“[Allow] little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Our world likes to shuffle kids off to the side. We institutionalize them into social silos like calves in a feedlot. We stick them in daycare with managed schedules along side other savages. We segregate them by their age at school and talk to them like little people who must be controlled rather than led. Too many teens learn from their peer group of individuals with no life experience. Even churches get caught up in age-group isolation where children get peeled away from their parents, and sometimes we are guilty of just entertaining them and distracting them until “big church” is over.
While psychology and philosophy have attempted to create a perfect system for developing children, we have wandered away from God’s original design: a family. God ordained for a man and a woman to portray His image in a home by their maturity and love toward their children through mentorship and daily instruction. God ordained parents and grandparents to influence and teach wisdom to developing youths. Ninety percent of institutionalized children leave the church when they reach young adulthood. How many could be salvaged if we let the little ones be a part of family worship?
Even some church conferences and conventions do not allow children to enter. “Adults only” does not sound like a Jesus thing. Will the church of the future start to check ID at the door to prevent anyone under 21 from entering? What could be wrong with children learning to worship God with their family? I have fond childhood memories of praying together with my parents in church. I can remember us up at the altar as a whole family, weeping and re-consecrating our lives to the Lord. Sure babies might distract occasionally, but even an infant can sense the presence of God—while in the womb, John the Baptist responded to his mother’s joy.
The sixth chapter of Deuteronomy gives us the foundation of our faith and tells us how to preserve it: by parents and children speaking together about the things of God. There can be no greater way to raise God-loving kids than to let them grow up seeing their daddy worship and weep in church. They should hear their mother pray and see grandpa share his testimony.
Honor God, allow the children.