Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our first visit to a family integrated church

Upon arriving at Grace Family Baptist Church (held in a seventh day adventist gym) the first thing we noticed were several vans, many of which were large 15 passengers! YES, we are in a cool place! A place that will accept our large family and even be genuinely excited to see it/us! How, refreshing! We walk into the building and you can already smell lunch. We sign in as visitors, send children to the restroom, receive bulletins, gather hymnbooks and find seats. As we sit waiting for the service to begin, we read through our bulletins and find a few interesting things that I will share here. There is an order to their worship involving hymns, prayers, scripture (which you stand for) and catechism (baptist version! who knew their was such a thing?) readings. Also they have a hymn of the month, a prayer gram and catechisms that they encourage families to use in their homes during the week. a few quotes: "At GFBC, families stay together." "Children are Welcome" "Don't bother looking for the nursery; we don't have one." "Cooing babies don't bother us one bit." my fav = "If your children are practicing their sin nature, you are welcome to remove them from the room and practice discipline in the back." Then starts the service, a few things I noticed while standing in the back with my Kayson during the very timely, well-spoken message were: several strollers in the aisles next to the parents, I saw three *rods* of correction (I am sure there were more but those are the ones I saw), several women with babies in carriers and one young girl (about 8 or 9) with a baby in one, women (covered) breastfeeding right there *gasp* (that was sarcastic by the way, I think this is an excellent thing!) in front of God and everybody not hidden away like it was something to be ashamed of and how willingly the young girls helped with the siblings and the serving of the lunch. It was all so very refreshing. After the service there was a dinner and then a q&a time where the men could ask questions they had about the sermon.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

children's church musings

Wow, it sure has been a long time since I have written! A lot has happened (most of which can't be disclosed here in a public setting), maybe someday I will be be able to more openly share about and be able to show someone else in a similar situation encouragement and hope but for now the wounds are still too fresh, however I know the Lord will see my family through this and the things He is teaching us now may change our lives forever! We value your prayers as we seek our Heavenly Father's guidance as He shows us His truths! We are learning about what it means to be a family-integrated church and how God sees children. The modern idea of Children's church has bothered me for sometime bc how are children supposed to know what a church service is if they are never in one? you know when I was a child, I attended sunday school and usually children's church on sunday mornings but on sunday nights, wednesday nights and any revivals in between, I was in service, sitting right next to my parents on the bench or when I was little at their feet! :) When I aged out of children's church there was no youth group with seperate services, I was in "big" church. How funny that we have this idea that there is a "big" church and a "little" church. So we have been introduced to this idea of a family-integrated church where there are no age seperations in their services and families worship together. We have been listening to some sermons by pastors of these types of churches and found one in the Houston area, which brings us to this weekend's adventure! As I type I am sitting here in a Houston hotel room, watching Free Willy 2, waiting for little ones to fall asleep. We are excited to be visiting a family integrated church in the morning! I expect to tell you all about it tomorrow on our way home. There is so much more we have been learning and I am still digesting a lot of it so I hope in the weeks to come to share more with all of you.