I know you.
You’re the one who brought the baby to church. The one who sneaks in just before service starts, slipping inconspicuously into the back row, and praying that you can avoid the stare down. You figure-eight sway with him or her during the worship music; that’s the easy part. Once the service quiets down, your baby breaks the silence. In vain you shhhsh your little one, who is growing increasingly more vocal. Before the pastor has finished his introduction, you’re making a beeline for the door with an enormous diaper bag and squirmy baby in tow. As you wait in the hallway for the service to end, you wonder if it’s worth it.
I know you because I’m one of you.
And, parents, we are doing such an important work.
It doesn’t feel like it, but wrangling your bundle of joy into the house of the Lord is life-giving to your soul.
Believe me, I get the discouragement that comes with bringing babies to church. You never feel like you’re fully present. It’s hard to keep a baby mentally simulated enough for you to spare brain cells and focus. Even if your child bounces happily off to the nursery (mine currently doesn’t), you are functionally “on call” the entire time. After the service, you’re eyeing the clock to see how long you have before naptime or mealtime or bedtime or whatever time it is that your kiddo might meltdown next.
But can I tell you something?
There isn’t any other place on a Sunday that your child should rather be than with God’s people. Psalms 127 tells us that our children are arrows, meaning they are given to us by God to be sent back out again on His mission. The local church is a means of grace God has provided to us to sharpen His little arrows. Start them young. Build the routine of gathering with other believers into the rhythm of life. Be faithful in the little things with your little guys and God will bless you. He promised. He is mighty to save, and He is mighty to redeem the time spent bringing babies to church.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.