Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It Doesn't Hurt

I grew up in a pastor’s home. For those of you who don’t know much about what that means, it first and foremost means I went to church before I was born. It became a lifelong habit. It didn’t hurt then and it doesn’t hurt now.
Admittedly, I don’t remember those first nine months of church when I was in the womb. Honestly, I don’t remember much about church the first three years of my life. What “memories” I have are those told to me by my parents. So, you won’t be surprised if I share with you one of those kinds of memories.
In the early days of my life it was customary for the pastor to sit on the platform during the music portion of worship. It was a small church and my mother was the piano player. We didn’t have children’s church in those days. My mother placed me on the second row and told me to sit there.
There was only one problem. His name was George. George was one of the men in the church who sat on the other side of the aisle. It seems that on most Sundays George would hold out one of those soft mints and I would scurry across the aisle for a mint. I stayed with George until my mother moved off of the piano bench.
Since those days I haven’t missed too many Sundays of worship. Today I serve as pastor of a village church. I’ve got to say, I love the church. All these years it’s been my family. I’ve been gone from my parents’ home a good many years, now. I have grown children. In fact, I have grandchildren. So I’ve been in church all my life.
Here’s my observation. I seem to have done okay without children’s church. I know it’s the fashion today. I’ve heard all the arguments for children’s church. But I don’t think it’s all that important. I grew up without it. My “church family” took care of me while my pastor father sat on the platform and my mother played the piano. Honestly, I think it was more important for me to be in the worship service with my parents than it was for me to be in children’s church.
I learned to value the worship experience because my parents valued it and thought it was important for me to be there, too. I learned how to first behave, and then to worship, because I sat in the “grown-up” service. I learned how to value the larger church family through the worship experience. And I learned that it wasn’t about me. It was about God.  I learned how to worship from my mother, father, and my church family.
Oh, by the way, my children didn’t make it to children’s church, either. And if I were raising my children again they’d still be in the worship service and not children’s church.

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