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elder complaining about my children in church

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elliejjtiny Thu 23-Jul-15 15:45:42

We go to a small Baptist/evangelical church, 18 adults and 6 children. The sunday school is at a separate time to the services so on sunday morning the dc are all there. 5 of them are mine, 1 belongs to someone else. Children are aged between 13 month and 9 years. The older ones (7 and 9) sit with books, colouring etc. Younger ones have a box of quiet toys at the back and we try and keep them as quiet as possible. Any crying/arguing we take them out but sometimes they make happy noises and that's ok as far as I'm concerned. They are a lot quieter than in a lot of other churches I've been to but they're not silent, they are children after all.

One of the elders has had a moan to everyone except us and the other parents about the noise. He has decided to flounce off to another church where there are no children and he's going to make a big announcement at the prayer meeting tonight. One of the other members phoned me today to give me a bit of an advanced warning and to say that he doesn't agree with the elder. I don't know what the others think.

I don't know what to do. I'm tempted to move churches myself but this one is so close and I don't drive [lazy emoticon]. Also I think why should I move, when we haven't done anything wrong. Has anyone else experienced this? The ironic thing is that he keeps praying in church for more people to come. He doesn't seem to realise that if more families start coming the children will be louder than ours because they won't be used to keeping quiet for an hour and a half.

UptheRhine Thu 23-Jul-15 15:52:32

Mattthew 19:14.

flagnogbagnog Thu 23-Jul-15 15:55:22

I'm afraid the attitude of the elder is completely wrong and he needs to get a grip! In the early days of the church I'm sure there were children everywhere. At Pentecost the bible says 3000 people were added to their number in one day!
I'd love your elder to come to my church! He'd have a fit I'm sure, there are about 80 of us, and atleast 25 are young children. The noise is constant! But it's encouraged. Children in the church are as important as any other person. Yes there are occasional grumbles about the noise they make but our pastor will soon put a stop to it. Her view is that one of the reasons why numbers are falling in church is because they are so stuffy and not child friendly!
I have 4 children and it's important to me that they have a christian foundation and when they grow up they can decide for themselves. I'm pretty sure they would be deciding against church if their experience was of being shushed and pushed to the back all the time.

Does the elder you mention have children or grandchildren of his own?

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 23-Jul-15 15:57:56

What a Christian attitude!

Pancakeflipper Thu 23-Jul-15 16:03:38

He's part of the reason churches close. Churches need families and people of all ages to have a future. Churches do need those with plenty of time in the day (tends to be the retired) but need younger ones to secure a future and also attract other families and make it grow.

And there's a need for quieter worship.

Maybe the church needs to rethink its services.
But you shouldn't stop going.

I wonder if this person have always been a tricky type.

RandomMess Thu 23-Jul-15 16:06:34

It's his problem, it's an all age service. Would he complain if someone fell asleep and snored, someone with SN was being noisy?????

elliejjtiny Fri 24-Jul-15 11:10:24

Thankyou. Yes, he's always been a tricky type. He's got children, grandchildren and great grand children so he must know that children make noise. He can flounce if he likes, I'm staying put.

heylilbunny Tue 04-Aug-15 20:06:04

Our church has about 1200 families, a school, a nursery, a teen center, sports teams and lots of youth ministry. We are constantly growing, children are as much church members as anyone else.

Muskey Tue 04-Aug-15 20:14:43

Our parish priest always says he is happy when dc make a noise in church that way he knows their parents are in church.

elliejjtiny Wed 05-Aug-15 20:50:10

Thankyou. Harsh words were exchanged on Sunday and 2 more people have said they aren't coming to the morning service anymore, just the evening one where the younger children don't attend. He told DH that he thought children should be banned from the service on Sunday morning. The mum of the other child was very upset on Sunday. The whole thing makes me feel very uncomfortable. People were making suggestions, saying maybe DH and I and the other couple should take it in turns to stay at home with the children. But I want my children to be able to go to church too, surely that isn't too much to ask?

Hellionandfriends Wed 05-Aug-15 21:01:11

What awful people. Every church I have known has has family friendly services in the morning and quieter early evening services. As a child I also had a tough time from elders. They wanted me to be a good example to all the other children, attending kids services, obeying men folk and wearing long skirts! I thought differently though

madhairday Wed 05-Aug-15 22:47:30

That's truly dreadful. They obviously want their church to die, then sad and to suggest you stay home? That's all sorts of wrong. That's implying children don't matter and are unable to join with worship. I'd point him to how Jesus reacted to children ...

How do you feel about this church in general? They're not coming across as terribly nurturing and outward looking, or is it only these characters? Would you consider looking elsewhere to somewhere who welcome and love children?

GrouchyKiwi Wed 05-Aug-15 22:59:08

That's very sad. Children are part of the covenant family and absolutely belong in church.

Is it worth getting everyone together on a weekday to discuss it all?

Hellionandfriends Wed 05-Aug-15 23:22:33

I think its worth discussing the issue with the pastor and letting him/her sort it out.

BackforGood Wed 05-Aug-15 23:30:21

How strange.
Surely the answer is to have the children in for 15mins or so at the start of the service, then for them to have their own -age appropriate - worship in another room alongside.
i think too many people dismiss the difficulty that a lot of people have hearing, too readily.
tbh, I can't see that many dc enjoying being hushed and trying to entrtain themselves quietly for an hour and a half, and i can't see the parents getting a lot out of the worship either.
So why not set up a rota for Junior Church leading alongside the quieter adult worship time?

PurpleDaisies Wed 05-Aug-15 23:36:46

I agree with backforgood. This is what we do at our church and the kids really enjoy being able to play games, do craft and learn from the bible in a way that they can understand. I'm sure the parents enjoy not having to keep them quiet for an hour as well. There are lots of resources that mean planning doesn't have to take a long time.

I think a good chat with the pastor is definitely a great idea and perhaps he can work out how to set this up or how church can work better for everyone (including the kids).

dragonfly007 Wed 05-Aug-15 23:47:08

I wouldn't attend a church where my children weren't valued, nor would I attend if there needs weren't considered and catered for, sitting them at the back to play quietly is too much to ask of most children.

I go to church to praise our Lord, that's not something that i can be do quietly or tunefully :-)

dinkywinkey Wed 05-Aug-15 23:59:11

Agree with other pp - children should be welcomed into the church. At our church, the children stay for the first 20 minutes of hymns and communion and then go to childrens church to be taught bible stories while Pastor gives his sermon.

I would certainly speak to your Pastor before deciding what you do.

elliejjtiny Thu 06-Aug-15 17:00:09

Thanks everyone. The pastor (we call him an elder) is one of the people who have flounced, sorry if that wasn't clear. We have 2 elders so I can talk to the other one. I suggested having activities for the children in another room but people said it wasn't good enough as the noise would travel and they would still be able to hear them.

Floralnomad Thu 06-Aug-15 17:04:36

if I were you I'd find a more welcoming church .

PurpleDaisies Thu 06-Aug-15 17:06:53

Wow. If I were you I'd be looking for a new church. One with good, faithful bible teaching along with provision for children. That sounds like terrible behaviour from the pastor.

Hellionandfriends Thu 06-Aug-15 21:10:03

What an awful unwelcoming place

Hellionandfriends Fri 07-Aug-15 08:36:43

If it's the pastor flouncing, I'd really question the leadership and how he approaches other things too. It sounds like the pastor needs guidance

whojamaflip Fri 07-Aug-15 08:44:21

This happened to us a few years ago - I was told that my children were no longer welcome at the early morning 1662 service as it was too old fashioned for them and they wouldn't understand it hmm

My arguement was that how were they ever going to learn if they could attend? It was our local church, 5 mins walk up the road, very rural with only about 12 worshipers on an average Sunday.

I was made to feel so uncomfortable that I moved to another village church which positively welcomed children to the point that the vicar would make a point if reassuring parents that he was able to talk above any noise the kids would make- and he did!

The local church has now reduced it's services to twice monthly and sadly looks like it may close through lack of attendancehmm

madhairday Fri 07-Aug-15 13:11:09

The pastor is flouncing? Goodness. I think you'd be best out of there, tbh. It sounds all a bit toxic sadly. Have a look for a lovely welcoming church. There are plenty around smile

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