Relationships before Rules

Ok… hang with me on this one.  It is 2:00 a.m. California time and 5:00 a.m. Florida time… on the 17th of September 2009 and I haven’t been to bed. My body is on Florida time, but I just had to share this thought with you.

For the past 5 hours a friend of mine and I have been talking life, church, first impressions, discipleship, small groups, Francis Chan, Crazy Love… you name it, we’ve covered it.

And in the middle of our discussion I mentioned that I thought that over the past 14 years of ministry I am sure I’ve create tools, resources, etc… that although good for the church organization (local church) they may have not been good for “the church”… In fact, I am sure I’ve posted blogs here on STTS that although good for moving persons in/out, through processes, into this and that, they might have missed the need of the person…

Have I created rules for first impressions or have I created relationships for first impressions?  Hmmm… something to ponder.  Where do you find yourself?

Case in point…

Over the past several years of doing church we have for the most part limited the recommended age of a child in worship services or we’ve shared with the parent as they walked in that we have a great children’s ministry and/or parents room available for them.  At one church we posted in the bulletin, “please no children under 5 in the worship center”.

Now why is that?  I’ve gone through it over and over in my head, but I just haven’t come to a resolve as to where we find that from the scriptures.  Where is it from scripture that we limit children from gathering to worship with their parents, as part of the larger fellowship?

I am seriously questioning my own design of first impressions around children in the worship gathering.

Matthew 18:5And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me…”

Wonder how it makes a non-believer feel when he/she comes to church for the first time and brings their children only to find that upon arrival they can’t enter because their child doesn’t meet the age requirement.  Hmmm…. wonder what Jesus thinks about that?

Mark 10: 13-16 just rips my heart out.  Look at what it says…

And they were bringing the children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.  But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, Permit the Children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.  And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

WOW…

  • disciples seemed to be holding up “no child under 5 signs”
  • Jesus became indignant
  • Jesus commands – permit… do not hinder
  • Jesus scorns – whoever does not receive…..will not enter it at all.

Ok… so I’ve said my peace.

Just a Thought!

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