Dear mother of the baby who won’t stop screaming in church,
I know that it must be hard for you. I’m sure that you feel like everyone in the building is looking at you. Some of them probably are. You want to be a part of the worship service but your baby doesn’t. Where do you draw the line? At what point do you get up to leave?
Well, at least not as quickly as you may think. I realize that there are times when you just have to take your kid out. But at least while I’m preaching, I’d rather your baby and her funny noises stay.
I’ve been preaching long enough to hear my share of annoying and distracting noises during worship services. I’ve heard the sound of older kids whispering. That’s distracting. I wish they would leave.
I’ve heard the sound of cell phones. I’ve heard one go off while Taps was being played at a funeral. I’ve even had a guy answer his phone when it rang during one of my sermons.
“I’m in church. Call back later!”
That was distracting. I wouldn’t have minded if he had left.
I guess this means that I’m not the greatest preacher in the world but I’ve even heard the sound of sleeping while I preach. You know, loud snores, heads hitting pews and that sort of thing. It would have been okay with me if those folks would have walked out and found the nearest bed.
All of these noises are distracting and annoying. But there is one sound that is even more distracting and annoying and it has nothing to do with your baby.
It’s the sound of silence.
Don’t get me wrong. Silence has its place, especially in a worship service. But I’ve been in plenty of churches where the sound of a crying baby hasn’t been heard in decades, even in what used to be the nursery. When I hear your child cry or make some weird noise, it reminds me that the church has a future.
I can’t think of a better place for your kid to be, as fussy as he is, than in the presence of other believers who are singing songs to Jesus and listening to the preaching of his word.
I am confident that God will give you wisdom on when exactly you need to take your baby and his crazy noises out into the parking lot. In the meantime, don’t worry about distracting me while I preach and certainly don’t worry about the lady who keeps turning around and making devil faces at you.
That cute little bundle of energy, tears and screams will one day be too big to sit on your lap. Maybe later on in life he’ll even be a leader in the very church where he made noises as an infant. If so, I hope that he’ll remember some of what I said years before when he was fussing on a Sunday morning.
If I never hear another cell phone go off again while I’m peaching, that would be okay.
But if I never hear another crying baby while I preach, I don’t know if I could carry on.
So keep your baby in the building. He needs to be a part of what’s happening. And our church needs to be reminded of it’s future.