The Church, The Industrial Revolution and The Family

What do the three things above have to do with each other? A lot it seems.

Have you noticed that the body of Christ in many, particularly larger churches, has morphed into a series of “departments”: children’s, youth, men’s, women’s, singles and etc. Sadly this is also, too often, reflected in worship services. Children have their own “Children’s Church”, youth have theirs and so on.

I am told that many modern parents don’t want to be annoyed by their children in church.

To be honest, this is a tragic state of affairs and the church can only be poorer for it. The church should be the epitome of an integrated, mutually dependent body, functioning for each other’s good and promoting the Kingdom as one in the world – not a loose connection of independent limbs.

Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times

The industrial model may work well on assembly lines but not the church. The older members need to be reminded of the calling they have to nurture the young through word and example. The young remind the older members of the wonder and naïveté of faith. We need each other. We weren’t meant to be separated – just as a family is not meant to be compartmentalised.

Of course there are times when separate activities are sound and worthwhile, but this shouldn’t characterise the church. To have integrated worship services and activities can be difficult. It requires us to think carefully about the needs of each member and their relationship to the whole. But isn’t that the very challenge that makes it worthwhile! And finally, how many Sunday Schools, Youth services, and specialist departments can you find in the New Testament. I could only find one, the Deacons.

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Categories: christian, Christianity, Church, Devotional, Faith, Family, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “The Church, The Industrial Revolution and The Family

  1. Do I hear an Amen!

  2. God’s timing is awesome! Your daughter Kathryn was just at my house for dinner and we were discussing this very situation. I’ve been researching starting a not-for-profit youth ministry in Zürich and through my research came to the revelation that we are doing youth ministry, sunday school ministry, etc, all wrong. As you said, age segregated ministry has it’s place but it certainly should NOT be the norm. Children, teens, etc, must see authentic faith lived out in their parents (youth leaders as described in the Bible) both in the home, where discipleship should be happening, and in a corporate setting as well. I believe we are doing the future of the church more harm than good with age segregated, program-based ministry. The solution is not likely going to be easy to come by, but we must make some changes. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Hi Will, providence at work! It is a topic of real interest in the Stok home and beyond. It has actually left us in a quandary in the “church department”. An interesting video is http://vimeo.com/26098320. I believe it overstates the case and is not very balanced, but in the process comes up with a variety of interesting resources. Also the “Child Theology ” movement headed by people such as Marcia Bunge ( a Lutheran from Valparaiso University in the US) has some great things to say. All the best in your research. I would love to hear about your conclusions.

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