie, I want you to know that because you couldn’t control your children, this person got offended and never came back to church. Because of you, they never accepted me as their Savior and they are spending eternity in Hell.” Now, will that happen? I don’t know, but I certainly don’t want to find out. I don’t want to be the woman whose child hindered someone from hearing the Word of God.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you in a small church with no children’s ministry? How do you handle it? Will I survive my stage? Will my kids survive this stage? I would love any tips or suggestions you all may have. Giving up is not an option, though, so don’t suggest that we wait until they’re older. It’s not gonna happen.

Angie Vinez (2894 Posts)

Angie is a wife and mother to 8. Her life revolves around cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. She is passionate about her life in Christ and wants to encourage other mothers in their own walk of faith. Angie is active on many social media networks, loves technology, photography, and graphic design, and loves creating blog designs for other mom bloggers.



Comments

  1. 1
    Connie Walsh says:

    Wow that is tough!! WOW!!!

    Why is it that they don't want a childrens ministry? It seems like a fear thing to me. Fear of abuse, Fear of letting others influence their children. I don't know. I hope some members of your church read your impassioned plea and are able to see your side, and maybe help.

  2. 2
    Mamatoosi says:

    Hi Angie,

    That is tough. Our church does have a day care and kids ministry, but I still know what you mean about YOU needing to be fed. My son is 2.5 and is still scared to be left in the day care, so he either comes with us to "big" church or either I or my husband have to stay with him in the nursery and help out. We have friends that do the same thing. They take turns so that they each get a chance to get "fed." Does your church have a website? Our church records (audio) the service and posts it on their website so that anyone can hear the service from a computer. I love that for when I miss a service! Does your church have the capability of doing that?

    I know it's not the same as listening to your own pastor and hearing what you're used to hearing, but if you are interested, here is the link to the audio for the sermons at our church.

    http://theshoreline.org/content.aspx?id=308

    I hope everything works out and I will keep you and your church in my prayers.

    P.S. Just my opinion, but I think if someone leaves a church because of noisy children, then their heart wasn't yet ready to HEAR. I think you're good in God's book. 😉 Don't forget Matthew 19:13-15.

    God Bless,
    Erin

  3. 3
    Gina Walczak says:

    There is now way in the world you need to worry about offending anyone. You need to be faithful to your children and faithful to God. If someone gets offended, that's something they have to deal with. I know it's no fun to have your children act up in church or anywhere else. But God welcomes children in church. That's where they need to be. You and your children will all live through this and you will all be better for it. I know it's a struggle for you and probably stressful. But if nobody else wants to help with childcare, there isn't much else you can do. Just keep taking your kids to those other services and keep getting fed yourself.

    I'm sad for you that the others in your church aren't interested in having children's ministry, but I know in my heart that God is smiling down on you for being faithful and being there to worship and be fed.

  4. 4
    Becky Wood says:

    Did your Pastor give you a reason why he did not want a nursery/childrens church? Is it just that other ladies do not want to help? I dare say that your church, no matter how wonderful it is, will not draw other young families and will not grow. They will feel, as you do, that they are not wanted and will not feel loved or that the people of your church are compassionate. Young children can learn to sit but not overnight and not all at once with others who are learning as well. You usually have to "divide and conquer" so that they are not feeding off of each other. Is your husband able to sit with you in church? You will not be able to do this alone. You can only remove one chld at a time for correction purposes anyway. "Making the best of it" is not really a good option. Taking a coloring book and colored pencils along or a few books for looking at may sometimes help. Often, "practicing" a quiet time of 30 min. at home on a regular basis will help them to be able to sit during the service. Eventually you will only have to concern yourself with the baby, which is hard enough. Another thought, can you get your pastors messages on a CD or tape? You could listen to them at home, without your children, and "be fed" from the Word. You could listen with your children so they can "practice" their quiet time. These are lessons in respect as well as obedience. When Carl and I moved to North Myrtle Beach to plant a new church, we were the only people with kids, 4 yr., 3 yr. and newborn. It was hard at first but people are very forgiving when they realize that there is no place for them to go. I truly understand your difficulty. The ladies in your church may have all raised their children "in the service" and don't see it as an issue. Other young families will see it as a problem and will not come. The best to you and your family.
    Becky Wood

  5. 5

    I don't go to church anymore- haven't since I was 10, but that's another story. Do you think a teenager in the church might be willing to babysit some of the kids during services? Do you think you could hire a sitter to watch just your kids while you attend mass by yourself, or even if the sitter attends with you?

    It seems ridiculous that a church would not accommodate a family, but what do I know. Again, I won't get into the reasons I won't go to church, but it would seem that if they wanted to boost their membership there are a lot of things they could do differently across the board!

  6. 6

    My prayers and best wishes to you, Angie as you try to find balance and clarity in a tough situation.
    Yes, all of you, including both you and your children will survive this incredibly demanding age but you know that having a teen. Can you alternate weekends with the other parents of the child who attends Sunday School? Or any young adults who are interested in teaching and helping out? I respect and applaud that you need your "fill" of the Word to keep whole and maybe you can find someone to watch the children so you can attend alone sometime? I don't have a solution, just my sincere prayers it all works out. Good luck, Angie, thanks for sharing, please keep us posted.

  7. 7
    Susan M. Heim says:

    Our church sounds a lot like yours — very loving, supportive, wonderful — except that we DO have a very strong children's program with Sunday school, nursery, even a Sunday class for teens and a youth group. I'm really puzzled as to why the people at your church are so resistant to this. With this type of program, the kids get to learn about God's love at their level, and the parents can spend time with Christ in church without being distracted by their children's (completely natural) misbehavior. This might sound a little scary, but would you be willing to get in front of the church some Sunday and explain your thinking to the congregation? You could give feedback like what I've just given about other churches, offer to organize as long as you have the help, and really just explain how you want your church to grow and meet the needs of all of its members. It's wonderful if kids can attend church with their parents and have it be a meaningful experience, but when that's not possible (which it rarely is with young children), I think that every possible accommodation should be made to help these families. I really feel that a strong children's program is essential to the growth of a church. I'm sure you've lost many members who have gone to churches with those types of programs. You're in the right, so keep praying about it and reaching out with your message.

  8. 8
    The Sartori's says:

    At my church there is no nursery offered during the first hour, church is three hours long. During the second and third hour it is only for children 18 months and older until age 3 when they start primary.
    The first hour is the most important, that is when we take the sacrament. I have to plan very far ahead with things to keep Boston busy. We have a million quiet bible/church books for him to read. He also has felt bible characters that stick the back of the pew in front of us. Even then, it is still hard to keep him quiet. When we do have to take him out there is no playing. There is sitting in a chair having a serious talk about Christ and reverence in an empty class room. This doesn't always make a difference.
    There are many times when I feel it is pointless to even go, that I am not getting anything out of it and I am just disturbing others. However, there are blessings in the very act of obedience of going. Plus we are teaching our children the importance of going no matter how hard it is.

    We both teach as well and are lucky that we can tag team. Boston is in nursery for the last two hours. Andy teaches adult sunday school during the second and I teach the teenage girls the third so we take turns with Scarlett. I feel your frustration. Is is so hard and often times I don't feel fed enough just because I couldn't listen as much as I like to. I do have a testimony though that just going will bless us in the end. We will see the fruits of our labors in our children, not today or tomorrow but in the people they become. I have to believe that even when Boston acts rotten now, I am teaching him to become the man the Lord wants.
    So there is my ridiculous novel. Good luck. We will be praying for you.

  9. 9

    Well, I come from a bit of a different perspective in that I think it is a benefit to have the children in church even when they are being difficult. We do not have a nursery for young children during Mass. But I think having them there from the time they are tiny helps them learn how to behave and the importance of being there over time. We have many large families in our church and it is amazing to see a family with even 8, 9, 10 children able to keep them all there, except perhaps for the baby or toddler that needs nursed, changed, or quieted.

    I know how hard it is, believe me. Joey and Lauren were always pretty good, but Alec and Kyle were more difficult. I remember being fat pregnant with Kyle and having to take Alec to the back of church and stand there holding him. The same for Kyle when I was pregnant with Lauren. Some Sundays I have felt like I have barely been to Mass. When they misbehaved, I would take them out and issue a correction, then bring them back in. I didn't want to make it play time because then it would seem like a reward for bad behavior. But they all seemed to get to a point where their behavior significantly began to improve and now I have few problems with any of them.

    As some have already said, God understands the plight of the mother, especially one of many children. You have done His Will by bringing them into this world, and I believe we are blessed for that. I believe we earn graces when we endure trials for His sake. He knows you are there, He knows your heart. He knows you are raising your children for Him. That is what's most important.

    I think recording the sermons is a good idea. Talk to your pastor about setting that up. You never know, there may be others who would like that, too, but haven't thought of it or brought it up.

    Hang in there, sweetie!

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