At the Lim Ah Pin congregation, we are blessed with many children in our midst, ranging from newborn infants in their parents’ arms, to toddlers taking their first steps, to preschoolers enthusiastically singing Bible songs, to primary school children reciting their memory verses. Inevitably, with all these children comes A LOT of noise – be it the 6-month old infant with a wet diaper and a hungry stomach, to the 4-year old who is upset because the colour pencils are not in order (?!), to the never ending series of “whys” erupting from the 7-year olds mouths, even (and especially!!) during the worship service.
How should we handle all this noise generated by these children? Perhaps we should clamp down on all these sources of noise – make all the children and the parents sit in the room next to the kitchen, or in the rooms away from the main hall. Perhaps we should give dirty looks at parents who just seem to have lost all control over their wailing toddler, until the parents grab their child and run from the room in embarrassment.
Or perhaps we can have a paradigm shift, a change in our mindsets, to recognize that noisy children are a blessing to the church.
Children are a blessing and an inheritance from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). This includes the non-stop crying and screaming bits. A congregation filled with children is one filled with so-much potential – children who will grow up in an environment that teaches them to love God and their fellow men (Matthew 22:37-40).
The parents of these noisy children are also a blessing to the church. They are sleep-deprived and at their wits’ ends as to how to deal with the 10,000th consecutive tantrum in a row, but they are still persisting in bringing their children to worship and doing their very best to teach them that God deserves our praise and glory. They are indeed doing their very best to train up their children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).
The many “uncles and aunties” in the church are also a blessing to the church. They give support and encouragement to struggling parents, and assure them that their SCREAMING children are really no bother at all. They play a role as teachers’ assistants in the children’s classes, especially the cradle roll and nursery, and help to pacify cranky children, so that their parents can have a break and learn something in the adults’ classes. They are a blessing to the church because they are primarily concerned not with their own needs first, but with the needs of these parents and their children (Philippians 2:3-4).
I am so thankful for this congregation, for all the noisy children within it, for all the parents doing their best with their children, for all the “uncles and aunties” who are providing so much support and encouragement. Indeed, noisy children are a blessing to the church!