When Jesus envisioned his church, he dreamed about a family-like community. New Testament churches met at homes, because their members were families. They called each other brothers and sisters because they were family members with the same Father: God.
A while ago, someone posted on our church website lamenting how a child fell on our church grounds and nobody picked him up. I think people didn’t respond because they failed to consider the fallen child their own, instead looking at him as the child of a stranger.
If we are brothers and sisters, other church members’ sons and daughters are our nephews and nieces. We should love them like our own family and correct them like our own when they behave badly.
Our goal for church education is to raise our church members’ children as responsible Christians. When we participate in their discipline as their uncles and aunts, they will grow into healthy, beautiful people.
I suggest the following in disciplining children as uncles and aunts. When they do something good, compliment them profusely. When they do something bad, correct them with smile. Use positive statements instead of negative ones. Say “walk slowly” rather than “don’t run.” Say “go play somewhere else where it’s safe” instead of saying “don’t play here because it’s not safe.” Show them respect by explaining why they should or shouldn’t do certain things. Don’t say “be quiet” but say “I want you to be quiet because people are worshiping.” Say “go outside and play ball because playing ball inside is against church rules.” Wait at least 30 seconds before you respond when children interrupt adults’ activity or conversation to show them that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
Here are rules for children inside buildings.
Walk, don’t run. Speak softly, don’t yell. Only bounce balls, ride bikes and roller skate outside, not inside. Don’t climb onto high places. Don’t damage our property. Put waste in the trash cans.
When you see children break these rules, gently correct them. And when your find your own children being disciplined by other church members, don’t resent them but thank them.
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