House Churces and Kids- It’s Not About the Meeting

Yesterday, we left off with the idea that the church is more than a meeting featuring preaching and singing, but it is actually a people who are called out from the world to serve God together.

Today I want to talk about a radical concept and how it relates to our children participating in church. Here’s the idea–Church is not about the meeting. This seems like a radical idea because our current version of Christianity is so meeting centric that even house churches have started to believe that its important to protect the meeting. However, if you look at the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament, the church met together whenever it could, daily (Acts 2:46), day and night (Acts 20:31), and all the more as we see the day of his appearing coming closer.

Church–Christianity–was not a once a week thing for them. It was 24/7/365 experience that enveloped all of the believers’ lives. So yes, the meetings had some intentionality behind them, but they weren’t the only chance people had to see each other, teach each other or encourage one another. It was always going on.

Let me give you a current example. Last night my wife went to meet with group of ladies to talk about the Bible, accountability, and mission. After she got done, I got together with some guys to do the same. Tonight night our house church will gather to eat and share life, but more than likely we’ll pray and encourage each other as well. Friday I’ll meet with a friend to strategize starting another house church. Sunday we’ll gather as a church to celebrate the Lord together. I could go on. The point is, there is more than one point of the week where our lives intersect and we encourage each other, so if the Sunday morning meeting gets interrupted by a cranky 2 year old, it’s not the end of our church.

And this is the point–church exists outside the meeting! In fact at this point a meeting is only a small percentage of the actual church life that is going on in any given week. No one in our house church is paid to produce a sermon or music, so even if someone has a teaching or a song to share, if it get’s interrupted by a noisy kid or two or five, we can share it the next time we’re together.

Why is this so important? We often want to have a babysitter or a program for the kids in place because we think they distract from the planned portion of the meeting. They interrupt the preaching. They mess up worship. They keep us from interacting. But if we lower our expectations for our meetings and raise our expectations for the church to be the church, then our kids really can’t mess anything up. They are just another part of the family with different gifts and needs.

None of this is to say that meetings, teachings, and songs don’t have a place. The New Testament argues that they can and do. I teach, my wife sings songs, and our house churches do have scheduled meetings. We just understand that kids don’t always sit still for 30 or 60 minutes straight. They will make noise, interrupt, and challenge an adult-oriented meeting.

But because house churches operate as families, they have time for those who are weaker and younger than themselves. No family would ever argue that we should have a majority of our time where the little kids are excluded from the family gathering. They would do their best to incorporate the kids from the youngest to the oldest into the family gatherings because it isn’t about the meeting, it’s about the family. The same should be true of the church.

We’ll talk more about what church is and how it impacts kids again tomorrow, but for now, have you noticed a focus on meetings cause frustration with kids? Have you seen this in a house church or in a small group? How have you tackled this issue? Leave a comment and let us know.

Photo Credit: Silhouette of man and woman standing during sunset by Daniel Joshua

Other Posts in the House Churches and Kids Series

House Churches and Kids: An Introduction

House Churches and Kids: Our Story

Hous Churches and Kids: What We Mean When We Say Church

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

3 responses to “House Churces and Kids- It’s Not About the Meeting”

  1. Jonas Borntreger says :

    I would like to see someone address the need for a disciplined attitude for children. The Old Order Amish have churches in their homes; their services last for 2 1/2 to 4 hours and, for the most part, their children sit still and behave the entire time. We tend to think that requiring that of our little ones would be cruel and inhumane – but I wonder.

    • traviskolder says :

      Hey Jonas

      Thanks for popping in and leaving a comment. Trust me, we’re going to get to the point where we talk about the need for discipline because kids do need it. I don’t think it’s cruel or inhumane to ask kids to sit patiently and quietly. However, I think we need to ask the question “What is the goal?” My goal for my kids and the kids that come to our churches is that they become like Christ and learn to walk in Him. In my mind, this has less to do with them sitting quietly and more to do with them asking questions, learning how to speak up, and participating in the life of the church.

      So, two questions for you that I genuinely hope will help push us farther in conversation: 1) What goal are you working towards in having the kids sit quietly? 2) How does having them sit quietly help them get to that goal?

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