Children are a Blessing – keeping our children close in home church gatherings.
Home assemblies are truly a different animal than a traditional church. We should never try to recreate church at home. The intimacy and comfort of the home meeting provide a canvas to meet the needs of all individuals at a deeper and often more meaningful level. Children in home church gatherings are no exception.
As we consider how best to envelop our little ones into the tapestry of our home church meetings, having a plan will help. There are several facets of children in meetings to consider. First, is the children’s edification. Second is keeping the adult and teen members experience peaceful. Lastly, we will want to consider different parenting styles and how to mesh as one body despite those differences.
Children; a Blessing, a Gift, Full of Faith and Trust
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.Proverbs 22:6
Firstly, we need to keep our children’s joy, growth and well-being in a priority as we make decisions and plans. Discipline with love is a key component to our children’s growth, so we want part of their experience to include learning self-control. Learning to sit quietly and self-entertain are also important skills to grasp. Provide an area amongst the adults, whether in the middle of the group or with the children off to one side with a caregiver encouraging them. Or encourage families to sit together. Keeping our children close creates an atmosphere that let our children know they are a part of us. They are accepted.
“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”Psalm 8:2
Other ways to enhance a child’s experience can be including them in discussions and worship. Asking for and acting upon their ideas and requests. Sometimes there will be an adult or teen that wants to take the kid’s out for a lesson at their level. These are all wonderful choices that can encourage our youngster’s joy and growth.
Children in Home Church Gatherings – the Noise! the Joy!
Next, let’s bear in mind that all member’s needs and joy should be considered. Indeed, children and babies can be loud and disruptive. Groups, hosts and leadership do best when a plan of action is in place and known for these situations. Individuals and groups have different tolerance levels for these sorts of disruptions. There should be no problem – if your home gathering culture is a known and accepted aspect. Letting visitors know how your group handles such situations can ease any tension also. It’s always nice to know what to expect in a new setting.
“He called a little child to Him and placed the child among them.Matthew 18:2-6
And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
Methods for dealing with the needs of babies and children will ideally involve parental discernment and action. Some tired mothers would most appreciate a break and will gladly accept others help. If taking little ones for a walk or stroll is required to keep the peace during worship, discussion or teaching an atmosphere of servanthood would always be welcome. Bottom line though – children are parents responsibility and duty. We encourage home groups to require parents to keep their children close and always be aware of their whereabouts and activities. Children should never wander a host’s home without supervision.
Parenting Styles in Home Gatherings
Finally, let’s consider differences in parenting styles and how they can cause strife and harsh feelings within a home group or gathering. It is ideal as the body of Messiah if we can choose to love and accept differences in each other. Whether it be in opinions, understandings in the less weighty matters category or in parenting.
That said, there must also be some structure in place for parents to know what is expected of them in the larger setting of the home church gathering and their children. A gently written guideline for newcomers requesting them to remove children that become disruptive (and a brief definition of what your group considers disruptive) is helpful. In addition, letting parents know the best places to care for babies and little ones outside the main group area can provide peace and shalom for all.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Deuteronomy 6:7
Truly, different parenting styles need not become an issue if expectations are lovingly presented with clarity. In a setting where well-mannered children are the norm, the best method is by the example of your own children. Most parents will conform to the culture being presented as the norm.
Leadership needs to Lovingly Maintain Expectations in Home Church Gatherings in Regards to Children and All Areas
Servant leadership’s job is to encourage, inspire and maintain the direction of the home assembly. A heart for this type of servant leadership is a blessing for any group. Leaders should be appreciated and encouraged as maintaining a shalom-filled home fellowship is a difficult calling.