Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday Devotion: "Ain't Misbehavin'"

Luke 18:16-17 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. NIV

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

So, I'm supposed to be sleeping right now, getting enough solace and rest to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the morning worship service. Instead, it's the wee small hours of the morning and I'm checking through the internet for behavioral/disciplining tactics and strategies because some parents in the church are very concerned about one of our programs adopting a "time out" policy for misbehaving kids.

Why am I letting this get to me like this? Surely, I'm supposed to be a messenger of mirth, a pied piper of preaching, a glorified clown for Christ's Gospel? And church is supposed to be the one place where everyone can misbehave, right? After all, Tolerance is supposed to be every congregation's middle name.

So, I can't sleep. Parents are upset about their kids being upset with a "three strikes and time-out policy." I'm supposed to be preaching about "Christ is King" today, which is all about His Majesty and Authority over our lives.

Does that include those wee creative imps who don't like authority? And what about their parents? I've been a minister for over twenty years and over that time I've seen personal accountability and parental responsibility degress to the point that it's almost impossible to have any boundaries or standards established in church programs. Has the "Jesus of Suburbia" kicked out the King of all Creation?

Any suggestions, fellow Presbyterian bloggers? How do your churches and programs deal with misbehaving kids - or is our church the only one in eternity with time-out?

Sleepless in Knoxville


Anonymous said...

A pet peeve of mine! I go to church with my 11-year-old daughter and one of her friends always wants to sit with us, because her mother never sits with her. That's sad, to begin with. But this child -- nice girl that she is -- cannot behave in the pew! So I'm stuck with doing discipline when I'd like to be paying attention to worship. I have no answer...

Pappy McVulgar said...

It has been my experience that discipline begins within. There is a grand difference between adolescents and adults. It is popular in our days to remove childhood mistakes or wiggle room. This disallows children to explore and grow into the purpose God has blessed them with. If the church cannot be the safety net for our children’s growth than there are plenty of other places they will go to for security. We all know where that ominous road leads...I say let the children stay and grow. I went to this church in Kenya for a while and it was lead by an Anglican priest and taught directly to the children of the assembly as the parents sat in the back rows and looked on. It was the most amazing spiritual time I have ever witnessed. It was also the most diverse congregation I have ever witnessed...a large variation of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds were present. The children also witnessed and ministered to the local street kids as they opened up the church grounds to an informal school and fund raised to support it. Children no matter their decibel levels belong in the church as viable members.

Molly said...

Wow, pappy mcvulgar, how cool is that priest and that congregation?

Tolerance is not a synonym for roll over and take it, b****.

Of course you have a time out policy and you give it to your parents and you explain to your parents the consequences of their children's misbehavior and you apply the policy consistently and fairly and you let the chips fall where they may.

WHY do leaders think that we need to allow others to walk all over us? I heard a wonderful quote from a late great Presbyterian preacher, Dale Milligan who in discussing Christian discipline said:

I think too much of myself to let you treat me that way and too much of you to let you get away with it.

noell said...

I don't understnad what you mean by time out policy... Is the issue with children in the worship service? What do you define as misbehaving?

I agree with pappy's comment "Children no matter their decibel levels belong in the church as viable members."

One might heed the reactions of children in worship... they are usually an outward response that reflects the inwards boredome of adult who's learned social etiquette and is able to sit quitely in boredom doodling or snoozing.

I've also found that children take much more interest in a worship service when they sit close to the front and are able to see and hear.

Perhaps your church should brainstorm new ideas of making the service more inclusive for children.

Just thoughts from someone who thinks children should be seen and heard.

Stushie said...

Thanks for your help. The kids are welcome throughout the morning worship. It's during one of the Wednesday night programs that we're experieincing the problems. Some of the kids were jumping off tables and fighting with one another, so the teachers put them on a three minute time out. During the time out, two of the parents came in and they were upset.

Our kids do welll in the service. We have a kids sermon when they and their parents come down to the front. They all look great together listening to the stories that I tell them and answering the questions whilst sitting next to their parents.

It's just the Wednesday night programs - probably too much sugar in the pot luck desserts and brownies.

Thanks for your comments and support. I guess I was weary on Sunday.