BIG CHURCH is for Little People Too

big church

It was a great day today.  We had to wake our kids up early because my wife was singing in the choir today.  We really aren’t a “choir” kind of church, but some times we have specials that are really good; today (Palm Sunday) was one of them.  The kids were crabby, and I wasn’t much happier.  Never the less we got them to church and attended first service, because I had meetings during the other two.  My four year old and my eleven year old were in church with us.

My daughter follows along during the sermon filling in the blanks in the outline and reading the passages in her bible.  My son usually plays quietly with a car, but he sings and pays attention some of the time (not bad for a four year old).  This week he was very interested in watching mommy sing.  The choir got up and sang while a montage of clips from “The Passion of the Christ” played in the background.  Jo, my son, was a little upset about what they did to Jesus.  When my wife sat down he started to ask questions about the “movie.”  My wife took him out of the room and began to explain why Jesus had to go through that.  Before you call us irresponsible parents, please understand that the clips shown were not the really bad clips, but they were bad enough.

Jo gets a daily does of Bible reading every night at home.  He has heard the gospel many times, but it never really impacted him until this day with those visuals.  At the tender age of four, he accepted Christ.

I know what some of you are thinking.  It is true that it would be easy to manipulate him into saying a prayer.  That is not what happened here.  As parents we have been very purposeful about telling our kids about Jesus and very careful regarding their ability to understand what is being communicated.  I accepted Christ when I was four and I can still visualize that moment to this day.  Some of you are thinking this is the first of many times he will “accept Christ.”  Maybe, but it would be irresponsible on our part to not explain the gospel to him, and to not allow him to “accept Christ.”  Maybe there will be 20 more times, I don’t know.  What I do know is that on this day I am glad this little person was in Big Church.

As parents we must take seriously the task of teaching our kids to go to church.  This is true when it comes to teenagers as well.  What are you doing in your church to teach people how to go to church?  If my four year old can get something out of it, then so can teenagers.  People will only get out of it what they put into it.  Taking notes and looking up passages is an essential part of attending church and listening to a sermon.  In an entertainment driven world, people need to be taught how to do this from a young age, it is not intuitive.

John Byrne's Bio

John Byrne has been involved in youth ministry for more then 15 years. His ability to engage, challenge, and speak relevantly to his audience has led to speaking opportunities nationwide including camps, seminars, conferences, and training events. He has also written for Group Magazine, Youthworker Journal, and contributed to Youth Ministry Lemonade: turning “sour” experiences into leadership success. To see more of his writing check out the YM Theology blog.

John knew he wanted to be a youth pastor at the early age of 13. While attending Oak Hills Bible College he met the woman of his dreams and convinced her to marry him. After a two year honeymoon in the great state of Colorado he returned to his home state of Minnesota to finish his Biblical Studies degree from Northwestern Bible College.

John’s passion is living out the great mission (commission) in his life and helping others do the same. He does this through writing and speaking as well as missional living in his own neighborhood and community.

John is currently the Student Ministries Pastor at The Rock of Southwest, a church in Littleton, Colorado. He lives in Littleton with his wife Christa, daughter Catrina 11, and son Joash 4.


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