I stood there the other morning after she had disappeared and listened to the cheeps and peeps of her babies as she fed them. It was surprisingly loud, coming through that pipe, and it reminded me of a recent Sunday when our crowd of little ones suddenly out-preached the preacher. He had to stop for a minute before he could continue on, but was quick to say, “Praise God for the babies. Don’t ever be embarrassed at the noise your precious children are making. Isn’t it wonderful to have so many?”
Indeed it is. I know of churches where there are none—zero—zilch—nada. In fact, in some there are only a couple of people under 40 and only three or four under 60. Yet some of those same churches sit on their laurels, talking of the past when their number was double, and looking to a time ahead when an upsurge in the economy will produce more jobs in the area and “possibly more Christians will move in.” Excuse me? Why don’t they do what the first century Christians they claim to emulate did? Go out and make some more Christians with the people you already have on hand!
There is another aspect of this. I hear of people leaving churches “because there are no young people.” Now it may very well be that the mindset of that group is antagonistic to the young, or at least not encouraging. But in most places that is not the problem. You have to start somewhere and that may very well mean that you and your family are the only young people. How long it remains that way could be the reason God put you there.
Why not go to your young friends and bring them in? Don’t apologize for the fact that the church is aged. Most of the time, people do not go to a church for entertainment. When they can finally be persuaded to go, it is usually out of spiritual need. I don’t really think they will be as picky as you might think if those “old folks” are kind and loving to them. And let me say it yet again, old folks have a lot to offer in wisdom and experience. God could raise up young people out of these stones, to paraphrase the Lord. The fact that he doesn’t puts the responsibility squarely upon us all.
Jesus undoubtedly loved the sound of children. He wanted them around him, and so should we. I have seen far too many old curmudgeons wince and growl when a child was his idea of “too noisy” in the worship services. The fact that their parents brought them, even knowing that they would very likely be embarrassed, not just that Sunday but the next and the next and the next, as they taught their precious charges the ins and outs of “church manners” (whatever that means), shows they have the humble hearts Christ sought in all his disciples. Very likely those children will grow up that way too.
Let there be noise in the assembly, especially the noise of babies. Praise God for the children!
And they were bringing unto him little children, that he should touch them: and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. And he took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands upon them. Mark 10:13-16.