After diving into a book with this wealth of information I am left with a simple but penetrating question: What now? Reading what I have and seeing the potentially destructive results of age-segregation what am I as a Christian, husband, father, and Pastor to do?
This is not an easy answer for me. As you have read, my family and I are members of a traditionally age-segregated church. I am one of the three Pastors and minister more directly in the areas of Evangelism and Education. This book has done more for my family and me than I can express. It has brought me to a more sobering understanding of how I have failed in my role to my wife and family. This in turn has brought me to a place of sincere repentance and diving more deeply into the Word to answer the questions that now plague me. Each of these questions cannot be answered simply because they branch off and affect more areas than just those mentioned. That you may know how difficult this is for me, let me share just a few:
1) Should I continue to send my kids to Sunday School? If not, how then can I continue to teach in my Sunday School class? Even if I do not teach others this view, my absence from Sunday School will be noticed and have an impact. Am I ready to say that I believe Sunday School is not the biblical way the church should operate?
2) How silent should I remain about our church separating children from their parents during the worship service? While the parents who are there evidently have no problem with it, what about those who are starting to come to our church? Should I simply remain silent so to not cause a division? What if they ask me?
3) I have already admitted that my daughter will not be a part of the youth group when she turns 13 in 2 years. Should I talk with the Youth Director now and explain why? If so, should I advise him against youth group?
4) I have already shared this with my Senior Pastor but he vehemently disagrees. While I have agreed just to remain publically silent about it, how far should I take this? If someone asks, should I tell them why and offer them the “Divided” movie and/or “A weed in the church” to review for themselves?
Each of these has reaching implications and are only a taste of what I am wrestling with. Scott gave his book its title for a good reason, of which has become more evident to me over the past few months. In my meeting with Scott he reiterated this point (paraphrased): “Age-segregation is the weed. When you pull on the weed you will find that its roots are tied to everything else in the church. From the immature activities of the youth to the sweet elderly woman in the nursery who has faithfully served there for decades. From the building itself to the entire church budget. When you pull on the weed, expect opposition.”
And opposition is exactly what I have received. This teaching has not been well received by others. While some appreciate the basic intentions of the book they see them as dangerous and supported not by the teachings of Scripture but by narrative. To be honest, the latter point eludes me. But I have tried to explain what seems to be the clear passages from which this is based only to be told I was wrong and am just inferring what is not really there.
This book has caused an upheaval in my own walk but has left me wondering what to do next. At this point my decision is to stay where the Lord has placed me. I am serving faithfully in this church and will continue to do so until the Lord leads me elsewhere. I am and will continue to submit to the leadership and guidance of my Senior Pastor. My children remain with my wife and I during the worship service but still attend the Sunday School classes. This will prove to be an issue in the coming years though since the youth Sunday School class is basically part of the Youth Group. I remain teaching a Sunday School class myself and have decided to not publically speak out concerning age-segregation. .
However, if anyone asks of me I will tell them of the dangers of age-segregation. I will point them to the Scriptures and exhort them to study it for themselves. I will show them the negative effects it has had on the children in our own church. I will show how divisive it is to the family to remove children during worship. I will point out the immaturity of the youth in our church and how the Youth Group cannot help but add to this problem. I will answer if asked but not to cause division. I believe that the Lord will use my family and I in being an example for others. This decision was not reached easily but I believe, for the time being, it is what the Lord would have my family and I do
As always, do not take my word for this book. Get a copy for yourself, review it, and then ask “What next?”
Thanks for stopping by.
That He may be glorified,
Pastor Adam (and family)