Thinking Out Loud

September 1, 2011

Are Crying Babies and Noisy Kids in Church from The Devil?

When I was a kid, church platforms never looked like these

In the church where I spent my early teens, I clearly remember the pastor once saying that “the devil” will use a crying baby to distract you from hearing the message. Yes, this is true. He really said that. Hey Mom, your toddler’s fussing is Satanic.

So I was intrigued when Christianity Today took on the subject yesterday, Should Churches Try to Minimize Disruptions?

The timing on this was also interesting as we just finished listening to a sermon from Mars Hill Grand Rapids that was recorded on the 4th of July when the children were all part of the main service.You could hear the occasional crying, and the pastor actually celebrated this by inviting the kids on the platform as part of an excellent illustration.

The link above takes you to the article with the comments all displayed. If you want to see a news story about the child removed from Elevation Church, here is a local news report, which I found in this excellent piece by Skye Jethani. (I should add that I’m a fan of Steven Furtick, I’m reporting a single issue here, not trying to tear down someone’s ministry.) This blog covered the Perry Noble situation in July.

If you go to a small-town church, you may not get the need for this discussion. On the other hand, in some mega-churches the services are ‘produced’ like any Broadway show, with state of the art sound and lighting; and the idea of everyone not being 110% focused on what is happening on the stage platform is unthinkable. I do like the way Andy Stanley handles this though: He chooses to sell the parents on the quality of their children’s ministry rather than make the same kind of proclamation as Perry Noble. (In a recent message on sexuality, they were firm about the subject matter not being appropriate for younger kids; but in so doing, were admitting that the kids do show up in ‘big church’ at other times.)

Once again, here’s the CT story link with comments.

Have we all gotten too professional about weekend worship events?  Is the Church responding sufficiently to the increasing percentage of special needs kids in the general population?

I had forgotten that closer to the time of the Elevation Church incident, we did a blog repost here from Rachel Held Evans.  Check out It’s Hip to Be Un-Hip.


UPDATE: (Sept 3rd) — Turns out Pete Wilson covered this topic the same day as I.  Be sure to read the 70+ comments.

PHOTOS: Click the images themselves to link to Church Stage Design Ideas.

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