Fill The Pew With Your Kids

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Fill The Pew With Your Kids

By Courtney Chambers
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like everyone around is staring at you? Either you did something embarrassing, or your kids are acting too crazy in front of others. Being a mom of three kids, all under the age of eight, I have felt this more than once. I have entered the grocery store more times than I can count, with people telling me my hands are full. I have had to handle tantrums and sad kids as others other’s watch, and I have broken up more fights than I can count in public.
Knowing this, you would think I was prepared to tackle church solo with three kids. The reason why I say solo is because my husband is preaching each Sunday.
I remember my first few services with all three kids with me, and I told my husband I could not do this. It was too hard, and I couldn’t listen to the sermon. I felt all I did was whisper discipline during the sermon. I felt defeated in every way as a mom and pastor’s wife. In my mind, it would have been simpler if I didn’t have to bring all the kids with me to fill the pew because I could focus and have some time to myself.
I was chasing what was convenient while abandoning the calling of parenthood. Filling the pew with my children each Sunday is hard because it requires work. I forgot that this kind of work is God’s exact calling to each parent. Instead of feeling embarrassed and frustrated when we bring our kids to church, I want us to rejoice and find joy in it. I believe there are a few steps we can take to accomplish this.

Remember our calling

God ordained for me to be the parents of the children I have. In my uniqueness and their uniqueness, he put us together in a household for his glory. What a calling we have! We have been told since the Old Testament the importance of teaching and training our children in the ways of the Lord. This means in our home, we preach and teach Jesus, and when we are out and about, we preach and teach Jesus. Our words, lives, and actions will reflect and teach our children this.
Filling the pews with our children is one way to live out our calling. We have the privilege to join other believers each week to worship God through songs, fellowship, and teaching. When our children stand next to us in the church service, they see their parents worship the Lord, and we can teach them about this. We can teach our kids while our local churches partake in the ordinances like the Lord’s Supper. When we fill the pews with our children, we can fulfill our calling by God to teach and train our children in His teaching. We might have to discipline, and we might have to correct, but each time we do so, we are pointing our children back to the Savior that they need in their lives.

Remember God’s grace

I have spent many Sundays sweating way too hard as I wrestle my boys to stay calm. My husband has verbally sent me sympathy from the pulpit as I try to quietly get the kids settled while he is preaching. In these moments, I can feel anger and embarrassment if I am not careful. I don’t want people to see me struggle, yet I am weak. I need to cling to God’s grace and mercy in these moments. I am trying to fix a situation I cannot; I am feeble and in need of my strong Savior. My yoke is a burden I cannot bear, so instead of trying to be independent, I need to be dependent on my Savior.
While wrestling my children to be calm in the pew, I need to cling to the gospel. My boys do not yet believe in Christ, and what they need the most is the gospel. I am bringing them to church not because it is what we do or because their dad is the pastor. I bring them to church so they can be surrounded by other believers and see and hear the gospel. It is an opportunity for my children to listen to the gospel, which can save their souls. I need to remind myself of this as I struggle in the pew. The gospel changed my life, and it can change theirs. God’s grace was poured out on me so I can pour grace on my kids and point them to Jesus in my weakest moments. We can press on when we remember this truth as we sit in the pews with our children.

Find help in your local church

I have always prided myself on being a strong, independent person. I can drive with my kids out of town to visit family without a problem. In college, I traveled to Africa by myself to live with missionaries I never met. Asking for help was never a thing for me because I could do it myself. Pride in myself, however, never ends well. I cannot do everything. I fail, and I am weak. God created me to need him, but also to need my local church.
This reality hit me as we faced sicknesses and babies. I couldn’t be the supermom I intended to be. Sometimes, we need to turn to our church family for help. I have had to ask people to help with my children. This humbles me and hurts my pride when I have to, but this is what the church is for. We need each other, and we are there to help each other.
As I sit in the pew with my children, I can seek help from local church members. I can lean on the body for strength as I sit and point my kids to Christ at church. I am not a bad mom if I ask others to help me with my kids while we sit in the pew. When I humble myself to needing others’ help, it serves me and provides the body to use its gifts to serve. We don’t enter the church to be presented as perfect, well-kept people for others to look at; no, we enter the church as people in need of our Savior and desperate to learn. Leaning on the body for help on Sunday mornings is one way to display our need for the church body.
Coming to church on Sunday mornings and filling the pews with our children can be stressful and make many parents worried about the what-ifs. I want to encourage us all to forget the what-ifs and cling to the truths of Scripture. God called us to train our children in the ways of the Lord, and he provided us with help through the local church body. Instead of dreading the time in the pew with your children, let’s rejoice that the Gospel changes us and allows us to do so!
Courtney is a pastor’s wife and mom of three living in northeast Missouri. Courtney has a Bachelor’s in World Missions and a Master’s in Biblical Counseling.  Courtney is passionate about biblical theology and reaching the next generation. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and baking. You can find her @courtneyrchambers and @thereformedlife

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