I have long been passionate about having children in church. One of the chapters in my book Celebrating Eucharist is Chapter 18 – Children at the Eucharist. At a recent synod I attended, our church’s national youth adviser stood up and declared that our years of segregating youth from the worshipping community have failed.
Many parish services I visit/attend bear out this reality. Anglicanism is no longer the Tory Party at Prayer. It is not even the Green Party at Prayer. When you look around, many congregations are steadily heading towards being the retirement village at prayer.
If we believe that the church’s life and mission is of value, then rejuvenating the life of the Christian community is important. If we believe that the message of Jesus is worthwhile, then that the generations following the Baby Boomers are mostly not participating in it should at least cause us to sit up.*
We don’t need more programmes. We don’t need more bait-and-switch ways to try and trick people into church. We need to believe in what we do and put it into practice appropriately.
I recently read these five reasons why children should be in the main service and I repeat them here:
- Children should not be removed from the main body for convenience sake.
- Children are a part of the Body of Christ.
- Children need godly examples of how to worship.
- Children need to feel like they are a part of the church community.
- Children who don’t feel like a part of the church community will leave church when they’re older
What do you think?
If interested, do read the chapter: Children at the Eucharist
*The idea behind this sentence is difficult to express – younger generations may be participating more in the message of Jesus without attending church services and without even using the name “Jesus” or the word “God.” Furthermore, with the way many church people behave, many church communities act, and the issues that many church people put major energy into, the death of church as we know it may be God’s will.
Let’s also at least be honest about the looming end of the church.