Before we had children, my wife and I used to come home from work on Friday afternoon and toss our sleeping bags in to the station wagon. She would put in some food and I would put in the tent, and few other things. Then we would choose north or south and drive until we felt like stopping and finding a nice place to camp. We loved the freedom of being able to go where we wanted whenever we felt like.
Then we had three boys.
We didn’t stop doing our weekends away camping, but things changed. We had to put child safe seats in the car. We had to pack in nappies and the worst of all, we couldn’t just keep driving until we felt like stopping. We had to stop at regular intervals for breaks. Things were different.
Do you know though, that those changes turned out to be great. The boys noticed things that we had never seen when we just drove north or south until we felt like stopping. When we were on a break we saw even more things that we missed. AND I got back into the car refreshed.
Church with families of all ages together is something like this story. It will be different from church with just adults but there will be benefits. George Barna says “Raising children pushes parents to mature in their faith as much as it moves children towards spiritual wholeness”* Having children with us will help us to take in more about God and the way he loves us as we journey with them. Having children with us will grow our faith as well as theirs.
Andrew Ramsbottom has a passion for helping churches work with all ages together. He works for Scripture Union as a Children and Families Consultant in Auckland.