My wife is currently the pastor of a small church here in Columbia, Missouri (Oakland Christian). It’s a small church, but putting what she knows about church growth, evangelism, follow-up, and leadership development into action the church has recently begun to show growth – especially with the younger adult crowd.
The church’s nursery is in transition to a 5-S nursery, so most parents won’t leave their children in the nursery… yet. That means that children are relegated to adult worship (not a good thing on multiple levels… see the Church-Talk episode on the issue).
Last week, one of the infants got a bit loud with a couple loud shrieks and giggles. In general, we love the the sound of kids, but one of our adults was sitting three pews in front of the family and even I could hear the feedback from his hearing aids. After several screeches, he finally stood up and relocated to another side of the worship center.
On Monday I received an email from him and I expected he was going to have a few choice words about the incident and the need to insist parents take their kids to the nursery.
Boy was I wrong… and I got permission to share his email with you as a lesson in someone who really gets it.
Good Morning Bill,
I’m paraphrasing, but Christ said, “Suffer the children to come to me.” However Jesus did not wear hearing aids. I have my hearing aids adjusted to hear the minister at the pulpit. Unfortunately when that child behind me yells it is truly a painful experience. Plus that sound comes thru so loud it blanks out everything else.
Yesterday in church was truly an uncomfortable experience. In the future I’ll try sitting on the opposite side of the church when that child is present and if that doesn’t work I’ll just have to skip the services when that child is present.
However please let me point out that I feel it is imperative that we do everything possible to encourage young people to attend. As you are acutely aware churches are dying because there is no new generation to inherit our traditions.
The church isn’t about you and me. It’s about those who aren’t here yet. That’s why we exist. That’s why I do what I do… with no little passion. I have high hopes for the Oakland Christian Church congregation because they get it. They understand that personal comfort is less important than being a welcoming, hospitable congregation – and that self-sacrifice is more noble than self-satisfaction.
Question: Have you had a similar experience with a church member being especially Christlike in his or her response to times of transition? Share your stories in the Comments section below.