Helpful Tidbits for Organic Church Life                                        October 20, 2008
Really, Children are No Bother
My Reflections
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Christ followers gather at my home for Feast of Tabernacles
Children and teens enjoying the Sukkah, or temporary shelter, reminding us that life as we know it is temporary and that Jesus will soon "tabernacle" among us in the Millenial Kingdom. Amen!

It's been over three years since our little clan set out to embody the way of Jesus via what's become known as organic church. And although we've learned a lot, one thing's for sure; we have yet to fully integrate our children.
While reading the Scriptures this week, I was reminded of Jesus's stance toward children. They weren't a bother. To tell you the truth, I still don't "get it" like I think I should. I mean, children can be downright noisy, moody, and, for the most part, uninterested in lengthy spiritual conversations of any kind.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION/TOPIC: Although there's no "right" way, integrating our children into our "church" life is incredibly important
Really, Childen are No Bother
Excerpt from Matthew's Gospel
BibleThen little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there (Mt 19:13-15).
My Reflections
Many times when I'm interacting with other Christian "leaders," they say to me (knowing I'm a researcher), You know what would be an interesting study? Determining what personality types choose house churching over the conventional church. Sometimes I can't help but think what they really mean is, I wonder if house churches primarily attract hippie vegans who'd rather hug trees and give group hugs whereas conventional churches attract those who enjoy order, reflection, excellence, and good Bible teaching. 
child_spillFrankly, it's theological convictions and obedience to Jesus that drives us, not personality types. In fact, I think it's comical Aimee and I do organic church at all. We're not naturally hospitable. We get nervous when people take drinks onto our carpeted areas. We get easily distracted when the children get their own food (spills). We get anxious when the children won't sit still. In short, I think we're pretty normal.
To get to the point, I must ask, So what's the deal? Why weren't the children a bother to Jesus? Undoubtedly they were noisy and jumpy, probably making messes and, yet, Jesus says, "Let the children come to me." Here's my educated guess; generally, Jesus didn't project any preconceived notions of what a perfect ministry day should look like onto what was presently before him. Instead, he let people be people, kids be kids - ministering to what was, not to what wasn't with an eye toward making the less-mature happy (in this case, the Disciples).
boysIf it's one thing consumerism has taught me (in a bad way), it's this: things should look like how I want them to look. I often want my house a certain way, my car a certain way, my body a certain way, my marriage a certain way and, yes, my organic church experience a certain way. I want to do Acts 2:42-type stuff while the children stay quiet, drinks safely placed at least three feet from the carpet's edge.
So what, in fact, is the deal? Although order at gatherings of the ecclesia is a must (1 Cor 14), ministering to those directly in front of me is also a must. And if a portion of those directly in front of me are children, then I must gladly accommodate them. This, of course, implies at least two things: not only must I let go of my agenda, I must also let go of others' agendas (i.e., people pleasing), others' preconceived notions, just like Jesus did when his disciples rebuked those who tried to include the children.
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty
The Banqueting Table