Attention Living Stoners –
Starting this Sunday there is a new space available for parents who are dealing with a noisy child! We have converted my old office (through lobby…1st door on your left) into a new space we are calling The Little Theatre. In it we have closed circuit T.V. (flat screen even 🙂 ) that will allow you to comfort your child AND continue to watch and participate with what is going on in the auditorium.
THE LITTLE THEATRE GUIDELINES:
- The Little Theatre is intended for parents of children who need to attend to them because of noise or distractions.
- The intention of the room is to allow parents to remain engaged with what is happening in the auditorium. Thus it isn’t intended for you to strike up a long conversation with other parents who are trying to listen to the message (we aren’t legalistic about this…it isn’t a library…but…you get the spirit of this).
- The room is not intended for you to take your cell phone call.
- The room is not intended for those who come to church late and don’t want to walk into the auditorium.
- The room is not intended for other adults (or teens, or animals, etc.) to sit in there with no apparent reason for being there. 🙂 (plus…that just makes nursing mothers feel creedp’d out!)
Jennae Gee has done an awesome job of coordinating the whole thing in ONE WEEK’S TIME!!! Many people have volunteered to come up and help paint the room and get it ready. Matt Hooton has wired us up for the closed circuit TV capabilities. It has been phenomenal to watch in such a short space of time. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has helped.
I know this is a shift for us in regards to recent expectations and conversations. If I might, let me share the motivation behind some of these shifts:
- We love your children. We offer a children’ ministry BECAUSE we love your children. When children’s ministry stuff is going on…your child should participate. Why? 1) Because of what they are learning and experiencing in the children’s ministry. They are learning and hearing about Jesus and God’s love for them!; 2) It allows you either a parental break (which everyone needs) or some freedom from distraction to pay attention to the message; 3) It keeps your child from distracting those around you who are trying to listen to the message…or keeps your child from distracting the preacher who is trying to deliver the message; 4) the message delivered is intended for an adult-environment/setting.
- Distractions come in many forms. You may have a well-behaved baby…but if they are cute (and what baby isn’t cute?)…everyone wants to coo and stare at the cute baby! Why? Because cute babies are funner (is that a word?) to watch than the “not-as-cute-as-those-little-babies” preacher.
- We have had some good and honest feedback from recent guests who left very distracted by the level of noise created by children in the auditorium during the message.
- This is a change in culture for us. In the past we have been very loose in our expectations of children and where they are at any given time. As we have grown and the number of children in our church has exponentially increased, we have discovered the need to rethink this.
- We aren’t legalistic about this. There are exceptions. Situations like new guests with kids who don’t know us and aren’t ready to hand their kids off to the children’s ministry, or a child who for whatever reason, just isn’t going to make it in class that day…we understand. BUT if a child does become disruptive…thanks to The Little Theatre…there is now a place to go and still remain engaged.
- As the preacher, I can literally watch the church turn from anything I have to say to watching a noisy (happy or sad noises) child. (The layout of our auditorium [long and narrow] is so not helpful in covering over distractions). From my vantage point, it is a sight to behold. I could be talking about flying unicorns who live on a distant planet that eat pickles and wild berries – and at the moment no one would even know 🙂
- I believe people need to hear the Word of God. And if they can’t, or if they miss something crucial because of distractions, we keep people from potentially taking an important step in their faith.
So there it is. I know a lot for one blog post. Announcement: new room! Expectations for new room. And some emerging family issues we needed to address (as every functional [and not so functional] family needs to do from time to time).
See you Sunday.
P.S. If you are single (and it isn’t all about singles)…but if you are…you should be there…and bring your single friends. And yes…we are still talking about sex. Which often times produces children. Hey speaking of which…starting this Sunday we have a new room… (where is my ADD medication?) 🙂