This book was sent to me by God! I'm completely serious! I found this book in a thrift shop in Peoria while shopping with my MIL. I was completely blessed by it! I need to give you some background to our situation. My husband is looking for a church as many of you know and we've been to SEVERAL churches in the past year that are looking for a pastor. I don't know how many of you have ever been in this position but as the wife to the potential pastor, this is DIFFICULT!!! Most of these churches do not have a nursery and even if they do have kids programs, Children's church or a nursery, my kids are too scared to go to them due to the strangeness. So they end up with me wherever I am. As a pastor's wife with her man up in the pulpit it is so hard to have her attention split between her husband and her kids. I truly feel a huge responsibility that I need to be there listening attentively to my husband to encourage him by my presence but also to be the first to praise him following the message (and sometimes but not often offer critique - but I do that part much later!). Our church here at home does not have a nursery or children's church and we have battled learning how to sit still in church every single Sunday we are there. If one kid is sitting still, the other is causing problems or is tired or hungry or SOMETHING or just simply being sinful! (Yes, pastor's families do have this problem too!) Our church is a church plant that is meeting in one room with a restroom. There is nowhere for me to take my children out to be disciplined except to the bathroom but trust me, EVERYONE knows or can hear what's going on in there! I was truly at my wits end about my kids in church. I was ready to stop teaching Sunday School just so someone else could take care of my kids so I could hear at least one message without my kids distracting me completely. I was ready to stop going to church because I simply felt we were such a distraction to others around me. I desire for my kids to sit still and be a blessed part of the worship service but alas it was not happening. So when this book popped out at me with it's 0.25 cent sticker price, I was amazed at how God brings things around for us at exactly the right time (and the right price!).
Robbie Castleman has done an amazing job at encouraging frustrated moms (and dads) who struggle with discouragement or the desire of not going to church because they don't get anything out of the service for themselves. She attacked that problem head on and adjusted my terrible view of worship and what it's really about. Her first chapter is entitled, "Daddy, I'd like you to meet my children." I did not quite understand at first what she meant by that but later learned that church is about God (duh you may say, but how quickly we seem to forget this when our kids are being naughty in the pew!). We are coming to church because we want to worship and praise Him. It has NOTHING to do with whether or not I am fed spiritually or whether my children are presenting themselves as the model children. She teaches throughout the book that teaching your kids to be a part of the service in small ways can help train your kids to love church and not just tolerate it or have it be the worst 45 minutes of the week because they have to sit still.
There was a lot in this book that will go far in helping me teach my kids to behave and become a part of the service. But the biggest thing that impacted me was changing my perspective of why I was doing this with my kids. I'm there to worship and to point my kids to worship alongside of me. They still don't sit perfectly still and they talk loudly sometimes during the middle of the sermon, but teaching my kids the joy of pointing to the words in the hymnal or hearing my son praying (loudly I might add) at the same time as the speaker, is really what real worship is all about.
I can't recommend everything in this book - her theology is unpeggable because she tries to reach out to any and all church systems but she definitely nailed it when it came to worshiping God. I must also say that I don't agree on all counts either because I will probably still use children's church and the nursery on occasion simply because I feel that when my husband becomes the pastor, my first priority is to be a helpmeet to my husband when he needs it. But for now, I'm parenting in the pew and loving it! (most of the time! ;-)