New "worship experience center:" children not wanted

It seems that 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia will also be holding special services this Sunday. Formerly known as Crossroads Community, the church will have its “grand opening” of their “worship experience center” in two days. According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a high-tech, 2500-seat room has been specially designed to enhance the experience of those who show up.

To that end, congregants are encouraged not to bring children into the worship experience center, where the message and the medium are specifically for adults. Instead, parents may drop off their children in a venue to receive an age-appropriate message and activity.

The church’s chief financial officer, Norwood Davis explains the rationale this way:

A single mom can know her children will be cared for well…. She can relax and connect meaningfully with God, without having to worry about her children. We don’t want a 2-year-old to disrupt anyone’s experience.

Can a parent actually connect with God in a meaningful way if she abdicates the responsibility to train her children to worship the Lord appropriately? And while I am sympathetic to the concern that an unruly child not be allowed to disrupt a worship service, I rather believe that my understanding of what constitutes disruption would differ significantly from Mr. Davis’ view.

The sound of young children cooing and fidgeting should be like music to the ears of God’s people gathered for worship. There is certainly no indication that children were removed from the gathered worship of God’s people in the Bible. In fact, some of the New Testament letters specifically address children, suggesting that it was expected that they would be present when the letters where read (Ephesians 6:1-3, Colossians 3:20).

If a child becomes unruly during gathered worship, he can be removed and lovingly corrected by his father, or mother

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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