Friday, October 12, 2012

"Children in Church" - a book review

Curt and Sandra Lovelace are the authors of a new book called "Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship". The book is being published by Great Waters Press, who also published "Raising Real Men".

A little about Curt and Sandra Lovelace: This couple has served The Lord in many different capacities over the last four decades. They have served all over the world from the United States, Europe, Africa and the Carribean. They currently live and serve in the Czech Republic. They have raised 2 daughters and have a very Biblically based approach to child-rearing.

"Children in Church" gives a Biblical basis for bringing children in to the main worship service instead of having a separate children's ministry for them. They point the reader to many Biblical reasons as to why our children should learn from the very beginning to worship with the entire family. They also give practical ways to integrate children in to the service.

The Lovelaces tell many stories of how they have been received in various ministries for keeping their children with them during the service. There are several anecdotes about how they spoke to leaders of ministries and shared their reasoning behind what they were doing, as well as the different responses they have gotten from various church leaders. The anecdotal stories of how children acted in church were quite humorous. They give real examples of kids who get a little unruly in church and how that should be dealt with. They give some great ideas on how to keep kids occupied but not disruptive during services.

The chapter titles are:
1-Bringing Them In
2-Understanding the Elements
3-Counting the Cost
4-Laying the Foundation
5-Getting Ready
6-Packing the Bag
7-Drawing the Word
8-Preparing a Plan
9-Facing the Challenges
10-Growing as Disciples
And a section written directly to church leaders

The Bible is used throughout the book and it is obvious the Lovelaces are passionate about this topic. However, they are not "pushy" and simply lay out the facts as they feel the Bible presents them. They then leave it up to the reader to pray and ask God what is best for their family. I love this aspect of the book. I don't necessarily whole-heartedly agree with their take on the issue but I still really enjoyed reading and seeing a different perspective from my own. I think there is a time to integrate children in to the service, and we do that in our family.

Personally, our kids have their activities on Sunday mornings and they attend the service with us on Sunday evenings, beginning at age 3. We do not allow our children to color or play or do anything else during the service. Our first was great with this. Our second child was a little more of a challenge, but now that he's 7 most Sunday nights he sits quietly and behaves. He fidgets alot but he knows the rules and the consequences. Our third, being a girl, can sit still without any issues and does great. For us, its a balance of allowing them to be kids in their morning classes, which are still structured Bible study times where they have lessons on their level and also allowing us to have some uninterrupted concentrated time to listen to the preaching on Sunday mornings. Then on Sunday evenings we are in the main preaching service together, and we love that time with our entire family together. Next year, as a 7th grader, our oldest will then be in the main service with us for all services. He has been learning to sit still and listen for many years now, but he has also had great Biblical teaching on his level. Now that he is old enough to move on to more in depth Biblical teaching he is ready for the main preaching service all the time. He has learned a great deal from the wonderful Sunday School teachers and Children's Church workers he has had over the years. Some of them have provided great role models for him and a young boy can never have too many strong Christian male role models. I know that wasn't necessarily part of the review of the book, but I had to share that there are different ways to integrate children in to the service when they are ready. It also shows that even though I have a different approach I would still recommend this book. It gives you alot of Biblical facts to process, and "chew-on" to decide what is best for your family!

Disclosure: I received a copy of the above book for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions given are my own, honest opinions.

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