Welcome to Sandals Church…Please Shut That Kid Up


BabypewOK. So that was a WAAAAAAY over exaggerated version of what happened this morning, but the point was made. A point that further clarified why I love my boss. There is no ounce of reservation in this place. Things just fly from his pie hole while we stand in the back of the gym in awe and wonder of what just came out. Then we watch our church soak it in faster than our calloused evangelical domes can handle.
That sentence was long.
9:47 a.m…
Matt Brown preaching…
“And in the book of Isaiah, we don’t even know…”
Now looking at the lady in the front row whose kid is tumbling around and making quite a scene…
“Um. Are you OK? You know ma’am we have lots of wonderful people who would be more than happy to watch your child?”
To which she responded, no. Then gave the child a shaker.

Matt got done preaching 10 minutes sooner than normal. He was pissed. I led the songs and wondered if that really just happened. Did he REALLY stop preaching to call out the woman with the loud kid? Yea. He did. AND THEN he went on to tell the following 2 services that at Sandals, we REALLY love your kids. REALLY we do. And we have spent A LOT of TIME and MONEY to put together a kick ass kids program that your kids will beg you to bring them to every week. And that he does not want to preach another sermon “In Sin” because he is angry at you and your kid. (nervous chuckles)
OK. So he didn’t say “kick ass”, but I bet he wanted to.
What do you and your diverse Ragamuffin minds think?
The main service.
Do you let the babies in? Do you have a bouncer at the door? Do you make 1000 rules that just piss people off?
I have my opinion.
I’ll share in the midst of a good discussion once you give your opinion here.


Author Carlos

More posts by Carlos
  • Pastor Matt is the tits for calling out the lady and her annoying kid, and her sub-par pareting skills by giving her kid a shaker. Which is even more reason to make use of the “kick ass” kids program. The little kids do not listen let alone understand what Matt is saying anyway, so Im all for requiring kids to be put in the program, and the parents too if they need to.

  • Brad Metzger

    We can all assume the mindset of the two people involved: Matt – pissed. Lady – offended. Or not.

    But what about the other 300 or 400 people whose church experience was affected today at Sandals by the loud rattle? or the crying? or the squirming? …. As one of them I can tell you I got virtually nothing out of the service today because of it. I was distracted, annoyed, worried (both for Matt and the people sitting closer than I was to the commotion).

    That’s the problem with the “church is about me” and “no one’s gonna tell me I have to send my kid(s) to the nursery” mentality. It would be a fine mentality if it affected no on else, but as we saw today it affects many people’s experience, not the least of which is the pastor.

  • I too was quite distracted by it during the first service, but that is due to my mass ADD. Still, i love how real Pastor Matt was about it and how he addressed it right there. Definitely parents should send there kids to the programs. I myself am involved in Pipeline, and i think they would be way more ‘entertained’ in the since that they can learn about God more effectively with kids their own age.

  • Well, I wasn’t at the first service but my man was. Later, I asked him about it, since Pastor Matt mentioned it. I was really expecting a demon-possessed child, you know, a kid so bad you’d need to lay hands on them(and I don’t mean a spanking but to call on the Holy Spirit!)…I mean, come on, it would have to be in order for a Pastor to stop his message and call out the mom. In front of everybody. So when I asked Michael, he said, “Eh. It was just a kid being a kid. It was distracting, but not too bad.” Now, this…this is coming from a man with SEVEN kids. Somehow I don’t think he is a credible witness. I’ve seen him snore through a screaming baby and five boys squealing and jumping all over him while they are “watching a movie”. Me, I get distracted when someone drops a pen on the bleachers. Yikes. I feel for Pastor Matt. I totally get what he is saying. But at the same time, if a parent wants to bring their child in with them, they should be able to. How else are our children going to learn how to conduct themselves in a church setting if they aren’t given the opportunity to do so. I belonged to a church where our kids stayed with us during worship and announcements then were excused for sunday school. I loved worshipping with them but I was totally stressed keeping them quiet and in line so they didn’t offend anyone. Nowadays I can’t keep them away from Pipeline because they absolutely love it. And I’ve grown to love my personal worship time without them. And I no longer feel guilty about it. Whenever I see a parent in church with their kids, I smile at them. But it just seems like common sense to sit in the back or to the side where you can make a quick exit if you need to. But not everyone deals on common sense. I wonder if that woman will come back.

  • Jaime Cram

    Is it me or the whole idea of child care is for the “child” to be “cared” for while the parents can actually enjoy a great sermon?? Nothing scientific to me about it. I have a 20 month old toddler boy. Enough said. I would leave church (with the DVD in hand) before I had the pastor call me out. Sunday’s to me are like my meal for the week. It keeps me going-minus the distractions. I was in the second sevice today and I was shocked that someone had there kid “up front”, “making commotion aka: back flips”, “shaking a rattle”, and then refuse awesome child care (go Janie). If I can be REAL with you all…I will…I say she was being inconsiderate to others around her and pastor matt. BUT, the sad thing is that she might have gotten robbed of a good sermon because of this distraction. I hope she comes back and drops off the kid at flip flops. =)

  • I too have a 17 month old. I don’t bring my kid to the service for many reasons. Selfish reasons and also not to distract. I am however against the no children at all kind of church. This makes new people have to make a choice of family or church and most pick church.

    Case in point. Strong christian family with a 17 month old also. In trying to get them to Sandals I figured “Parents Night Out” (GO Janie again!) would be a good start. I was told, my wife won’t leave our kid with somone we don’t know. Now remember, there are people who can’t let their kids sleep in their own rooms and we expect them to seperate at church to people they know very little about?

    Now, if I have to take the kid to church with me. I either sit in the last row or stand near a back door. If the kid won’t stay in my arms, then we are done. I’m not gona be the clog pounding dad following his kid all over the back open area either.

    Let me go even farther. This plays into the area of Church UP-Down’er. You know, the people who got there after the service started but walked down the middle isle and found the open front row. And then got up for a bathroom break halfway through and then maybe left a little early. Wait, that sound like some of Sandals staff. Coming in late because they were working the coffee bar, leave early to copy CD’s or be an usher. Lets all sit in back! I’m not against the people who do the work. I’m not against getting up and down (well except going up in a southern baptist church, I never went to the bathroom unless it was “Touching cotton.”)

  • I see it both ways. I don’t have any kid-o’s but I do wonder if they (that family) will come back. Those programs are in place…and maybe Matt was letting her and everyone else know at a perfect time that you’all have them. Church is still all about community right? For me, kids never seem to bother me, but I always feel sad/nervous for the parents who are usually upset about them making a fuss.

  • I understand when a non-believer comes into the service with a screaming baby because they haven’t been around church life long enough to know how things work. But when a church member is sitting up in the theater letting their kid play with squeak toys and other obnoxious items, then a line needs to be drawn.

  • I know it’s remote… but what if there was a reason this particular lady brought her kid to big church this week? What if her husband just left her or died or she had some other tragedy this past week? Maybe she was seeking God by coming to church but also needed to hang really tight with her family members right now for some reason.

    In general, I think I do like rules about not bringing kids into adult worship. But, I think the way that is worded and presented is VERY important. Words are powerful and help define culture. The “rule” should tell the reason why in a convincing and loving way. Any sign or communication about who is allowed in the worship center is one of people’s earliest impressions about your church, so I must be crafted well.

    Maybe we try our best on wording stuff like this and then test it with a “focus group” to tell us how we are doing. If that sounds too hard… then maybe kids in the worship service aren’t such a big problem.

    Ref: IKEA’s use of signage/wording and “The Tipping Point”

  • I think it was awesome that Pastor Matt said something. Not only was it beneficial to the women to hear, but to the other people there as well. (who might be thinking of bringing there kids in sometime) I was there for the 11:00 service and I think he did a great job of explaining what happened. Being real, it rocks!

  • We have some kids in our church that are notoriously loud and obnoxious. It drives me insane.

    So, how do you go about tactfully telling these people that they need to stop letting their child go nuts during a service? We’re a smaller congregation so I know these people really well and don’t want to damage the relationship.

    Any suggestions?

    I was thinking of making a “child care IS available! RIGHT NOW!” PPT slide, then everytime a kid made a fuss during the service our video guy could display it onscreen.

  • oooooooook i am a bit passionate about this topic so here we go:

    my church puts a ton of money and energy into our children’ program. and they are there in order to teach children about Christ in a way that THEY can have the opportunity to understand. they are loved. they are secure. and most importantly… they are out of your HAIR so you as the parent have the same opportunity to learn and grow. not only are noisy children a distraction to you they are a distraction to the people around you… and obviously the pastor.

    everyone should have a certain level of courtesy and well, common-sense, not to bring your child into a church service if you know they are going to be a distraction from what is going on during service. children are loved… and i know Jesus said, “let the little children come to me” but they can go to Him in children’s church too. 🙂

    ok then.

    (if you are new to the church or have a child with a disability then i understand if you don’t feel comfortable with leaving your child in childcare)

  • At my church in the States the staff is always ready to politely steer parents bringing children into the service to the nursery area. But, if the parents don’t comply, they have a special section near the door for parents with nusery-aged children. It seems to be very effective because I don’t recall ever hearing a disruptive child in church.

    Story about this type of situation … when I was around 5 years old I remember the pastor kicking some pre-teen boys out of a church service. Obviously since I still remember it to this day it had an effect on me and probably every other child/parent in the room. I knew to NEVER even think about being disruptive in church.

    I believe this issue needs to be addressed if it’s in the middle of a service and someone is being distracting. But there also need to be preventative measures in place in order to keep as much peace as possible.

    (As a teacher, I sometimes have parental/sibling interruptions in my classroom. I refuse to continue teaching until they be quiet or leave.)

  • Charlie

    Not a Sandals member, but our church has a service that is specifically for Families. There is a kids sermon and a one directed towards the adults. This service is preceded by bible studies, sunday school programs and infant/toddler care. The goal of this service was to get more parents in the bible studies. It seems to be working.

    Now this only works when your members have enough sense to take misbehaving kids out to the “cry room” or hall. Yes, we have a room for cranky kids that has the service piped in over some speakers.

    Now for the call out…I’m not sure how i feel about that. The communications major in me says, a seasoned speaker just needs to just “drive on” through it. Now, having not been there I have no idea how severe the behavior was or how long it carried on for. I would think a church member would have mentioned something before the preacher had too.

  • Hmmm…..I don’t think I have to say where I stand!! 🙂

    (thanks Jaime & Poice Man for the love!)

  • First off… I wasn’t there, so I know exactly jack. Now that we have that out of the way…

    Lots of different perspectives to consider here.

    I can certainly understand Matt’s frustration. Knowing Matt I would guess that he was more frustrated about the distraction factor than he was about being interrupted.

    From the mom’s perspective… no one likes getting called out, whether we deserve it or not. I’m not sure any of us have been in her shoes… being called on the carpet in front of 700 – 800 people. That can’t feel good. I’d be shocked if she came back.

    I am not sure what I would’ve done if I were in Matt’s shoes. Back in the day when I was a worship leader, I think I would’ve shot some looks at other staff members in the crowd in the hopes that they would handle it rather than bring the service to a halt and call her out from the stage.

    Who knows, though. Tough calls, and really tough spot for Matt and the mom.

  • I’ve often wondered what this issue of kids in a worship gathering would have been like in the early church. We make big deals of kids distracting others from encountering God, etc but in the 1st century they were mainly in large homes, with families, etc. So how did they deal with this?

    At one level you wonder why parents would bring their child into the service and then proceed to sit on the front row…it’s like your just looking for trouble with a toddler on the front row.

    And then you have the great irony of ‘we love your kids’ so much that we don’t want you to ever have them around us 🙂 …just kidding, but it is a sweet irony.

  • I don’t think it was a good thing for the pastor to call her on it from the pulpit. Does Sandals have somebody (a volunteer) waiting in the wings to take care of unexpected interruptions like that? For this mom, another younger female mom-type might be able to help her out a little more easily. Maybe some kid-kits on hand? Not sure what that would look like, but that’s a thought. I’m not sure you want to make a rule telling people they can’t bring their kids in.

    And for the record, I had a friend who was a missionary in Africa for a few years. He said that these were outdoor services, and kids would run up and down and all over the place the entire two-hour sermon. Just a matter of cultural perspective, I guess.

  • I am completely convinced that children need their own place to learn and experience God. In our church we actually have 4 theaters just for children. They rotate from their classes to one of the theaters during their service time.

    This give children the experience of sitting in a worship service and teaches them not only about God, but how to worship, how to behave in the service etc.

    I am even further convinced that parents need their own time too. For one, many of these parents cannot focus on the message if their child is in their lap. Further the people around them have a hard time focusing when a child is disruptive.

    If we allow children to sit in the service and disrupt – then we could very well be distracting someone from hearing the gospel and miss the encounter that God had planned for them that day.

    At my church we do have children in service from time to time – for one reason or other a parent decides to keep their kids with them. If the child becomes disruptive, ideally the parent takes them out of the service – which again is a major distraction for the parent – but hopefully minimizes the impact on the others in the room.

    In the case that a parent doesn’t take the child out – our security and safety team members are instructed to help the parent understand to remove the child. In reality our safety team just asks them to move to the cry room. The cry room is equipped with video feeds and audio of the service.

    So far we have not encountered a parent that refused to remove their kid – but if that day comes — it might be interesting to watch how our guys handle it.

    We have some great guys on the safety and security teams – I believe all of them are very caring and committed to being discreet and helpful more than forceful. But the sheer size of some of these guys is pretty intimidating at best. So they are pretty effective by just having to ask someone to step out.

    I guess the day they have to forcefully remove someone is the day we call up the police and ask to borrow their Tazers.

    LOL – jk on the Tazer part.


  • Tim

    So Bryan beat me to it 🙁 I was going to say I was surprised Mr Policeman didn’t suggest ushers with tazers, but I am only joking.

  • drew

    Man, Los, your timing couldn’t be more perfect…had the week off at my place, so we visited my old church with my folks today. A once-a-year program where all three services gather together in a nice hall. Wonderful program, music, etc.

    Until the baby-shrieking starts.

    Our new one (2-1/2 adoption, first time at church, home a week) gets restless, so my wife heads out the hall. Sadly, a few others with poor social skills could care less about the pre-service announcement about kids (we love ’em, but don’t let ’em interrupt) and let the poop-demons cry and wiggle without a care in the world. Aigh!

    The loudest, and most extended, fit comes as the pastor is leading new believers through their prayer of salvation.

    Single the numskulls out and make ’em feel embarrassed. There are no rational excuses. Period. PERIOD.

    Selfish. Ignorant. And Lazy.

  • Rick has a good point. A Church with so many resources could have an usher trained to assist in that area without a Pastor having to worry/deal with it.

    When I was in Mexico as a missionary we had a rather large church for the area that could fit about 1000 people. Kids were nuts all the time, dogs were walking through the service, birds flying around..ect. It used to drive me crazy till one day I realized like someone else noted that the first century church, the sermon on the mount, peeps were probably all over the place. I don’t think you want to foster that enviroment, but at the same time we have to remain a bit flexible.

    We have definitely created a pretty ordered church atmosphere in North America and I hope we don’t hold that up as the highest form of church. And having seperate services is just one part of that model. Some churches hold a high value on families experiencing the entire service together and plan for that.. Different strokes.

    Then there are some people that are actually selfish and clueless and should take their kids out.. No doubt about that.

    Do you guys have a moms room or space?

  • Susie

    I think a no kids at all policy would be short sighted. I remember trying to find a church with two young kids and how freaked out they became if I tried to leave them in one more strangers arms. I would sit in the back or in a cry room if they had one. and leave if needed. I feel for Pastor Matt and the Listeners and it must be addressed, but think a middle ground can be found like some that have been mentioned. I think if you have some special “ushers” that are able to softly guide parents that come in with kids to a back section while telling them of the great child care if they were open to that option. Then if their kid acted up and they didn’t have the common sense to step out with them, the same usher could ask them to step out and maybe step out with them and use the opportunity to find out what their story is and show them some real care and love on them. You never know if this is the one family that someone has been praying for and loving on and hoping would one day come check out church. perhaps they lack “common sense” because for them there is nothing common about coming to church.

  • Related issue – just finishing the worship time, really seems like the Spirit is moving in the place, worship pastor is praying, hands outstretched all over the auditorium as people deal with stuff…

    And the bass player decides to unplug straight from his bass… causing a huge KA-CLACK thru his bass rig and the nice 18 inch subwoofers out front. Faux pas…

  • Grandpa “G”

    Choices. We all have them to make and we all make them. The choice here is leave, out of respect for the other 99.9% of the worshippers that didn’t bring an infant into an otherwise “adult” service. Take your little babe to the trusted nursery, have faith and enjoy the fact that noone will be staring daggers at you during the service.

    Hey! I’ve got 6 kids, who have all spent a lot of time in church, and i can’t remember ever having to be told to remove my unchained melodizer from service. Now I have a grandson that goes with us every couple of weeks and I never (I really mean NEVER!) take him into service.

    It just takes away from everybody’s chance to connect. Some folks might say it’s a double standard, how we want young couples in church but we don’t want their kids. But there is a time and place for kids to be in a service and it’s not until they can behave and be quiet. Like about age 25, maybe?

    So, the choice is obvious! Submit to those who know what’s important and put the needs of the many above the needs of the one. Leave now, for the sake of peace.

    Grandpa “G” -> Out ->

  • wow, 25 comments on a crying kid! I can’t stand it when people just let their kids cry in a place where they shouldn’t be: like church or a movie theater. I mean, I understand, because I got two girls. they cry, they misbehave. that’s when you get up and take them out so as not to distract anyone. commen sense people.
    To back Matt up, it is really hard to focus during service (from the stage) when there is something distracting you in the front row. We used to have this guy sing so loud and so out of tune, that it was making me lose pitch. We had to make him sit in the back of the room. That was an awkward conversation.
    But, parents are oober-protective over their kids and if they are comfortable with the nursery situation yet, then they need time to warm-up to it. Or, if the kid is sick, then they shouldn’t take the kid either. So, I don’t think he was wrong in what he did, but maybe some pro-active ushers would’ve kept it to a personal scene and could’ve at least moved the baby to the back of the auditorium. Commen Sense, you think people should have it, but they don’t.

  • Kids DO belong in church! (sorry BH) But, it is up to the parents to teach them during the week in various situations how to sit and not be a distraction to others. I think that your pastor was wrong to personally point her out in front of EVERYONE out of his own frustrations. At least have staff available to do it discreatly. COME’on! Yikes, then to go ahead and make sure the other 2 services could gossip and scorn her as well? Yikes. Not everyone parents the way we think they should. But we shouldn’t publicly put them in an awkward position.

  • yeah but how do you control a baby? they go off like time bombs. child care is the perfect solution. there are ladies that love the little ones. so take them there. these people volunteer cause they love kiddos.

  • I agree with Rick that some of this is due to cultural perspective. We have gotten to a place where we believe that adults and children should be completely segregated to worship God. I fail to understand how a fussy child would keep someone from receiving the Holy Spirit. Life happens. Crying kids happen. Early christian meetings took place in the home, where everyone could participate. I have been in crying rooms, foyers, nursing mom rooms and the back row for about NINE years now, with a baby hanging off me like a monkey, yet I still chose to worship, open my bible with my one available hand, lift it in praise, pray with my eyes open so my crawler didn’t put something nasty in his mouth. Life happens. Circumstances may not be perfect in order for you to study or worship, but nevertheless we are called to do both. Its not so much about having children in church, its about parents not being responsible for adequately training and disciplining their children when out in public. And when they do act up, and they will, then be gracious toward them (they are kids, for goodness sake) and others around you.

    Oh, and even if an usher walked up to that lady and took care of it, it still would have been embarrassing and a distraction.

  • OK. My turn. Here’s the deal. EVERY one of your suggestions has been tried at Sandals Church. And I do mean it.
    We have tried the NO KIDS policy. Nah. Too mean.
    We have tried the let them all in and usher them out when they get rowdy. Ushers in church are MORE of a distraction than the kid.
    We meet in a gym so there is not that fancy “cry room”.
    I think that kids DON’T belong in the adult service. It is an ADULT service. Babies and kids are not going to go home after the pastor is done and have conversation about the service. Now. I am a dad with a 4 year old. 3 year old. And 8 month old. My kids get sick. My kids need to stay home when they are sick.
    I agree that children need to learn how to behave in church. So send them to PIPELINE!!! Don’t use a service where 400 people are there for learning as a test zone. I understand that all parents are different. We have some parents who won;t go to church for a year because they won’t drop their kids off at the nursery. And they are missing out. I think we need to do what pastor Matt fold the rest of the services. If you HAVE to bring your child in, PLEASE sit in the back row and walk out when they become a distraction. We have some parents in our church who I ADORE and they bring thier babies in and the kids don’t make a peep. If they do I find them in the lobby rocking them. HELLO!!! This is the picture of what to do. But not everyone seems to parent under those circumstances.
    To the point of Matt not calling the woman out.
    I think it is perfectly fine to do so. EVERYONE in the church was already thinking it. NO ONE was paying attention to Matt. So for him to ask if everything was OK is just fine.
    Here is why I LOVE Matt. In the following services he CONFESSED his sin that he was angry during his message. To the ENTIRE CHURCH. Please tell me next time your pastor does that. THEN he used it as a teaching point to let our church know something that needed to be addresed again. And probably needs to be addressed more often. It was perfect. This service is not the place for your kids. But if you must bring them in, please sit in the back.
    Janie has a group of AMAZING (fingerprinted) Sandalites who want nothing more than to LOVE and TEACH your children about Jesus Christ every week. It is the most amazing place and I will be sad when Sohaila, Seanna, and Losiah “graduate” to Pipeline.
    Summer has an AMAZING staff of volunteers who don’t babysit your 1st through 6th graders. They actively engage them in a service that lets them do what they NEED to do. BE LOUD and DISTRACTING. Ha. Their worship is on par with ours. The teaching is gold. They learn to be in church.
    So. After this thesis let me summarize.
    Babies in church? Not really. But when necessary, please sit in the back.
    Kids in church. Nope. Nope. Nope.
    Adults in church who answer cell phones during the sermon…

  • i TOTALLY see both sides. first of all, i would never bring a toddler into a church service for obvoius reasons…toddlers aren’t expected to sit still and be perfect little angels for over an hour. i believe that sunday school is definitely where they should be…for everyone’s sake, it’s good for kids to be in their own place with kids their age to have their own church, for sure.
    an infant, on the other hand, is a different story. if you are strictly nursing your baby, how are you supposed to leave your infant in the nursery (without any food?). as for me, i know that i would be so distracted during the service wondering if she’s hungry (i guess that’s when the pagers come in handy, though).
    however, if you do choose to bring your BABY in to church, it should be common sense to take them out of the room as soon as possible (and sit near to door) if they start to cry. nothing really phases me, i’m pretty much immune to kids noises, but i can see where it could be distrasting for a lot of different reasons. i do see where matt is coming from. (and leia will join the babies in the nursery pretty soon, i hope we’re not distracting anyone). 🙂

  • Tunz

    Do your kids stay in for part of the service? We have worship, kids included, then coffee break and at that time kids are released for kids church. The nursery-two year old class rooms are available during worship also.
    We recently went another step by installing video hookups/with taped recordings for the classrooms. No one felt uneasy with anything, but this is a comfort for the visitor who may want to check on their child without going in the classroom. We also have the paging system on our overhead if someone is needed.
    So will Matt or someone else from the church check in with this rebuked mom? Is one of the more experienced moms going to befriend her and teach her how to know when to take the baby out? Remember, sometimes common sense isn’t all that common.

  • Cap’n Jim

    Would you let your toddler play with a loaded gun? Ride their bick in the street? Drive your car? Pick their own dinners? Of course not! Why? because those are not age apporpriate activities for a toddler. Well neither is sitting still and quiet for 45 min straight! So put the little darlings in child care! Thats why we spend all that money to provide it. DUH!!!

    I was there, in the front row, 1st service, and don’t remember a thing from the first half of the sermon because I kept asking God to forgive me for hating the oblivion on the end of the row with the rowdy kid. This child was not bad, just a kid being a kid. My guess from the noise and stroller is that the child was between 6 and 12 months old. How sad is it, that instead of discussing the actual sermon and the wonderful gift God gave us in His Son Jesus, all this bandwidth is being wasted talking about one clueless parent without the awareness to understand that she is ruining the service for everybody else.

    For all the people who can’t bear the thought of being seperated from their precious bundles of joy, even for an hour and a half. Please, do us all a favor – stay home! Thats right I said it! STAY HOME! I mean really, what did these parents get out of coming to church? ZIP, NADA, GAR NICHTS! Why? because before Matt called ’em out they were pre-occupied with keeping the little darling quiet and thinking about the daggers people were staring at the back of their heads. Then, after Matt said something, all they were thinking about was how embaressed they were and how they’ll NEVER come back to this un-friendly church! EVER! Spritiual growth – Zero.

    Should Matt have called ’em out from the stage. No. He shouldn’t have needed to. The real failure is that we let Matt down. Not one of us (volenteers or staff) was aware enough (or in my own case, brave enough) to deal with the issue before it got so bad that it affected the entire congregation. I guess the real leson here is that Sandals really isn’t the little church where everyone knows you name anymore. That we are going to have to put in place some policies and training for our ushers and greeters. What if instead of a loud kid it had been a real security threat? We are in a war people, the enemywill do what ever he can to disrupt God’s message. This week it was a loud toddler, next week who knows?

  • Lots of sides to this issue… just tough.

    Don’t want to be an @$$ here… and this is certainly not apples to apples… but I don’t remember this much hoo-hah being raised when the distraction was a CNN crew roaming the building during the service.

    I found that quite distracting, as I’m sure Matt did, what with the camera guy all up in his ear and all that. I wasn’t involved and don’t know what boundaries were drawn for CNN, of course.

    It’s tough to read all this (as a former Sandal-ite, now posting from afar) as there seems to be some real venom pointed at the mom. Maybe the whole crying kid thing is just a unique animal, but there’s ways to say that maybe the mom shouldn’t handle it that way without insulting her.

    Sandals always felt like an open, welcoming place to me – long time Christians, new Christians, people still seeking, strippers looking to get out of that industry, etc.

  • Posted mid-thought there; my bad.

    Sandals always felt like an open, welcoming place to me – long time Christians, new Christians, people still seeking, strippers looking to get out of that industry, etc. I guess I wonder whether this mom / fam left feeling like Sandals was an open, welcoming place.

    Of course there was an alternative provided for her kid(s) that is open / welcoming, and she didn’t take the opportunity, so that is her call.

    Probably no easy answer on this one

  • I agree kids can be distracting. I agree parents should have the sense to take them out when their noisy. I also agree with the value of kids getting to see their parents worship corporately and wish there were more opportunity for that. And I agree that one loud kid can cause a hundred people to miss a large portion of teaching. But I also want to play a little devil’s advocate here.

    What I’m struck by as I read through the comments is all of the complaints about what “I” didn’t get out of the message or how “I” was distracted or she should have been more considerate of “us.” I’m gonna assume for a moment (not knowing the full story) that this was a non-believing visitor. When did the gathering become more about “us” (already professing Christians) and not at all about “them.”

    Hopefully “church” and worship is happening all week long, in fellowship, in prayer, in personal study, in helping each other out. Is it an important time for us believers to learn on Sunday, yes. But it is also our greatest opprtunity to reach non-believers. Sounds like Matt was able to confess his anger that he felt from the situation, and maybe there’s a lot of attenders who need to do the same.

    While I don’t disagree with the other side, maybe we need to work on being less angry because we can’t focus on the message, and think about that woman who may be getting more out of the service than you think she is Jim and be glad that she is there.

    *I also recognize that I presented absolutley no solutions or good ideas and that comment was completely useless from a practical standpoint. 🙂

  • Los

    Well put Bobby.
    Well Thought Out.
    Well Put.

  • bobby raises a very valid point. Ouch that was a verbal smackdown.

  • Feeling a need to clarify.
    I said earlier I thought kids belonged in church. I know babies and very small children create distractions. It would be proper for the parents then to remove themselves and the child from the service. I don’t like the idea of banning all children from the service. My 12 and 10 year old are capable of sitting and listening during a service after they have attended a sunday school class. I love what Bobby said about worshipping and kids seeing others in corporate worship. That is a very good influence and experience for them. My 6 year old would benefit from this worship as well. Can he be a distraction? Yes, and I have to work with him. I don’t deny him from children’s church by any means. But I would like the opportunity to start to bring him into services with me as well from time to time.

  • shut up bobby. no not really. i was just lashing out out of conviction. dang.

  • I would have walked out in the middle of church and never come back… I don’t need to be around pretentious, arrogant preachers… let alone learn from them.

  • I couldn’t help but feel mortified for this woman. I wasn’t completely distracted (But I am a mom myself, & a teacher, so I am used to noise) until Matt stopped the sermon. Then I missed the second half of the sermon because I was dying for this woman. Seriously, my heart ached for her. I was probably 8 rows back on the same side. I couldn’t help but think that maybe those weren’t her kids. Maybe she was helping somebody out and decided to expose them to God, and didn’t know the procedure for Flip Flops. Or maybe it was her first visit. I would NOT have wanted to get up so the rest of the church could stare at me as I walked out. I was just praying that someone from the staff reached out to her after the sermon. Otherwise, we just turned someone away from Christ’s love. I bet she’ll share her experience with others too! I’ll continue to pray for her.

  • No kids under any circumstances! If they leave, sorry. There are churche that allow kids in the service. Our church isn’t one of them.

  • “churche” is the new way to spell “churches”…

  • michelley

    i totally love Pastor Matt! and ya, children and babies in a “grown-up” area just don’t go well…and parents should totally know that and have respect for others and get rid of their children for a few hours and take advanatge of “alone” time with God

  • danny herrera

    Thanks Bobby….got my heart in the right place….we truly will not know her side unless we walked in her sandals…….Matt thats why I love coming to this church….I was amazed at your confession in the second service…and thought how many pastors would have the heart enough to confess this to his congreation…..Thanks…. May God continue to work through your heart…………

  • I was distracted. I also get distracted by the guy with the bic pen clicking it, click, click, click, click, or the lady chewing the gum, smack, smack, smack, or the candy wrapper, or the popcorn, crunch, crunch, oh wait that only happens at the movies. I know there are no solutions. But church is not about me, I know who Christ is. It’s about worship and serving so that those who don’t know have an opportunuty to see Christ. I say send them all to Janie because who wouldn’t want their kids loved on by her. And just like I can rent a movie to be away from the popcorn noise, I can always get the CD to catch what I missed.

  • Very interesting, it’s interesting how many opinions are out there… Especially ones soooo sure they have the whole story. I am Matt’s wife as most know, and trust me I don’t think he’s perfect & my jaw dropped when he spoke to her, but I also know he puts you all at the hightest priority in his heart and his life. For him to have even addressed it means the distraction level was ginormous… and I know this because week after week I am the one he comes home to after the sunday services and recaps the hundreds of distractions he hurdeled to let Gods word be heard. People falling asleep to the point of falling off there chairs, constant cell phone people loudly whispering “hold on, Im in church I’ll call you back” etc. And the kids thing… a constant issue! Most of you don’t know that this lady is new to the church ( I like all the presumptions to her story… ) and most don’t know that she had more kids than were in the service. She checked half of them in and kept the other half (even though she was loving encouraged to check them all in… they didn’t want to go our volunteer was told….) So there goes the argument that she didn’t know it was available. Not that any of this other stuff even matters. Bottom line, there was an elephant in the room that got addressed… it’s been needed to be addressed for A LONG TIME and God used this situation to call it out into the open. I’m sorry for this woman who most likely was embarrassed, I’m sad if she leaves thinking Sandals is unloving and that our pastor is_____________ whatever… some of you have filled in the blank… But I’m glad this elephant is out of the room!

  • I’m sure Jesus would feel the same way tammy.

    I bet Jesus would be glad that “mrs. elephant” left a church feeling unwelcome because there was “an elephant in the room that got addressed…”

    I’m pretty sure Jesus had sudden outbursts of anger while he was preaching and some kid was running around…. especially in Matthew.

    Matthew 19 (The Message)
    13-15 One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.

    By the way…
    “I’m sorry for this woman who most likely was embarrassed, I’m sad if she leaves thinking Sandals is unloving and that our pastor is_____________ whatever… some of you have filled in the blank… But I’m glad this elephant is out of the room!

    In my opinion this totally negates any “apology” that was offered.

  • wow, brody…OK

  • hey carlos, what happened..I said way more than that

  • The essence of what I was trying to convey was, we cannot expect everyone to have common sense and while I hate to be the one to say something to someone, (when I shouldn’t have to) maybe it was up to someone other than staff to, again, direct this lady. I was there, and knew that this was going to be a test and while the opinions out here are somewhat relevant, Sandals is about relationships, and maybe Matt was more frustrated that the distraction wasn’t being handled, and he had to take it upon himself, and I believe did the best he knew AT the time.
    The ushers need to have people with children sit in the back and “help” them if Jr. becomes a distraction.
    The grace is, we are all learning….all the time

  • I’m a SAHM. No one watches my kid but me. That includes a kick ass program. I will send Nick to the nursery if our friend is working (she works one Sunday a month). When he’s older and less out of the stranger danger phase, maybe. But right now? It’s more about me than about him. Jesus welcomed the children. Thankfully, our Pastor does as well.

    I might have kicked that preacher in the teeth. Or allowed my kid to. Or something. How insanely rude.

  • So, your opinion of kicking the pastor in the teeth was nice, Jenna, I was a SAHM also, my kids are now grown however, and I never would have sat in the front row, with 3 kids and a baby in a new church and stayed there while as the pastor spoke, the baby had a rattle and fussed. Believe me, I understand the stranger danger issue, and was protective over mine as well. If I wasn’t comfortable, they did not go to nursery…and guess what, they had cassette tapes I could buy of the service if I missed it, not podcasts and CD’s after service. (Note: most of the time my kids would not go to nursery because of the inconsiderate people who brought their sick kids…)

  • Look. We have people of all sorts of spiritual backgrounds that come around this blog. I welcome every bit of opinion. The conversation here has actually helped 3 ministry opportunities arise in the last 2 days.
    But there are LOTS of churches out there. And there are lots of people who go to these churches. Sandals is not for everyone. I highly doubt that Brody or Jenna or a few others would last a day in our environment.
    And that is OK.
    People get to choose where they go to church. And last I remember there are like 10 within 2 miles.
    So try not to get “feelings” hurt by comments around here. I don’t. And I actually learn from some of the nastiest. Of which none were on this post. Believe me.
    So keep the comments flowing and lets continue to discuss openly why we think the way we see it works.

  • Just curious. What is “your environment”?

  • And why are these comments all in italics?

  • Our environment is one of authenticity and not judgement. It is a real place where real issues are addressed and most of the “haters” last about 1 week. Maybe 2. But there are churches down the street where this would have never happened. The pastor is perfect and smiles all the time. And the congergation is never wrong either. That is where lots of haters go.

  • Brody, I was thinking of the same verse in Matthew when the disciples wanted to send the children away but Jesus told them not to stop these little ones from coming to Him. And then I heard this clear as day, “Matt Brown isn’t Jesus”. He is a man, just like you. He did what he thought was right at that time. I highly respect my pastor and when you sit in a pastor’s church every sunday for a few years you get to know their heart. And I know his heart aches for the lost and dying and in no way would he have intentionally wanted to scare this woman and her children away. We are a work in progress, right Brody? I would much rather be in a church where the Pastor freely admitted his faults and inadequacies than let everyone continue to think he was a holy and righteous “Pastor” all day everyday without any struggles.

  • Amen…Denise you hit it well, girl

  • I hear you, Los, Sandals does a great job of encouraging authenticity and discouraging judgement. I grew up at the church down (actually, across) the street… so I feel you here.

    In this situation, though, just from reading here, it seems like passing judgement on Toddler Mom’s handling of the situation (or on the haters, for that matter) is OK, but passing judgement on Matt is not…?

    Where are the boundaries? What is “judge-able” and what is not?

    I don’t know… just asking the question.

    Lots of defense for Matt going on here… as it should. You’re right, Denise, he’s not Jesus, he’s a man.

    Less defense for the mom/toddler going on here… though she is not Jesus either…

    Matt’s position allowed him to admit his faults and apologize. Toddler Mom doesn’t get that chance.

  • Wow! Babe, i know this is why you love your blog. 60 posts on a crying kid. But man, the hate and opinions of some of these “perfect” people saddens me.

  • well said, whittakerwoman…

  • Tony, yes I know Toddler Mom can’t defend herself here, you know each situation is different, and people react on their instincts. I believe, tho I cringed when Matt made the decision to stop and say something, he did it in the nicest way he knew how. I believe this family made the decision to come to church that day,but not with the intention of disturbing everyone, so my heart goes out to them, this was an on the spot moment for all of us. Did God speak to anyone about meeting with them after service, or did we all walk out grumbling? Like Heidi, I felt for them, but I did not go minister to them either…we are all accountable for our thoughts, actions…eh?

  • First of all, we all know that good “debates” make for good blogs, which is why this is comment #63. I’m not bent out of shape and I agree with you, Carlos, that no one needs to get their feelings hurt.

    To me it seems unfortunate that “most of the “haters” last about 1 week”. I know plenty of people, that “hate” Christians, that need to last longer than a week at church. Perhaps someone would consider rewriting the ministry statement on the church website, if what you say is true. Was this woman “welcomed into a relaxed and receptive environment”?

    My argument is not with the pastor. As stated in these comments and the original post, the pastor apologized and (for all we know) was forgiven. My problem is with the comments left by people pointing out the mothers “sub-par parenting skills” or maybe calling the woman and child an “elephant in the room that needed to be dealt with”.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have three (very active) boys ages 4, 2 and one month old, and would (and do) gladly sit in the back of the service when one of them needs to be in there with us.

    Who ever said that a pastor needs to be perfect? I never ask for that in my church, and never expect the pastor to view the congregation with the same deluded mentality. However, in this case, yes, your pastor was wrong. No, your pastor isn’t Jesus, but his profession is to be representing Jesus to a room full of people. And so is yours. Simply saying the “haters” should take a walk is the furthest thing from what Jesus would tell them. Again. Doesn’t sound like a “relaxed and receptive environment” does it?

    Regarding your statement of “I highly doubt that Brody or Jenna or a few others would last a day in our environment”…

    The reason I asked what “your environment” was, was simply because your churches “environment” is printed (using the same exact word) on your website. To me your description and the one advertised at Sandals, are completely different.

    I understand a lot of people having your pastors back on this one, but he realized he was wrong and admitted it to two more services. I think that was big of him and the right thing to do. Why is it that the people he is shepherding can’t do the same and realize that what he did was wrong?

    **I don’t know why these are italics either… it could have something to do with the amount of comments and it bringing it into a “hot topic” on your blog.**

  • Kitkit – absolutely with you on this; instincts are just that… instincts. I’ve known Matt for a long time, and I’m sure he did the best he could do in a tough spot.

    I guess I am just trying to see both perspectives, which can be a tricky game. Things seemed a little out of balance here with lots of peeps sticking up for Matt and throwing rocks at Toddler Mom.

    Sorry, had to give her a name, it was getting to cumbersome to find ways to refer to her… I guess we should include Toddler Dad too in the name of equality…

  • Brody – you communicate very clearly in your posts; very well written…

    Probably a semantic thing… but I think you and Los may differ on the definition of haters… I don’t think he’s referring to people that hate Christians… rather, maybe to professing Christians who like to hate / judge…

  • Actually it is not the “Non” Christians that don’t last a week. You misunderstood me. It is the “Christians” with all the answers that can’t seem to handle a church who places truth in your face at every corner. Our church has more non Christians that come because of what we are doing than Christians. It is a VERY uncomfortable place for “seasoned” Christians. And I like that.
    And YES. we will agree to disagree.
    It is not my job to represent Jesus in a room full of people. It is our job to point to Him while admitting that we suck. Ain’t no way I am even close enough to try to represent Christ. So in turn I point to Him and sing at the top of my lungs that I need him desperately.
    People come to Sandals because we lead through our faults. Showing that your pastors are as human as you. And so THAT is why our church is flooding with people who have no idea who Christ is yet want what they see in a pastor who is striving for authenticity directly in their face.
    And I also disagree with the fact that haters should not take a walk. Why stay somewhere you can’t stand?

  • I think Brody’s assertion that haters should NOT take a walk was built on the idea that your definition of “haters” meant “non-Christians”…

    Semantics again… but, seems like it plays a part in the discussion and disagreement here.

    If haters = overly judgemental religious types… then Scripture tells more than one story about Christ dealing with them…

  • I understood the definition of “haters”. Just not sure if I was considered one since I disagreed with the definition of a receptive environment.

    Great topic Los. It has been fun.

  • I hope this isn’t considered “beating a dead horse”, but since the conclusion was “agreeing to disagree”, I think I will point this out:

    “… Jesus called to himself a child – the essence of one who is powerless, dependent, needy, little, and poor. He placed the child ‘in the midst of them,’ as a concrete, visible sacrament of how the Kingdom looks. Jesus’ act with the child is interesting. In many of our modern, sophisticated congregations, children are often viewed as distractions. We tolerate children only to the extent they promise to become “adults” like us. Adult members sometimes complain they cannot pay attention to the sermon, they cannot listen to the beautiful music, when fidgety children are beside them in the pews. “Send them away,” many adults say. Create “Children’s Church” so these distracting children can be removed in order that we adults can pay attention.

    Interestingly, Jesus put a child in the centre of his disciples, “in the midst of them,” in order to help them pay attention. The child, in Jesus’ mind, was not an annoying distraction. The child was a last-ditch effort by God to help the disciples pay attention to the odd nature of God’s kingdom. Few acts of Jesus are more radical, countercultural, than his blessing of children.”

    Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens: A provocative Christian assessment of culture and ministry for people who know that something is wrong, 1989, 96)

  • Brody, thanks for that quote.

  • Genesis man

    Hey, guest pastor here. Here’s what I try to say from time to time:
    Welcome to worship, we love your kids, we have a great kids program for them, However if you would rather have them stay in worship with you, we just ask that you handle them how most of us would like to be handled. If I start to whimper a bit, I hope someone would give me a hug and maybe walk around with me a bit. But, if I start causing a distraction and yelling, I hope someone would take me out in the hallway and figure out what was going on. We just ask that you handle your kids how you would like to be handled.

    Or something like that.

  • nathan

    Ok my comment is late I know. I do have a question that is not being answered.
    What would you have done if you were in Matt’s or Sandals position? How would you have addressed it? I think that is where the tension is. We can point our wrong easily after the fact, but in the moment what would you have done?

    Remember you are speaking to 450 people.
    It is the first of three times you will speak.
    You cannot concentrate on what you need to say.
    You are getting lost and frustrated.

    What do you do?

    As for the scripture quoting, which is cool. Always bring balance. Kids can come to Christ(See above) and there must be order in worship to avoid distraction.(See Corinth) It is a tension.

    Also we need to balance the rights of one and the rights of many. She was not the only person who (maybe) did not know Christ in the building, she was not the only person who needed to connect with God. We all need too, me included. As a staff member I need to provide an environment that is as free from distraction as possible. What that is? I do not know.

    It seems there are no easy answers. I even read earlier that a staff member could possibly cause more problems by escorting them out. At Sandals that would be me! Great I want that job! Plus, I think that would be more disruptive than talking to her.

    My final answer, I still do not know what to do. I think all the answers I come up with are not positive.

    Leave her alone.
    Talk to her
    Escort her out
    Not let her in

    PS. One sermon while I was teaching I had a couple, making out! I got so distracted and lost there was no way I could land the plane, so I just moved on the the next point and left the church totally confused. That was great!

  • LOL re: had to just move on to the next point…

    I have no idea what I would’ve done in Matt’s shoes, Nathan. I’ve had stuff happen while I’m up there, but it has always gotten handled by someone who was off stage – or, worse, it was ignored.

    This one lady used to bring a tambourine to church every week and play it during the worship music. Great except she had ZERO RHYTHM.

  • Brody – One request. If you’re gonna partake in the “debate” as you call it, be consistent. You said a few comments back that your issue is not with the pastor, but rather people’s judgments on the mom. However, that’s hard to swallow. Allow me to quote your very first comment:

    “I don’t need to be around pretentious, arrogant preachers… let alone learn from them.”

    That sounds like a judgment call on Matt, and stated extremely rudely as well. To be honest with you bro, that one statement turned me off to anything else you had to say. That does qualify you as a “hater” in my book. The way I see it, there’s no need or room for name calling in a discussion like this.

    I don’t attend Sandals (although I’d love to if I lived near it and weren’t in full time ministry myself) and I don’t know Matt personally. But I appreciate their ministries and all that they are accomplishing to further the kingdom. As far as not lasting long, it reminded me of something I heard from a friend on staff at Mosaic. He said if you fit in well in most church environments, you’re probably gonna have a tough time and won’t last long at our church.

    I think this is similar to the church I am at right now as well as Sandals. I’m just guessing that may be kinda what Carlos is getting at when he speaks of the environment. I think y’all get it, so I won’t spend time elaborating on that at this point.

    In the words of the great Mr. (not Dr.) King – “Can’t we all just get along?”

  • bobby.

    I hear you on the consistency thing.

    However, that was my first comment and after that exchanged 3 or 4 emails with Carlos, asking whether the pastor apologized. Carlos mentioned that he even took the lady out to lunch. That was cool enough for me.


    I read the comments by the pastors wife and several other attenders of the church.

    I figured that my first comment would raise a few eyebrows and look at that… it has. Yeah it was passing judgement on the pastor, imagine that… lashing out in “anger” and being called on it… where have I heard this story before??

    This is my favorite though…
    “To be honest with you bro, that one statement turned me off to anything else you had to say.

    I wonder if that happened on Sunday at Sandals…

  • OMG people!!! Get a life!!! This is like a mexican soap opera! Go write a letter to an orphan in Africa instead!

    If you believe kids should be in church with grown-ups you can borrow my kid anytime. I promise you will change your mind after 10 minutes!!!!

  • ahahahahahahahaha

  • My guess is brody’s post just before the italics started has an open italics tag in it. Maybe in his name or website info?

    Here, I’ll add a closed italics tag to this comment and see if it stops the madness!!

  • Alrighty, on this whole topic, honestly, I’m just not reading all 70 comments thoroughly – sorry – but I’m kind of a big deal and that keeps me too busy to read so much stuff. ; )

    I’m gonna blog more on this topic soon I hope because this whole post of yours, los, reminds me of a lesson or two I’ve had to learn the hard way over the years performing…

    There are reasons we’re together in a place called “church” as the community called “Church” that go well beyond the production and preaching. Children, the handicapped, the elderly, the simple, the fat, the tone deaf – they all either detract from someone else’s experience of certain aspects of the church (show) OR can’t fully participate, understand or appreciate it.

    But we aren’t together in authentic community only to fully understand, participate and appreciate the teaching and other performances on a Sunday morning. We have value beyond these abilities. Children, for example, are living metaphors of acceptable religion, examples of the attitudes and values our spirits must take on in order to be followers of Christ.

    AND a church that doesn’t allow interruptions, noise, mistakes, distractions, is not – I think, having not been to yours – a “real” place at all. Life is filled with all these things. And I fear that my having to pay tribute to and listen to God in a perfect vacuum poorly prepares me to continue listening to and paying tribute to God in my noisy and less-than-perfect real life outside the sanctuary/gymnasium.

    it seems to me that one of the compliments I hear paid most often to Sandals is that it upsets the staid Christian full of Pharisaical expectations and that it is a place of acceptance for the outsider, the spiritual seeker, the bruised, wary and worldly. It seems – again, I haven’t been there myself – like a contradiction then to require the gym to be a distraction free, kid free, squirm free, noise free environment, mimicking the most traditional cathedrals you guys – I’d think – want to be the opposite of in many ways.

    I know what it’s like to prepare a sermon/performance and have it not be the center of attention. That hurts my ego. A sure sign that I’m prideful. And anger is a confirmation of that. At least in my life.

    • Michelle

      Thank You for saying that so eloquently!

      I know this post is old but it hits very close to home.
      I visited a church this summer with a “no kids” policy. As I wasn’t about to put my 2 month old in nursery that I knew NOTHING about. I chose to keep him with me. Keeping him with me meat being ushered to a cold classroom where I sat on a child size plastic chair and watched the service on tv. If I wanted to watch church on tv I would have stayed home. Where is the fellowship in that?

      Do none of the other commenters have kids? Do you not realize that children are an amazing and vital part of life and that parent’s should have the choice on what to do with their children during a church service.

      My father is a pastor and I can remember sitting through Sunday Night church services even as a young child. There was only a nursery for babies, anyone age 2 and up went to church and we sat through the entire service. Whoever said that children and not capable of sitting quietly for 45 minutes is just wrong, I’m sorry but you are. I was a kid with add and I managed to pull it off. How are we to truly show Christ’s love if we decide to nitpick every last detail of church?

      I refuse to go to a church that isn’t open and accepting of everyone and allows all who wish to to attend the church service.
      Even Children can be touched by God during “big people church”.

  • Albee

    Brody, nice post pointing out how your attitude might have paralleled Matt’s during the service. Pretty insightful, except your parallel stopped short of his apology to the church and the woman. You seem more interested in arguing.

    We can keep this post going well into next week (which I’m sure Carlos would be happy about), but I would like to hear more responses to Nathan’s post. Let’s give Matt the benefit of the doubt for a minute and assume that the situation was well beyond the normal fussing child. How would you like it handled?

    Since this has been “what if’d” to death…..what if she was surrounded by 30-40 unsaved, unchurched people who came to hear what Matt had to say but were distracted by “Toddler woman.”

    For conversation sake….the service is screaching to a halt…..what would you do?

  • NO. No more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    How about them Chargers?

  • Albee

    Aren’t you missing your telenovelas…..????

    Since you brought it up….LT is unstoppable!

  • If somebody thinks or claims they are humble, they are no longer humble. By the same means, if someone thinks or claims another person is pretentious then they themselves become the pretentious one.

    This leads us to the following conclusion: I myself am the most pretentious for pointing out that Brody is pretentious for calling Matt Brown pretentious. Brody was not an eyewitness to the account on Sunday and therefore has a limited ability to make a relevant point. Nevertheless, his attempt to make a relevant point using neat verses from Sunday School is really cute. Niether Brody nor myself are very humble for making such assertions in a public forum. I’ll work on that.

    I think we should all get together, admit we suck sometimes, Brody and I can confess that neither of us know anything about running a church, and then we can all face up to the fact that my 49ers’ Frank Gore is the leading rusher in the NFC, not LT.

  • Did you mean NFC or NFL? LT is still MVP. Miami…here we come!!

  • I believe the last stat I saw put him 1st in average yards per carry in the NFL, but LT leads Gore by about 130 yards overall in the NFL. In the NFC Gore is 1st in almost all categories for rushing except TDs.

  • Mikko Sivonen

    Like Thom Wolf says:” Life is sometimes sluppy.”

  • shaun groves…your comment hit the nail on the head.
    “Pharisaical”…dang that was deep.
    Go ahead and pop yo collar, homie.

  • Mikko Sivonen

    Why do we have a need to defend Matt of a sin that he has already repented?
    It seems to be that he did the right thing (addressing the mom) but with the wrong heart towards the boy according to his 2nd sermon (which of he came to repentance very soon). Praise God!

  • THANK YOU EVERYONE for changing the subject…

    Mikko – you have a unique way of cutting right to the heart of the issue… I admire that.

  • Albee

    Here is a copy of an email that I sent Los minutes after posting.

    “yeah, i guess that was pretty harsh… sorry. I think the very first comment pissed me off… i shouldn’t have jumped to that.
    i just don’t think it’s the pastors place to call out a lady in the middle of church… did he apologize to her at all? or just the next services?
    (for additional copies see Carlos’ email trash bin)


    I have one correction for you. Carlos asked my “ragamuffin opinion”. He asked my opinion. I gave it… and pissed a bunch of people off… I’m not worried about that.

    Once again. The pastor apologized. I’m okay with that… I’m not okay with all the crap slinging found here… obviously not a group of people learning by example.

    I don’t like football

  • Brody- Just want to say ONE more thing. Tammy never called this woman an elephant!!!! If you read her comment she refers to the issue of distacting children in church as the giant elephant. And to further clarify that a giant elephant is just an expression used to describe and issue that is huge and not being addressed. No one called her an elephant!!!

  • You are right though, Cash. I don’t know how to run a church. I’m sure there are plenty off people that do that better than me.

  • jennita.
    I realized that… but how is that woman going to take that? Any excuse for someone else calling her a “sub-par parent”??

    Just curious

  • Was she an elephant? Who said that?
    Nevermind, no more!!!

    Man, if she was thinking about coming back to church she is not now after reading all your posts!

    How about….hummmm….Tennie Pierce, the firefighter who wants to get 2.7M for eating dog food?
    YES? NO?

    I’ll eat some dog food. Any bids?


  • Brody,

    I am certainly not pissed off. There are bigger fish that require my emotions.

    I was merely stating the obvious about pretentious people of which I find myself a part of all too often. And if your opinion is that we have a pretentious and arrogant preacher that you simply can’t learn from…then my last comment stands firm and speaks for itself. There is no need to wash, rinse, and repeat.

    You said you had a correction for me. What is it exactly you are correcting? I was commenting on the opinion you gave in a public forum, not what prompted you to give it. Perhaps we could more accurately say that you were clarifying and providing background. That’s appreciated. But there’s certainly nothing to correct.

  • Cash.

    I realized after pushing “submit” that my “correction wasn’t very clear.

    you said:
    “Brody was not an eyewitness to the account on Sunday and therefore has a limited ability to make a relevant point. Nevertheless, his attempt to make a relevant point using neat verses from Sunday School is really cute.”

    My correction was that it didn’t matter if I was an eyewitness to the account on Sunday. I was asked my opinion, already placed in a public forum. I can see your point that I wasn’t there and can’t make a total judgement on the actions of your pastor. I can also see the fact that this is a blog where an opinion was asked.

    I have spent all this time “discussing” this and never really stated what I would have done though. I would have let it slide and had an usher or someone else on staff (maybe Carlos) talk to the woman after the service.

    Just as my “outburst” that everyone is referring to negates my entire argument, the same (no doubt) occurred after the pastors “outburst” negated the rest of his entire sermon. Imagine if someone across the room was really getting something out of the service, and was completely un-phased by the child. I see that as an opportunity lost. Again, I am sorry for calling your pastor pretentious. He probably isn’t.

    I still can’t figure out if I should apologize for using “neat verses from Sunday School” though.

    I didn’t realize “Big People Church” verses were separate from “Sunday School” verses in the Bible.

  • One More Comment!!!! We Can Do It!!!
    One More to 100!!!

  • 100!

  • i will do it for you babe… 100!!!

  • tony you beat me
    why does it say i posted at 3:02 its 2:02 on my computer?

  • Not sure; I’m in Ohio, so it’s 5:10. Sorry, I should’ve waited…

  • nathan

    Does Tony win a Carlos Whittaker Christmas CD?
    Come on 100 is Huge!!!!!
    This is amazing!!!!
    At least you should get a congrats phone call from the “Blog Father”
    ………..hm or maybe it is Heather because She posted at 2:02 pst. and 3:02 pst on her computer and Tony, technecally posted at least two hours after……so if this is the Olympics and everything is rigged, Heater Wins!!!!!!!!


  • Uh… you can keep the CD, bro… I know of Los’ secret history in the New America Singers…

  • It wasn’t so much the verse that was Sunday School in nature as the it was the depth of the argument. Several other verses in the Bible speak of reverence during worship and teaching of the Word. The children coming to Jesus is a beautiful story and we have much to learn from it. However, it was a specific moment in the ministry of Christ meant to change the attitude we have towards children and the Kingdom of God, but I don’t think it was meant as a model for church services.

    I have enjoyed the play of philosophy, the sarcastic remarks, the apologies, clarifications, and the witty back handed comments. If you can’t do this with brothers in Christ, who can you do it with?

    One God, One Truth, One Love, you know what I mean?

    I am going to gracefully bow out now.


  • “I have enjoyed the play of philosophy, the sarcastic remarks, the apologies, clarifications, and the witty back handed comments. If you can’t do this with brothers in Christ, who can you do it with?”


  • i still beat you on my cussing post 🙂 sucka. haha. im sure you’ll surpass.

  • Rhi

    wow. what controversy. first, i think kid’s church is for kids. that IS why we put so much effort and love into THEIR church. also, if you are gonna have your kid in the main church, it isn’t so much that kids don’t belong.. it’s the parents who forget there are other folk in the room, trying to focus, listen and pay attention that is annoying. it’s like the folk who ANSWER their cell phones during service. shouldn’t the phones be off during service anyhow? it’s just common courtesy, a thing lost on most folk today. best believe you won’t ever be distracted by my kid in church…he’ll be over learning more about God from his loving Flip Flops and Pipeline teachers!

  • I wasn’t there so I don’t really have an opinion and even if I did I don’t think it would make a difference to anyone since I’m not a member of Sandals and the same situation has not occurred at my church.

    I have two daughters (and a son on the way). My 2 year old LOVES her Sunday School class, but more than that she loves to go to Mommy and Daddy’s “class” (the church service) for awhile before we take her to her class.

    Every week, she’ll join us for the worship music and part of the sermon. I don’t know if she’s a distraction or not…we try not to be.

    What I do know is this, the other day, I was checking weather.com and an ad popped up. The ad showed people cheering at a sporting event. Even though we’ve been to tons of football and basketball games (we live in a college town) my daughter’s first comment when she saw the picture was:

    “Wook Mommy! People worshipping God!”

    I know that I want my children to see people really worshipping God. I want them to see me worshipping Him. I want them to see me studying the Bible and other adults studying the Bible.

    Is “big” church the best place for this or perhaps a Bible Study?

    I suppose either way our kids will be a bit of a distraction.

    Sorry, no answers here. Just thoughts.

  • Pingback: Family Living; Hatfield Style » Blog Archive » Thank God for Our Pastor()

  • christian

    anyone ever heard the scipture about not having any unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth which is not fitting for those who profess godliness… or how about the one that says if you cant control your mouth then your religion is useless? why are you using profanity on a christian website, trying to make it sound cool?

  • This one makes sence “One’s first step in wisdom is to kuesstion everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.”

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  • Pingback: Welcome To Church…Please Shut That Kid Up « Ragamuffin Soul()

  • Hello God Bells you do you know if there is a way to hang up anotners cell?
    Many times I can;t hear or its just not the right thing to do? Is there a web site that shuts them down? Thankyou nice web site

  • Stormy

    Does Sandals not have ushers? Wouldn’t an effective church have ushers or elders who deal with distruptions no matter what the source— animal, vegetable or mineral? The pastor was out of place to make an issue of it. He should delegate. Our ushers have handled disruptive children, teens, drunkards, badly behaved air conditioning units, and even a literal snake that once slitherd into the doorway.

  • I just came across this post and wanted to throw an idea out there. 🙂 This is the first time I’ve read this blog so I don’t know the writer or even where this is published from, but this is a topic that I’ve never understood.

    I was raised as and am currently raising my children as Seventh-Day Adventist Christians. My husband was also raised the same. In all SDA churches, we bring our children into the main sanctuary starting as newborns. We don’t have children’s church, except for maybe a special week a few times a year. We teach our children from birth to sit reverently during church so they start listening as soon as possible to the pastor and what is going on. If a child acts up (which is honestly rare) the parent just walks them out to the bathroom/foyer/outside until they are ready to come back in. The children have their own separate Sabbath school classes at a different time when adults also have their classes, but we all come together for the actual church service. It is a time to be with family, learning and praising Jesus together. Most families bring a “Quiet Bag” with small items like a coloring book, pack of crayons, pencil, Bible books to look at if they need it. Our church provides these things and all of us Moms in the church sign up for a week each year to re-fill the bags before each weekend’s services.

    I have always wondered why most other denominations have them separated as if they can’t learn to appreciate the holiness of the sanctuary at a very early age. From my 33 years of experience in MANY SDA churches all over the country, it works. I promise. 🙂 The children are a part of the service at a very young age, singing, quoting scripture, and doing many tasks such as collecting offering as Junior Deacons.

    Just a thought from someone who grew up completely differently. Thanks!

    • In our church (Non-Denom Christian), the youngest children (infants & toddlers) are in the nursery the entire service, but I think at age 6 or 7 thru age 11, they stay in the worship service until the sermon time and then go back. They get a lesson that’s more geared toward their age level and they usually do some type of craft or game to make it fun for them. A lot of times they even do worship time with the kids. I think if it were me at that age (actually I remember vividly when it was me at that age), I didn’t understand anything that was going on in the message time but if I was engaged in a way that made sense to my very young brain, I would probably have a better chance at grasping the lessons more.

  • J

    So the title was over exaggerated and he said kick ass but not really? I’m pretty sure the pastor was just trying to have parents use what was at their disposal. Sandals does have a wonderful staff to watch children. And when he mentioned the children ministries in the other services was probably for their information, just in case they weren’t aware of the services. New people go to church everyday

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  • BeautyinChrist

    I am a mom with young children and I applaud Matt for calling the lady with the child out. That is what the youth program was designed for. How ever I am really disturbed by the profanity used in this blog. As Christians we are called to a higher expectation and in no way does the use of cuss words in a Christian blog honor or glorify God. I have a rule for my self, if I wouldn’t approve of my children saying it then my Father in heaven would not approve of me talking that way. It hurts my spirit to hear a Christian talk that way:(