Yesterday, my wife sent me this picture of a baby in our church that was sleeping while I was speaking. It’s a cute picture, but it’s also a reminder to me of something that I’m grateful for.
When parents have babies, they’re often worried about bringing them to church. They wonder if people will be disturbed if they cry. They also know it can be quite difficult to get a child ready in the morning in time to get to a worship service. It takes an extra dose of patience and effort to pull it off successfully.
But I’m grateful there are parents who are willing to do this. Let me share five quick reasons why.
They are displaying a commitment to raise their children in the community of the local church. Sharing life, and living in fellowship with other believers through the local church is an integral part of how Christ helps us grow as His disciples.
Children are a blessing, and just like grandparents get excited to see new grandchildren, your church family (who also loves you) gets excited to see your child.
The sounds that babies make are the sounds of a church that is alive. I have visited and consulted with dead and dying churches. You’ll hear a lot of things in a dead church, but you’ll rarely hear a baby crying. Parents don’t tend to bring their children to dying churches because dying churches don’t tend to prioritize children’s ministry.
Babies elevate the culture of the local church. While there are some grumpy people in this world who tend to express their annoyance toward babies that cry or make noises, they usually leave churches that welcome the presence of babies, and congregate with dying churches. In a strange way, this tends to elevate the culture of a healthy church by communicating that it values the cries of a baby over the whining of an adult who’s acting like a baby.
The random noises babies make help us pay attention during a longer teaching session. It doesn’t bother me if a baby squawks while I’m speaking. I think it actually tends to keep us all more alert. Most parents have the sense to take a child that is very upset out of the worship service until they calm down, but the occasional cry or squeal that a baby makes during a quiet worship service doesn’t bother me in the least.
So if you have a baby, thank you for bringing your child to church. You’re setting a pattern for your child’s life that is very healthy and will pay spiritual dividends as your child matures into adulthood.
© John Stange, 2019