somasoul
02-11-2007, 12:49 PM
The following is a letter I sent after a recent church visit my wife and I had? Most of you will find this amusing..........or disturbing.............or both.


Hello & Greetings!

I wanted to send word to you about a recent visit we had at a Calvary Chapel in Baltimore.

My wife and I and our three children had recently moved and we were "shopping" for a new church. We had visited several in the last few weeks but had not found one we liked. We used the internet to track down Calvary Chapel and attended there this morning. We were very excited by the web page and what it presented.

Inside we found a large facility and nice little rooms for the children's ministry. Our son is 6 and often likes to play with other children so we put him in with the first graders. However, our three year old daughter and 17 month old son came to service with us.

We sat down and the music was lively and good. After about 10 minutes an usher came up to my wife and informed her that children were not allowed in the service and that they would be better suited to "age appropiate" teaching in the children's ministry. My wife told the usher that she would not leave our small children with people she didn't know nor had ever met before. She also said that if it is a problem that we just wouldn't come back. But we stayed for service not wanting to take our son out of the children's ministry.

The usher left and we continued to worship. However, several minutes later he came back and told us he was quite serious that my wife must leave and children were very definetly not appreiciated in service. My wife told him again that she had no desire to leave our small children with people she had never met. The usher said she could stay in the nursery with the children if she so chose. To which my wife replied she would have no reason to come to church to simply watch her own children, she could do that at home!

So my wife and I came to the agreement that we should just leave. We told the usher, who was still sitting with us, that "we'll leave and just never come back" to which he responded "Okay". She (my wife) had no desire to attend a church that has no love for children, and I had no love for a church that would so willingly cast new members out the door. I want you to be quite sure of how serious I am when I say that the usher had no problem casting us out the door, nor how apathetic he seemed when we said we simply would not return. There was never any harsh words between the usher and us, everything was eerily polite and non-chalant.

We picked up our son. On the way out the usher said "I'm sorry". We thought the thing silly. "Sorry"? For what? We had nothing invested in your church when we walked in and we left with nothing but aghast feelings that a church thought nothing of us leaving their doors not knowing if we were believers or not, without knowing the salvation of our souls.

I shudder to think why it is "Okay" that we leave and never come back. I'm utterly dismayed at the lack of Christian character and hospitality. A church with a policy from on high to eject new parishoners? What would happen if I was unsaved? Or if I was a member and you treated a friend or family member I had invited in this way? Most churches spend thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of hours coming up with ways to get people in the seats. Amazing that within 15 minutes you emptied 6 places at your church's table.

Needless to say we won't be coming back. My thoughts are simply this: If you want some sort of exclusive club, go for it. More power to you. But if a visitor shows up at your doors and thinks less of God because of the way your church behaves; and if said visitor holds your actions against myself and against salvation, then you've begun to work against the very precepts set forth at the dawn of all creation.

Any written policy your churches' may have that could prevent someone from reaching salvation; those policies be damned.

Thank you for all your time,
Timothy Baer

terrasin
02-11-2007, 03:37 PM
I have two reactions to this, the first is that I agree to an extent that children should go to a class during worship that is more suited for their age. It's both to the advantage of the kids to be part of something that is meant for them where they won't get bored and actually learn and the advantage of the adults as you don't have screaming/crying children disrupting service. This is a problem we are working on in our own church as the kids sometimes get very out of hand and it's very irritating during service and prayer.

On the other end of this, you were new, you had no reason to trust your kids with strangers and they should have appreciated this fact. You should not be subject to their suggestion to remove the kids from worship and there should be no issue if the kids are behaving themselves and keeping quiet. Maybe the usher was having a bad day, in any event, I'd be interested to hear the reply if they even bother.

CJ

alorian
02-11-2007, 03:57 PM
On the other end of this, you were new, you had no reason to trust your kids with strangers and they should have appreciated this fact. You should not be subject to their suggestion to remove the kids from worship and there should be no issue if the kids are behaving themselves and keeping quiet. Maybe the usher was having a bad day, in any event, I'd be interested to hear the reply if they even bother.

CJ

*Nods*

And I, too, would be interested to hear the reply, if they even bother.

DarkestRose
02-11-2007, 05:25 PM
At my church, parents can hold on to their babies, toddlers, and children during the service if they want to. If the younger children started crying, there is a cry room where the parents can politely go to in order to keep from disrupting the service, yet they won't miss out on praise & worship or the sermon. The church has a nursery, Sunday school classes, and children's services, but they aren't forced to attend if they'd rather sit with their parents. I don't think we've ever had a problem with children misbehaving or being distracting.

I think children in the main service is such a small matter for a church to be so demanding about it. Unless they were actually disrupting the service, I think their presence at the service should have been overlooked if not welcomed.

dawn of light
02-11-2007, 06:20 PM
That's ridiculous. I'm curious as to how large the church was, lot's of big churches don't really care if they lose potential members because to them it's all about the numbers not the people.

At my church, parents can hold on to their babies, toddlers, and children during the service if they want to. If the younger children started crying, there is a cry room where the parents can politely go to in order to keep from disrupting the service, yet they won't miss out on praise & worship or the sermon. The church has a nursery, Sunday school classes, and children's services, but they aren't forced to attend if they'd rather sit with their parents. I don't think we've ever had a problem with children misbehaving or being distracting.
This is very similar to my church. Most of the parents love to leave their children in the classes because it gives them a break and they can really focus on the service. But it's unrealistic to expect and demand that parents should leave their children with strangers especially if they're new to the church.

It would have been nice in your case, Tim, if the usher had offered to show you and your wife where the children's classes were, just in case you hadn't known. But seriously he should've left you alone after that. It's kind of interesting that the usher left and then came back to insist that the children be removed from the service; it makes me think he went to consult with a "higher power" in the church.

somasoul
02-11-2007, 07:01 PM
I have two reactions to this, the first is that I agree to an extent that children should go to a class during worship that is more suited for their age. It's both to the advantage of the kids to be part of something that is meant for them where they won't get bored and actually learn and the advantage of the adults as you don't have screaming/crying children disrupting service. This is a problem we are working on in our own church as the kids sometimes get very out of hand and it's very irritating during service and prayer.

But how do you enforce this type of policy? The only way to enforce anything is with threat of physical FORCE. (Thus enFORCE.

This is the bind the church we were at today found themselves in. They had a rule. The rule requires enforcement. The enforcement of said rule operates in an unChrist-like manner. Thus, the rule itself, is oppossed to Christian values because there is no way to enforce it in a way Christ would.

I want to say that my kids were behaving. My daughter was standing on a chair watching the worship band and my son was in my wife's arms. Both were silent. If either of them even begins to act up my wife leaves until they settle down.

At my church, parents can hold on to their babies, toddlers, and children during the service if they want to. If the younger children started crying, there is a cry room where the parents can politely go to in order to keep from disrupting the service, yet they won't miss out on praise & worship or the sermon. The church has a nursery, Sunday school classes, and children's services, but they aren't forced to attend if they'd rather sit with their parents. I don't think we've ever had a problem with children misbehaving or being distracting.

I've been in lots of services with lots of kids and most of the time the kids are suprisingly well behaved. Children cannot be expected to behave like adults so when kids act up in church and their parents insist on staying in service with crying baby or a toddler throwing a tantrum, then it's the parents who are acting up, not their children. The parents need to be responsible to remove young children. Children should be permitted to stay in service, and it should be encouraged that they share in worship with the rest of God's "Children".


It would have been nice in your case, Tim, if the usher had offered to show you and your wife where the children's classes were, just in case you hadn't known. But seriously he should've left you alone after that. It's kind of interesting that the usher left and then came back to insist that the children be removed from the service; it makes me think he went to consult with a "higher power" in the church.

They had mentioned that the pastor was ill, so he didn't go there. What irks me was he made abundantly clear that he wanted the children to leave and if we didn't remove them he could care less if we left. This principal is diametrically opposed to the Christian faith as well. The idea that you need to follow man's rules before God's rules is absurd.

terrasin
02-11-2007, 10:28 PM
But how do you enforce this type of policy? The only way to enforce anything is with threat of physical FORCE. (Thus enFORCE.

This is the bind the church we were at today found themselves in. They had a rule. The rule requires enforcement. The enforcement of said rule operates in an unChrist-like manner. Thus, the rule itself, is oppossed to Christian values because there is no way to enforce it in a way Christ would.

I want to say that my kids were behaving. My daughter was standing on a chair watching the worship band and my son was in my wife's arms. Both were silent. If either of them even begins to act up my wife leaves until they settle down.
In the case of our church, our pastor had a talking to with the children who were causing the distractions and also with the parents about their kids acting up during service. He did this in private as well as to not put them on the spot or embarrass them in front of the congregation.

If the issue continues and no action is taken by the parties, I'm sure that they would kindly be asked to leave. It's a respect issue for the most part; yes, we should respect these families, but they should also respect the people that may be disrupted by their children's behavior. And sadly, when it comes down to it, if it came to us losing several people over asking a particular family to leave because they wouldn't control their children, well, we wouldn't allow that to happen.

However, if your children aren't acting up and they aren't misbehaving, then there is no issue. You cannot force a parent to send their children to a class. While it would be beneficial to the kid since the class is more designed for them, it shouldn't be mandatory.

CJ

timmyrotter
02-11-2007, 10:55 PM
policy is policy... i understand why you are upset, most would be. but the pastor has a vision for his church, and that is the way it is. all these church politics make me hate organized religion. anyway, obviously that church isnt right for you, but for some who dont like being distracted by children, it may be just right.

asparagus
02-12-2007, 02:13 PM
Did you get a response from the church?

Thanks,
Alex

forceflow17
02-12-2007, 03:20 PM
policy is policy... i understand why you are upset, most would be. but the pastor has a vision for his church, and that is the way it is. all these church politics make me hate organized religion. anyway, obviously that church isnt right for you, but for some who dont like being distracted by children, it may be just right.

all I will say is

Matthew 19:13-14 Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

NASB

Quadripedman
02-12-2007, 03:40 PM
honestly, that is pretty stupid. the church that i have gone to some, the pastor WANTS the kids to come. She even has a special "kid" time thingie, and talks to them and stuff. and if the kids arent acting up i mean, its not like "agh! there are children here where there arent anywhere else! the are upsetting my attention with their paying attention to God!"

honestly people....

and yea^^ that pretty much sums it up.

(the church i was talking about has less than 40 members in it so i guess that has part of something.)

DarkestRose
02-12-2007, 03:48 PM
My mom goes to a Lutheran church. I've visited a few times and they usually have a time when all the kids gather up to the front of the room. The children's minister preaches a little kid sermon for like, five minutes. And then they all go back to their seats. It's a small church too.

But I love the little kids in that church because they're so cute. On Christmas, they were extra cute, and when the pastor was talking about God using people in humble positions for extraordinary things, he goes, "And really, who am I?" and one of the little kids blurts out, "You're Pastor John!" and everyone laughed. It was pretty cute.

timmyrotter
02-12-2007, 03:54 PM
did you guys even read my above post? think about what i said.

we can waste time getting mad at churches, but on a higher level organized religion has gone down the toilet. people are so caught up in the politics of things and have lost sight of what churches are meant to do.

DarkestRose
02-12-2007, 04:07 PM
did you guys even read my above post? think about what i said.

we can waste time getting mad at churches, but on a higher level organized religion has gone down the toilet. people are so caught up in the politics of things and have lost sight of what churches are meant to do.

Well, I think it might help to clarify that a little more because it might depend a lot on one's church experience. I too have moments when I feel disillusioned by the American church as a whole, but my own church has been very adamant about reaching out to the community, helping needy church memembers and such. It's a small church, but has a very visionary-reach-out-to-the-world sight.

So first off, do you have a definition of organized religion, so I know what you're talking about? Because I don't see organization as all bad, depending on how it's used. It might also help to know, when you mean politics, do you mean the churches proclivity toward the conservative Republican side? Just church policies in general?

Tromos
02-12-2007, 07:12 PM
Bring on the children.

If you're too uptight to have the kids in service with you, then you've got bigger problems then not being able to concentrate on the message.

For once (:P ) Tim, I am in total agreement with you and I stand up and applaud your wife and her loyalty to her children.

somasoul
02-13-2007, 02:07 PM
Did you get a response from the church?

Thanks,
Alex

I sent out two emails. One to Calvary Chapel's main headquaters in California (or somewhere) and one to the church I visited. I have not received a reply.

I think this church's policy reflects more of what's going on behind their doors. Obviously someone has an agenda (DON'T WE ALL!!!) and they are using their power to control certain aspects of the church.


policy is policy... i understand why you are upset, most would be. but the pastor has a vision for his church, and that is the way it is.

I agree. Pastors should be able to direct their church's vision. Maybe I'm wrong on the whole thing. What concerns me isn't the "No Children in Service" thing, it's that they cast us out the door not knowing the state of our salvation. That is the troubling thing, more than anything else. What is concerning is the lack of a welcoming attitude. They didn't welcome children in service and they didn't welcome us into their church. That type of attitude is what turns people off from church...........and salvation.

DarkestRose
02-13-2007, 02:23 PM
What concerns me isn't the "No Children in Service" thing, it's that they cast us out the door not knowing the state of our salvation. That is the troubling thing, more than anything else. What is concerning is the lack of a welcoming attitude. They didn't welcome children in service and they didn't welcome us into their church. That type of attitude is what turns people off from church...........and salvation.

That is really disturbing to me as well. A youth pastor at my church has a brother who refused to come to any Christian church because of a bad visiting experience he had at another church. And it's despairingly frustrating.

BondageDuck
02-13-2007, 03:24 PM
I have two reactions to this, the first is that I agree to an extent that children should go to a class during worship that is more suited for their age. It's both to the advantage of the kids to be part of something that is meant for them where they won't get bored and actually learn and the advantage of the adults as you don't have screaming/crying children disrupting service. This is a problem we are working on in our own church as the kids sometimes get very out of hand and it's very irritating during service and prayer.

On the other end of this, you were new, you had no reason to trust your kids with strangers and they should have appreciated this fact. You should not be subject to their suggestion to remove the kids from worship and there should be no issue if the kids are behaving themselves and keeping quiet. Maybe the usher was having a bad day, in any event, I'd be interested to hear the reply if they even bother.

CJ

I sincerely doubt the usher was "having a bad day." This letter amused me because guess what? The same thing happened to me at Calvary of Albuquerque when we first moved here 8 years ago. We had friends visiting from out of town, & we were still in the process of finding a church so we decided to check it out. Our friends had two small children &--same as you, Tim--did not want to leave them with strangers. They were only there visiting us. Their kids are VERY well behaved; they grew up in church services. However, within minutes we were asked to leave by an usher. It was the same thing--he did not care when we left, & never even apologized. It was rude, & incredibly ridiculous. It's not as if the kids were acting up or anything. I was apalled.

It almost sounds as if this is a "corporate rule" for Calvary.

DarkestRose
02-13-2007, 03:35 PM
I sincerely doubt the usher was "having a bad day." This letter amused me because guess what? The same thing happened to me at Calvary of Albuquerque when we first moved here 8 years ago. We had friends visiting from out of town, & we were still in the process of finding a church so we decided to check it out. Our friends had two small children &--same as you, somasoul--did not want to leave them with strangers. They were only there visiting us. Their kids are VERY well behaved; they grew up in church services. However, within minutes we were asked to leave by an usher. It was the same thing--he did not care when we left, & never even apologized. It was rude, & incredibly ridiculous. It's not as if the kids were acting up or anything. I was apalled.

It almost sounds as if this is a "corporate rule" for Calvary.

That is really weird. My family used to go to Calvary Chapel services. I don't know if the policy was in place because I was always in Sunday school. Hmmm...that feels too coincidental. Not cool though.

BondageDuck
02-13-2007, 03:37 PM
That is really weird. My family used to go to Calvary Chapel services. I don't know if the policy was in place because I was always in Sunday school. Hmmm...that feels too coincidental. Not cool though.

Yeah, it was definitely strange. My friends could not believe it.

dawn of light
02-13-2007, 08:17 PM
So would a Calvary Chapel church be the same as a Calvary Temple? One of the larger churches in the city, Calvary Temple is one of the more respected churches also. I've never been there myself but have heard good things from others.

DarkestRose
02-14-2007, 06:56 AM
I never heard of Calvary Temple, so I don't know, but I think they're different.

Calvary Chapel is a nondenominational church and all the churches affliated with it are called "Calvary Chapel" and use a dove symbol.

theelectric3
02-14-2007, 01:11 PM
i currently attend a Calvary Chapel Sunday mornings and love it. i've never heard of this being a problem (of course the kids do come in for the p&w time and then go to their classrooms for their lesson)...

of course i've never come in with kids (oviously)... but in the time i've been there i have never seen/heard an usher ask someone to leave because of the children factor. i see kids with their parents all the time... and, like it has been stated, as long as they are well behaved it's fine.

somasoul
02-14-2007, 04:17 PM
I'll tell ya. I have talked to people about this all week and most think it's a bad policy. I totally understand if a kid is acting up...........running around, screaming, crying. It's totally appropiate to say "Excuse me ma'am, you're going to have to leave service until your child calms down.

Now that I look back on it I've been treated poorly at several churches.

When I was 15 or so me a bunch, we're talking 10-30 guys, met every friday and saturday night at a local church to play rollar hockey (This was when rollar blades were still cool). Anyway, we met at this Catholic Church with a nice lot and we played rollar hockey. Didn't use drugs or anything, no beer. We did this for two years. The second year the Pastor or Priest called the cops on us and the cops removed us. We tried to go talk to him but he slammed the door on us. Some of those kids went to church there and more than one went to school there (elementary and middle school).

If I had been the Pastor I would have gone out with Lemonade and talked to the kids. Tried to get them involved in the church.

I have another bad church experience as well. This post is long enough so I'll post it later.

BarlowgIRL
02-17-2007, 07:17 PM
Yeah, the hq is in California. I know that Calvary will look in to it cause that's just what they do....;) I dunno, that doesn't sound like Calvary Chapels to me. So don't discard all Calvaries. At any rate they shouldn't have done that. My Calvary lets the kids stay in the Sanctuary if the parent wants them to.

kittygirl
02-18-2007, 02:23 PM
that wouldn't be accepted in my church, because my pastor actually encourages the kids to participate with prophecy, laying on hands, prayer, worship, etc. And during the service, the kids usually have coloring books, or something of that sort if they want to do something else. Also, it's downtown, so occasionally, we have homeless people in the service, so my pastor also encourages watching your kids...at all times.