So . . . we’re all pondering our New Year’s resolutions.
Every year, in the Kaczmarek household, the same burdens rest on our shoulders and weigh on our hearts.
And every year, one soars to the top of the priority chart: Nurturing, training, equipping, loving our children.
It’s daunting. Especially these days.
But if we know our Bible, we’re unsurprised by that.
The question is: How can we instill a genuine love in our children’s hearts for that same Truth?
I am so very excited to share this response to that question.
First, know this about me: For me to truly appreciate any read, it’s got to move me.
But for me to love a non-fiction book and recommend it without reservation, there are added requisites.
It must be based on sound biblical principles. And it must spur me on in my walk with Christ. I was offered such a book this year, and I took my time with it.
Curt and Sandra Lovelace are missionaries to families worldwide. Their ministry, Lifework Forum, exists to encourage and equip parents to nurture hearts of worship in their children. Children in Church is a result of that desire.
I think, in the beginning, I expected a concise doctrinal study on why age-segregation isn’t working and a few useful suggestions. Maybe, based on the cover photo, it would be a tad on the legalistic side.
What I got was paradigm-shift in paperback. Kids in Church.
Children in Church is not a book to be devoured. It’s a recipe book filled with ideas for raising sons and daughters with a deep love and honor for the Lord, for His Word, and for the church.
A step-by-detailed-step guide to—steel yourselves—sitting in the pew on Sunday for worship as a family.
Yep, you read that right.
An. Entire. Family.
Kids in church.
Including tiny ones. (This is where I need honing).
“Surely, you jest.”
No, friends. I don’t.
I know. You’re shocked. We don’t see/do enough of this in American churches. There’s a divide and spoon-feed mentality that’s infiltrated the body of Christ, and it often leaves parents feeling ill-equipped to disciple their own children. They might think, I’d love to have my kids sitting next to me in the service, but . . .
- They won’t understand anything.
- They’ll bother other people.
- I’ll get looks.
- My kids frustrate me.
- I don’t have the patience to deal with them.
- How will I be fed?
We’ve all heard these before. Probably said most of them. Might even be able to add to the list.
Not one of them is a decent excuse. But as I read Children in Church, each time one of them popped in to my head, within a chapter, my doubt or concern was illustrated with a story and soundly handled by Scripture.
Trounced, quite honestly.
I found that every one of those excuses is actually the beginning of a heartcry.
“God, my kids won’t understand anything . . . so help me to teach them. Show me how to help them listen and distill the Truths presented in church today.”
“God, they’ll bother other people. We all will . . . please help me to model a humble awareness of others and to instill a respectful understanding of why this is called a sanctuary. Give us opportunities to share with others why we’ve decided it’s important to worship as a family.”
“God, I’ll get looks . . . Help me to smile humbly and pray that our church family will slowly begin to see the beauty of the entire body of Christ. Thank you for using our family to take the first steps.”
And so on.
The Lord changed every one of my excuses into a prayer that my own perspective (and diligence, and investment of time and energy, and . . .) would ultimately be transformed.
Curt and Sandra Lovelace—who are grandparents!—have walked this road already. They’ve spent the last couple of decades reaching out and mentoring families who have the desire to disciple and nurture their kids for the glory of God, especially when it involves swimming up the cultural stream. They’ve filled the pages of Children in Church with anecdotes and insights from their own journey as well as testimonies from those whose lives they’ve impacted. There are failures as well as triumphs which ultimately made the idea even more believable and doable than I anticipated.
There are assignments! (Sit down and talk about this . . . write out your goals . . . what are your hesitations? . . . Discuss.)
From the first page to the last, you’ll find yourself challenged and encouraged to press into Christ and take an honest look at what’s right for your family in your local body of believers.
BWIMH and I have said we believe this for a long time. We enjoy a family worship time every night, and we are intentional about how we raise our brood.
Until now, the jump to bringing Smalls into the sanctuary with us has stricken fear in our hearts. (That’s hyperbole . . . almost). Finally, we own practical, prayed-over steps to tackle him.
Er . . . tackle the task.
If you’ve ever thought, “I want Christ to truly be the Center of our family—not just to say that He is,” this book is for you. If you’ve got young kids or are just beginning your family, walk through these practical and prayerful exercises and make a plan together now.
Curt and Sandra haven’t lived perfect lives. They haven’t attended perfect churches filled with perfect people. But they’ve built their family on these convictions and blessed many people with these practical insights.
And they serve a perfect God.
The pages bleed Truth and wisdom.
Dash over to the Lovelace’s Children in Church website for more wisdom, practical tips, and information on the newly-released book.