House Churches and Kids: An Introduction
Whenever I get a chance to talk about house churches with a group of believers, whether just a few or many, I inevitably get asked the same question:
“What do you do with the kids and the money?”
This question comes up because I’ve already spent a lot of time talking about the dramatic shift that happens when you stop seeing church as an event or a place. I’ve also stared to encourage those listening to see church as a people separated to God who live together and encourage each other to move the Gospel forward. By now we’ve talked about discipleship, accountability, meetings, the Holy Spirit, community, and a whole host of topics. So when we get done talking about how things are different in so many other areas, the implications of these ideas start to hit those who have been really listening.
“Does this mean no more kids church?”
“Where will my kids go if they don’t go to the nursery?”
“What kind of meetings will we have if the kids are part of them?”
“Will I be able to keep my kid quiet during the meeting or will he or she be a giant distraction?”
“How will we be able to learn and grow if we’re constantly having to watch our kids?”
The list can go on. This is a giant stumbling block for parents of young children who are considering joining a house church. Sometimes the thought of their kids and what programs will be available for them weighs on their minds. Other times the idea of missing the break that church provides can be a consideration. The barrier to entry can seem high.
This problem doesn’t get any better in the house church circles that I’ve been involved in. Many of them are filled with older believers whose kids have left the home or singles who don’t have the obligation for children. Those that do have children usually have a handful and they’re doing their best to incorporate these kids, but they sometimes feel like an afterthought to the rest of the church’s life.
Surprisingly, there is very little house church literature devoted to this topic. I’ve read a lot of books on house churches (and I do mean A LOT) and it’s not unusual to have a book of 200 or 300 pages give two pages to the topic with some light thoughts that don’t really address the day-in, day-out struggle of participating in house churches with children.
This is a shame because there is a significant amount of growth that can come, both numerically and spiritually, when house churches learn how to steward the children that make up their body. The Psalms tell us that children are a blessing from the Lord and like arrows in the hand of young man. If we wisely love, grow, and challenge the kids in our midst, we’ll find that like arrows, they will go out and accomplish what we couldn’t on our own.
So over the next days (and probably weeks) I’m going to be writing on how house churches can incorporate children into the life of the church. This is bigger (and more important) than just incorporating them into a meeting, but it will include how and why we need to incorporate them into the meetings of your church. We’ll discover that often we’ve neglected the very arrows the Lord has been giving us for the fights we’ll face in the future.
If you are part of a house church, stay tuned. You’ll find not just good theology, but also practical advise for how to involve kids in ways that will grow you and the kids that are part of your body. If you know someone who is part of a house church, invite them to follow along. Lastly, if you are not part of a house church, you can stick around, too. You’ll find lots of truth here that will help you interact with the children in your life and grow them closer to Jesus.
It’ll be fun. I promise!