Oct 30, 2006

let the little children come

There must be some way to help children learn about Jesus even when their parents could care less. While I'm not always pleased with the Sunday School System in our churches, I am convinced they are a boon for children who, for whatever reason, may not be reached by any other method.

Recently a grandmother (out of state member of the COC) came into our area for a few months to help her daughter (who is not currently in church) during some difficult times. Grandmother always brought her three grandchildren to Sunday school, but now since moving back to her home state the children no longer have anyone in their family concerned with getting them up and ready on Sunday morning

I mentioned my concern to the grandmother that the children might have a difficult time getting to church after she left, and offered to help in any way necessary so they could continue meeting with us; she thought she could influence her daughter to bring the children on Sunday, but a month later and nothing seems to be happening! I discovered the parents are separated, and the children are bouncing around like crazy, so it may be difficult to form a viable plan that will insure the children have the opportunity to continue their biblical education.

There was a time when parents allowed almost anyone to pick up their kids and take them to church, but since the advent of the religious pervert most parents are shying away from this option...and I don't blame them!

So, what is a good plan to help children attend Sunday School when the parents obviously don't care?

20 comments:

Alan said...

Great question. I don't have a good answer. This reminds me of when I worked in a bus ministry back in the late 1970's. We would knock doors in a housing project on Saturday, then come back with a church bus early Sunday morning, and pick up anywhere from 50 to 70 kids. We took them to church, teaching the Bible from the time they were picked up until they were dropped off Sunday afternoon. And we did it again on Wednesday evening. Those kids learned a lot of Bible, and a few of them became Christians (maybe more than I know). IMO you could never do that in today's world.

Larry said...

Alan...
Perhaps there are no good answers.

Pictures of all the children in our Sunday School, including those of the three children of my post, are displayed on a large board on the wall right next to where I sit on Sunday mornings, and this sweet little girl continually smiles at ME, and I just don't know how to help her!

I have asked God for help in trying to find a way to help them, I don't know any other way....

Milly said...

I'll pray for the answer. I lectured a friend last night about not going to church, she has no real excuse .I pointed out that the kids need it.

Larry said...

Milly...
It's obvious that most children who don't have the opportunity to be a part of the church will not be interested in spiritual things when their adults...this is sad!

japhy said...

It used to take a village to raise a child. How do parents react nowadays when another child's parents ask them to reprimand their own children?

L.E.Meredith said...

Dear sister and brothers, I am shocked to hear this defeatest attitude comming from those who I love as Christians.
I will quote from another Christian brother whom I dearly love and respect. Brother Paul.

Col:3:20: Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
21: Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

You get to the children through the parents, and slow and easy gets the job done. No lectures, no blameing no accusing, just love and informing.
It has worked for me. first there are few parents who wish harm to come to their children (some exceptions) usually there are precieved reasons why they do not attend church with their children. see if you can help with that situation, I have heard them all. No clothes fit for church, help them get clothes. no ride to church, get them a ride. all the other excuses can be fixed. you might even have to get up early enough to either call or go over to wake them, believe me it is worth it. a christian's work does not end with talking. be an action figure SUPER CHRISTIAM. God bless

Hoots Musings said...

The JOY Bus!

Seriously, pick them up and take them by car, treat them as if they are your own.

Larry said...

Laymond...
Perhaps in Texas it's still safe to have a stranger pick up your children for church, but totally dangerous and unacceptable in California.

Personally I wouldn't send my children with anyone I don't know real well...not in a million years!

Reaching the children through the parents I understand, and looking for solutions to the problems with the help of God I understand, but I 'm having a difficult time understanding how your reference to having a "defeatist attitude" applies to those who are seeking viable ways to reach these children in a safe manner that is acceptable to their parents.

Larry said...

Hoot...
At one time nearly all churches had their Joy Bus ministry, and for a while it worked great, but after a few lawsuits, insurance problems, and accusations of misconduct(founded, or unfounded) most churches have abandoned this method.

The insurance needed to protect the church from allegations, or actual problems that might occur...like an accident, is prohibitive.

Larry said...

japhy...
I doubt we will ever return to the day when parents can safely allow their children to roam through the neighborhood with no supervision other than the neighbors.

Maybe I'm too suspicious, but anyone that bangs on my front door (whether church related or not) and wants control of my children for a few hours will be kindly refused.

preacherman said...

Larry,
Great post.
You ask an important question. Having lived in California a short time myself I totally understand what you are saying. It is totally differnt than the south or Texas.

I don't know of many bus ministries in California that work. I do believe as a former youth and family minister and outreach it is important to reach out to the familie as a whole.

The church were I was at had ministry fair and invited the entire families to church to see what ministries were offered and what needs could be met. It shows the families that we are Christians who have a good time and care about souls.

Look for needs in your community in which you can make a differnce. Low income communities need lots of encouragement and benevolence. I live in one now. Even Jesus met needs first then taught the message. He fed the 5,000 then taught. He heal then taught. He touched and then taught. He met needs of those who needed it. I believe that is a big key into getting families into church.

Friends days have been sucessful in some churches.

Childrens ministries have attracted families and kids from church. You get a children's minister or youth minister who knows how to outreach with kids is a great tool in ministry. My parents church for example had a great youth minister who new how to minister to teens and most of the teens at my parents church have been kids who's parents aren't Christian. The kids make the choice to come on their own on Sundays, when mom and dad don't. Over time he has had the opportunity to minister to families and bring them to church. They also hae a fantastic Childrens ministry as well that is reaching out to entire non-church families by ways of meeting needs.

I do believe we should be strive to reach not just kids but mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, entire families.

Sorry my comments were so long.
Great post.


I believe we as the church must understand that

L.E.Meredith said...

Larry just trying to rally the troops here. Alan said I don't have a good answer and Larry said perhaps there are no good answers.
Get that "Don't mess with Texas" attitude get out there and get those folks to church. Sure there is a good answer, didn't someone say they wouldn't load you down with more than you could carry.
God bless you.

Larry said...

preacherman...
Appreciate your input. Good ideas, just what I needed.

Perhaps having someone willing to focus their attention on the children, as well as seeking ways to cultivate opportunities to reach their parents as well, is what we really need. Now to find someone willing to take on such a tough ministry.

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I've wrestled with this many times and have not yet come up with a solution. Sometimes parents simply let the children down.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

Larry said...

Bobby...
Thanks for your comment.

It is a sticky problem to say the least. If I knew the parents it would be a lot easier.

These kids deserve our best efforts; their eternal future is at stake, and often we just ignore them.

L.E.Meredith said...

I truly worry about all children, but the thing that tugges at my christian heart most are those who have truly been thrown on the pile of tares to be burned without any chance of knowing the feeling of being loved or taught the love of God is for all I often wonder what will happen to those who have escaped horriable situations at home only to become entangled in a bad situation on the streets of the cities and towns that are littered with church buildings and well meaning christians who look the other way when one of God's least begs for something to eat.
not because they don't care but because we don't know exactly what to do.I can't help but believe Jesus was talking about just such a child when he said these will be the greatest in heaven.

Larry said...

Laymond...
Excellent thoughts.

Children left to their own plans and schemes rather than being guided towards Jesus have a shaky future.

In my opinion (and I'm wrong most of the time) it's getting tougher and tougher on the little ones every year...we give them everything but the knowledge of God and his Son.

Thanks again Laymond for your heartfelt comments.

preacherman said...

I believe it is important that the Church understands that America is now a missional field. We can no longer say America is a Christian nation. It is mission field. A nation that we would have sent missionaries to 30 years ago. We need to see that for Americans Sunday is a day off. A day to rest, get over the hang over, watch football, a day to relax. The church has to compete with that. The church has to realize okay if we are going bring in families then we have to go have something that makes the wan't to come. We have got show them who we are, what we have to offer, that we care. Do we see ourselves in that light? Or are we still thinking America is still like it was in the 1950's and still sticking with the way we have always done it. We need to understand time are changing...America ain't what it used to be. Instead of Ozzy and Harriett it is Ozzy and Sharon. Instead of Father Know's Best it is father is gone and mommy knows best or grandparents. Even mommy's or daddy's. So we have to understand as a Church that it ain't what it used to be. America is now a mission point.

Again Larry great post and I am glad my ideas have helped. I know that they worked where I was at and other Church I have seen. God bless you brother!

Missy said...

Larry -
I was just introduced to your site and sad to see you are going! This post caught my interest as a former "church-bused" child. When I was 4, one of the local churches came by and invited all the children in our neighborhood to church. They continued to pick us up for another 15 years - following us when we moved and as we grew to 6 children! My dad was an atheist, my mom a drug addict, then my step-mom a preachers daughter with a deep hatred for church and no desire to know God. The love of these people is something I will never forget.
As a child of parents that would never have gone to church, I have two points. If you are involved in anyway with the family, pray for and find ways to stay involved. If the parents trust you they may finally allow you to bring them. And if that is not in God's plan - then do not fear. Most of the strongest christians I know never knew Christ as a child. Pray for them and God will answer those prayers, protect those children and lead them back to him. The seed may have already been planted.
Good luck with the next phase!

Larry said...

Missy...
Thanks for stopping by, and especially your great comments.

It's difficult to know what to do when parents don't seem to care about the souls of their children.

Your right; after we do all we can it often falls into the hands of God, and He knows what to do!