Over the past few years, we have been searching for a church home. We faithfully attended church until about four years ago. That church endured a split. At that time we just felt like neither group was really headed in the right direction, so we decided to take a step back to reevaluate where our family should worship. That is another story entirely.
During the past four years we have visited churches. Many churches. For about six months we faithfully attended First Baptist Church Atlanta. This church is over one hour from our home, but we enjoyed listening to Dr. Charles Stanley preach, so we went.
My husband and I differed slightly in our church “preference” in the past. This hasn’t mattered too much to me since my husband is our spiritual leader. Where he goes, I will follow. Even when it’s difficult. (And believe me, it has been difficult at times!) We do however agree on basics. We firmly believe that God does not wish for families to be separated during worship and teaching, and we believe that the focus should be on what we can do for God instead of what God can do for us. Finding a church that teaches and lives these principles shouldn’t be so difficult, right?
About one and a half years ago we visited a church that came highly recommended. This church broadcasts their sermons on the radio. My husband listened in on several occasions and thought that we should give it a try. We arrived one Sunday morning, and everyone was very welcoming. We found a spot and a nice older lady immediately came over to speak to us. The conversation went something like this…
Friendly church member: “Hello, welcome to our church! Here, let me show you the way to the nursery.”
Myself: “Thanks so much, but we would rather keep him with us.” (Referring to our then 18 month old son.)
Friendly church member: “It’s a great nursery! Come on, let’s go!”
Myself: “No really, we would like to keep him with us.”
Friendly church member: “The nursery is wonderful, and look, the door is practically off the sanctuary.”
Myself: “I’m really sorry, but we would like to keep our baby with us.”
Rapidly becoming not so friendly church member: “If you keep him in here, you will need to remove yourself and the baby during the invitation. We cannot have any distractions!! By the way, I’m the middle school girls Sunday School teacher, I’d love to have your older girls next Sunday!” Said church member then walked away.
Unfortunately, we have had many similar experiences throughout the past few years. I’ve had to apologize for keeping my baby in my care instead of sending them away with a stranger. There are actually several prominent churches in our areas that at times “rate” their Sunday morning services as “PG-13.” I may be way off here, but I’m assuming that at these times children aren’t exactly welcome in the sanctuary.
A few questions.
Should churches view children as a distraction?
Should church be a place where family members are forced to go their own separate directions instead of being together?
Is this biblical?
To be continued…
To view Part 2 of this series, click here!
*On a side note, our family has been visiting a wonderful, Biblical church for a month now. Praise the Lord, from whom all blessings flow!*