There's a beautiful story in the gospels of parents bringing their children to Jesus so that he would bless them. The disciples shooed the children away, thinking that God's work through Jesus was too important to be wasted on these little ones. But Jesus rebuked them, and even used the faith of the little children as an example for his disciples.
Too often, we in the church have an attitude toward the children that resembles that of the first disciples. We want someone else to watch our kids so that we can go into the sanctuary, where God is really at work. We think of children's ministry as free babysitting. But that's not Jesus' heart for kids, and it shouldn't be the heart of the bride of Christ, either.
At Ember, the people who serve in Children's Ministry aren't volunteers. They're pastors. That's what we call them, because we believe that it is their God-ordained responsibility to shepherd the children for the hour+ that they're in their care. It's far more than just volunteering your time, it's loving kids in the name of Jesus. It's how we embody Jesus' call, "Let the children come to me", 70 generations later.
We also think it's crucial that kids see how their parents receive the word of God and respond to him, so on a regular basis we have Family Worship Weekends. (I say this like we've been doing church for a long time.) Family Worship Weekends are where we close down all Children's Ministry and bring all of our kids into the sanctuary to worship with the adults. The goal is for families to learn how to worship together.
It may take us some time to figure out how to do this well, but we believe this is an investment in the long-term health of the kingdom of God, as well as in the spiritual development of the youngest generation of Christians. This Sunday I'll be preaching a Children's Sermon, in addition to our regularly scheduled sermon from the book of Jeremiah. Come join us...and bring your kids! Sundays @ 5pm, 401 E. Schrock Rd.