This worldwide pandemic has certainly changed or strongly affected the way that we do things. This is especially true in how churches meet and relate.
We went almost a year without meeting at all, then we had several months of meeting in some adjusted states. Finally, we got back to normal - almost.
The only thing that hadn't come back to our old Sunday routine at the Utica Church of Christ was what we were doing with the kids - bringing them up to the front for a song and lesson and sending them out to classes during the sermon.
Some perceived a need to get this back going.
We took the step of opening a classroom for monitoring if people wanted to take advantage of it - if their child(ren) were getting antsy and needed to have a place to be a little louder and move around some.
It didn't go so great. The kids moved around a lot and were very loud.
I spoke up.
"You know - since we have been meeting again and we've had our children sitting with us through the entire worship, I have not had a single parent complain about that. I have not observed a single kid seem to really struggle. I have noticed that some of the older kids who would normally leave have been paying attention to the sermons too."
I have had a handful of Sundays in which I've got 3 or 4 kids at church all by myself. Most weeks, I'm the one getting up to deliver the sermon - so those kids are being left alone. Sorry... they would be alone, but they never are. Someone is always helping me out. Even when Cassie and I are there, we rarely have all of our children with us.
What a joy to look around the church building to see them sitting with other kids their age, sitting with other families, sitting on the laps of their spiritual aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
It is a joy to play host to other people's kids too. To know that some general guidance and a watchful eye can free up some other parents in the church to focus that much more on worshiping our Creator and Redeemer.
The concept of "as you go" is that as we go through our lives we are always teaching our children about God. Some moments we make, some we capture. Some lessons are taught, some are caught.
We are the church. We are community. We are family.
Our children are learning this every Sunday that they show up to the meeting at 1330 Herkimer Rd.
They are loved by a bigger family. They belong to a bigger community. They are the church too.