Dear Sir: Could you please tell me if Sister White says anything about having the children come up on the platform for the children's story. This little church I go to they invite them up on the platform and the kids set on the floor, sometimes knock the flowers over, the one giving the story pulls a chair out in the middle of the platform and reads to them. I have never been to a church where that is done. When I was a child my Mother when she cleaned the church would not even let us kids go up on the platform. She said that was a sacred place. Everywhere I have been before the children sat on the front row of the church. I just wondered if there as any council on this.
Thanks so much for your help.
Thank you for contacting the Ellen G. White Estate. I didn't find any counsel from Mrs. White on this matter. A hundred years ago, I think they didn't call the children forward for a story at church, so her lack of comment on it should not be surprising. I looked through the chapter on reverence in Child Guidance (beginning on p. 538) but didn't notice anything specifically about the platform at church. Rather, Mrs. White upheld the sacredness of the whole sanctuary.
Like you, I have seen children's stories done in front of the platform rather than on it. At the church I attend, the children are invited to sit on the steps going up to the platform, which cover the entire front of the platform. The person giving the story comes down on the floor level and addresses the children, with his back to the congregation.
I remember that, early on, we had some problems with toddlers and other young children walking about on the platform or misbehaving in other ways. The solution came by asking (assigning!) certain adults, usually deaconesses, to sit among the children and nip any problems before they got out of hand. I think that was a good solution.
Jesus invited the children to come to Him, even in the face of His disciples' contrary viewpoint. Personally, I'm glad that many churches look for ways to address the children, even having a special time and event for them in the service. Perhaps your church can do this better than it is doing it now. Human nature being what it is, your best chance of seeing this happen, I suspect, is if you can present your case in an affirmative way, suggesting how to make a good thing better, rather than being perceived as complaining about what people have been doing. Ask the Lord to help you know how to do this in a winning and winsome manner.
I hope this is helpful. Thank you for writing, and God bless!
William Fagal, Director
Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office
Berrien Springs, MI 49104-1400 USA
Phone: 616 471-3209
FAX: 616 471-2646
Website: www.WhiteEstate.org or www.egwestate.andrews.edu