This is a very important question that parents are asking as we approach the 11-week-long Real Marriage sermon series, which begins at all Mars Hill churches this Sunday, January 15. I'll take this blog post to explain as much as I can.
1. Children under the age of 12 are always welcome in our Children's Ministry during our church services. Parents are also welcome to include their children in the service as we do with our ten-year-old son, Calvin, who has sat through services for a few years now as his preference, while our younger two kids still attend Children's Ministry. We believe parents can make the choice per child per year. But around age 12, we want the kids in the main service as a general rule.
2. We have completely revamped our Mars Hill Kids curriculum for this year and it is fantastic. Click here to learn more.
3. Nearly every week of the Real Marriage sermon series will be fitting for all ages. The first half of the series will be about families and friendships. The second half of the Real Marriage book is about sex for married couples. But since the sermons will be to a broader audience, they will not be nearly as specific or detailed as the book. For example, in chapter 10 of the book, “Can We __________?,” we answer specific marital intimacy questions. For the Sunday sermon based upon that chapter I will not cover the same kind of content. Instead, I will be doing a general sermon on Christian discernment regarding how to make decisions when the Bible does not speak to an issue, without referencing sex specifically.
4. On March 4, we will be dealing with the topic of pornography in a sermon entitled, “The Porn Path.” On that week, if you have young ones who are under the age of 12, you will probably want to make sure they are in Mars Hill Kids that week, as the topic will be of a more mature nature.
That sermon will be recorded before a largely collegiate audience on the pain of porn, including my interview with former pastor’s daughter who grew up to be a porn star and has since returned to a vibrant relationship with Jesus.
That being said, if you have children who are 12 or older, I encourage you to have them in service to hear the message. The reason for this is that the #1 consumers of porn are boys between the ages of 12 and 17. Chances are your kids in that age range have either been exposed to pornography or will be soon, and they may even be actively looking at it. This will be a good opportunity for parents to open up a discussion about this destructive force in our society that is increasingly becoming accepted and wide-spread.
If you question how much your kids know about porn, next time you are at the grocery store take a moment to read the headlines on the cover of the women's magazines that scream at kids every day and ask yourself if they may already know far more than you think.
To all our parents—thank you! Thank you for being part of Mars Hill Church and caring about your kids. As a father of five, I genuinely appreciate the questions and hope this helps.