Saturday, January 3, 2009

Big Church

For those of you who might not know, my father is a pastor.  Grace is always excited when we go visit my parents because she loves "granddaddy's church."  There are several kids her age that she has bonded with over the years, and she feels very comfortable in the Sunday School and worship care.  

When we arrived home, my mom reminded me that Grace was now old enough to attend big church.  Worship care ends when the kids turn four years old, so this was the first time for Grace to attend a regular worship service.  Ever.  You can imagine that I was a bit nervous as Todd and I prepared her for sitting still in a pew for 1 1/2 hours.  I loaded my purse with fruit snacks, crayons, and stickers.  Mom provided a Bible story coloring book.  We explained that she had to be still and quiet while Granddaddy was preaching.  

We arrived in the sanctuary early so we could snag the prime position at the end of the pew by the exit door.  I looked around at all the other 3 and 4-year-olds sitting quietly next to their parents and silently prayed that Grace would be sweet.  I even (momentarily) thought of giving her a chewable Benedryl that I carry in my purse, then decided that we needed to face the challenge head-on and soberly.  

The good news is that she made it through the service without us having to take her out for discipline.  I'm sure the people sitting right behind us were entertained by her movements, but for the most part she obeyed and stopped playing with the hymnal, etc. when we told her to.  Several people told me they never heard a peep, and for that we are thankful.  Overall, we were pleased and proud of her for sitting through big church for the first time.  It was even more special because granddaddy was preaching.  

The Sunday evening service was more difficult.  She was bored and tired and had already sat through the morning service.  I took her out once to discipline her, then she returned and did pretty well the rest of the time.  (I found out later that Todd took her out twice for discipline during the last hymn.....I didn't know because I was playing the piano).  

Overall, she did pretty well.  Todd and I discussed the possibility of keeping her with us during the worship services from now on at our own church.  Even though we think she is ready, we have decided to let her stay with our church's worship care for another year and "graduate" with her group of friends to big church.  When the time comes, I'll leave the choir loft early to sit with her, and we'll figure out a way to sit close to the orchestra so Todd can come down and sit with us, too.  I'm looking forward to sitting together as a family in "big church."


Audra said...

Long story...

Vincent had been begging to come to "big church" with us for months before we went to see your mom and dad in Nov. Since all of the kids his age were in church, we decided to try it out. Unfortunately, we didn't get the prime seats and sat on the very back row against the wall. I had also secretly prayed that he please sit still and not make a scene and came loaded with a bag of quiet food, books and entertainment. Unfortunately, he wasn't so good after the singing. We were right next to the guy recording the service so Vincent wanted to touch every button. I took him out once, twice, a third time and then just stayed in the nursery with him. For the evening service we decided to sit in a pew closer to the front with less space to move. Did I mention he was rolling, ROLLING around in the floor like a child before they learn to crawl at the a.m. service? We had a BIG talk before going in to the church and I thought, this will be easy. Not so much. Seriously, 5 minutes into your dad's sermon, your mom and I both said "NO" at the same time and our NO's were not in church voices. I thought he was flipping though the Bible and your mom and I looked down just in time to catching him trying to out the pages. I went ahead and took him to the nursery and explained to hime that it would be a while before we tried this again. Our church here in Tallassee has children's church until the 5th grade which I have always thought ridiculous and kids should be able to sit in church by 4. And there are no little kids during service. I have been longing for him to sit with Josh and me as a family, but after our LA experience, I have happily dropped him off with his friend's and gone into church with a BIG smile on my face!!!

Happy Birthday!

Love you,

Anonymous said...

What a fun post to read. That is wonderful that Grace did so well her first time. I know different churches have different ages for Childrens church and each parent has to decide when their child is ready, but you don't know when they are ready until you try it. So hopefully other members of the church will be patient as young children are taking that step, and also parents will use good judgment as to when to remove them if they are too unorderly. Great Job Grace!!