Does Your Church Encourage Child Bearing?

Does Your Church Encourage Child Bearing?

Churches today seem to have lost their desire for children and no longer encourage their members to have children which is sad since God tells us that children are blessings from Him. One woman asked the women in the chat room if any of our churches encourage child bearing.

Lindsay Harold responded, “Our church has a lot of families with several kids, but rarely have I heard a pastor encourage families to have more children and I certainly never heard them say that having more children is a way to spread the gospel (except for my dad). It’s so sad that this important aspect of winning the world to Christ is so neglected. We aren’t told only to make converts, but to make disciples. This involves both making converts who become disciples and literally making disciples by having children. The church should be growing biologically, too.”

In my 58 years of attending church, I have never heard a pastor from the pulpit encourage couples to have children. Bearing children isn’t easy. It’s not gratifying to our fleshly pleasures. No, most of us are sick when we are pregnant. We are also very uncomfortable most of the time. Childbirth is extremely painful and scary, then comes the hard part of raising them by training, disciplining, and teaching them. Yes, it takes a lot of time, energy, money, and sacrifice to have children, but it is what God calls us to do.

In his book Adopted for Life, Russell Moore says that “Satan hates children and always has. History would say the same. In Scripture alone, we see the slaughter of the infants in Pharaoh’s Egypt and Herod’s Bethlehem. Every time the demonic powers forcefully oppose Jesus, ‘babies are caught in the crossfire.'” Who do you believe is the author of abortion, birth control, and all of the other harm that comes to children? Surely, not the Lord Most High.

There is a war on children, and we are all, in one way or another, playing some role in it. Every time we move forward as faithful parents (or care for kids in any capacity, including advocating for the voiceless not-yet-born, and volunteering for nursery duty on Sundays), we are wrestling demons — because there is little the demons hate more than little children.”

Then there is this view from Jessica Loewen Mason:

“A concerning new and popular trend in the Christian community. ‘Put off having children so you can focus all your efforts on spreading the gospel.’ Which family depiction below will have more influence in the world for Christ!? Parents of big families shoot their Godly arrows into society at multiple levels and impact the world for generations.”

Thankfully, we, as believers, can take heart because Christ has overcome the demons and their master that Russel Moore wrote about! We can bear and raise children for the Lord but we must be finding our strength and wisdom from His Word. If you’re afraid of bringing children them into this depraved culture, remember that Jesus called the generation He was walking among a “wicked and adulterous generation” (Matthew 16:4) and the Apostle Paul called it a “crooked and perverse nation” (Philippians 2:15) so nothing has changed!

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Deuteronomy 31:6

32 thoughts on “Does Your Church Encourage Child Bearing?

  1. Lori, we can’t talk about this enough because our culture has so thoroughly deceived all of us, even within the church!

    This issue is near and dear to my heart because I cannot tell you how often (almost every time there is a church gathering) I hear anti-child comments in the church (even very conservative and bible-believing churches), from church leaders and wives of church leaders. And no one sees anything wrong with it, at all. The one thing I keep hearing from church leaders is that the Bible is silent on the issue of birth control. Silent it is not! Right before I read your post, I was thinking that not once in the Bible (not once!) is there even hint that birth control is something good or wise. I just read the book of Ruth yesterday and I saw how the wives of the patriarchs were praised for “building up the house of Israel” and even Tamar. All throughout the Bible, you see how strongly women desired children. Today, thanks to Margaret Sanger, both women and men don’t want children. And the church is the same way sadly. And while even prominent Christian leaders will condemn the anti-child mentality–they don’t go far enough. Because they always allow people to justify not having more for “good reasons.”

    Having a large family sure changes your lifestyle and is more difficult. But when you give birth to children, you are giving birth to living and eternal souls. As a married woman that is of child bearing age, being open to having more children and being committed to raising them in the Lord is laying up treasures in heaven!

    1. Amen, EC. We watched the Duggar Family show last night about one of the daughters getting married. I told Ken that this show has so much purity and God-honoring words and actions in it. It is wonderful to watch. Each one of those children are a blessing and I love how much they value having babies. You know that as soon as they get married, they will most likely be having babies since they don’t prevent them but welcome them, instead.

      This is how the Church used to be. The great preachers of old spoke against birth control because they knew of its evil roots. It takes away all trust in God Almighty. Look how the Israelites became powerful when they were in captivity in Egypt – by having children!

  2. Amen, Amen, AMEN!!!

    Thanks for talking about this!!

    (And I add my ditto to all of EC’s comments above!)

    The Bible is NOT silent about birth control, and no one before the 20th century thought of it that way. It is only the encroachment (i.e. takeover) of feminism into the modern church that has made it seem so.

    It is incredibly common to hear anti-children comments from churchgoers. Things like, “Oh, you’re pregnant AGAIN?” This is NOT the way to treat God’s blessings in the church.

    Keep talking about this subject! It is one in which modern Christians have been horribly, horribly deceived.

    Additionally, we will never defeat abortion while we are accepting birth control, because the two have the same philosophical base – that children should only be accepted when they are wanted and convenient, rather than as precious and sacred blessings from God – at any time.

    Diana

    1. Amen, Diana! If God calls children a blessings, we should too. Even if one of my children has many children and when they come to me to tell me that they are pregnant with their tenth, I will cry and be thrilled about it! Children bring so much joy and laughter into this world.

    2. Diana I completely agree – birth control is at the root of a path of evil which treats sexual activity and sexual relationships in a way which is totally at odds with God’s plan and seeks to deny that procreation is what makes that activity Godly not sinful. Do that and abortion is inevitable. As women we are the bearers of God’s gift of life and as such for a woman, to use her body in an impure way (or let others) do so, to fornicate or to use contraception are the worst form of sin a woman can commit short of murdering her child. ALL
      Christian Churches should teach that and all Christian women should willingly accept that such things are wholly unacceptable – not matters of ‘choice’

  3. It’s really amazing what a testimony Godly offspring are to the outside world. People stare in disbelief when they see a close bond between parents and children, especially when the children are obedient and joyful. This seems impossible to a godless and wicked generation where fulfilling the lusts of the flesh are front and center in most people’s lives.

    One of the missions the Lord has put in my heart is to have conversations with people around me with my children present and participating in the discussing. It only takes a spark to start a fire, and when people really take to my children because of their kindness and strength of character, I use that opportunity to share what we focus on and teach them on a daily basis that culminates a heart like they have. When I do this, I literally see men and women who have never planned on having chidlren suddenly develop a hope that they could raise up offspring that don’t turn out like so many do nowadays. Perhaps we are hope-givers when we do this!

    Just the other day we were out at a restaurant with our children and an elderly couple engaged us when they saw our children interacting so respectfully with us and others. After a long conversation about how we have chosen to raise up our chidlren and seeing their excitement at the fact that there are some, albeit few, who are raising their children to be difference-makers and a light in the world, the lady whispered in my ear as our family was leaving the restaurant, “Keep having babies. :)”

    Our children, if we raise them up in the Lord, can have a far greater impact on this world for the Kingdom than a husband and wife could who have chosen to forgo this single greatest blessing.

    1. Amen, TJFW! Yes, keep having them because your children are precious. Our neighbors watched our children grow up. They saw that they didn’t rebel during the teen years and were always kind and respectful towards them. I have heard some of them praise my children and it gives me opportunities to speak about the goodness of the Lord and His wonderful ways. We are blessed with four lights shining in the darkness who have married four more lights and are producing more little lights! 🙂

  4. Our Pastor DOES indeed encourage children! We are so blessed to have a pastor that loves children and the scriptures! The church puts their money where their mouth is as well! We have a church ministry that many people support that gives $1,000 to any family when a new child is born! The same ministry will help families in need if a financial problem arises…ie hospital bills, midwife, etc. We also have a very small church school and they only charge a small fee for the first child, any other child in the family is free! They don’t want to punish you with a higher school bill because you choose to do the biblical thing and have many children!

    1. What a wonderful set up. I feel very strongly that all Christian Churches should be emphatic in teaching that contraception is a sin and children are a gift from God but to balance that with positive help and encouragement for families is wonderful.

  5. My husband and I were having this discussion not to long ago. The church I grew up in didn’t encourage child-bearing let alone instilling the desire for young adults to want to get married! They do encourage us to go to school, have careers, be financially stable and then you are ready to have a family. There are no babies/toddlers in the little ones classes because no one wants children or want to get married. Some of the older members have complained how there is no young children and they are the same ones that have encouraged the young adults to live their life and focus on school, careers, etc.

    This is truly sad because now you have a lot of people my age and older that are drowning in sin due to fornication, pornography, etc. because they are told to focus on self instead of finding/praying for a godly spouse. My husband and I was the first marriage the church had in years! A lot of people were surprised that my husband and I wanted to get married young (I was 23 and he 22). A few people even tried to discourage us but we would simply answer that we wanted to do things right and it is what God wants us to do. And then they even told us we should wait to have children. Ha! My husband and I use no methods of birth control (Thanks be to God my mother taught her girls how birth control was harmful to the body and hardly works because I was conceived with my mom on it. Since then she has never used it) and recently he told me of his desire to start a family. We are praying about it and we hope to be blessed with many.

    1. Dennis Prager, a radio personality, has said that getting married and having children is the best thing for young people because it forces them to grow up and mature. You bring up a good point that our culture’s obsession with higher education and careers is all self-focused and not on what is best for culture as a whole.

      1. Definitely the obsession with higher education and career is wrong when applied to young women. It is difficult for women who follow that path to keep themselves pure and so often women who wait later struggle to have the family they ultimately want.

  6. The pastor at my parents’ Baptist church preached a sermon on being fruitful and multiplying as God commanded. The next year there was a baby boom. I enjoy visiting their church, because there are many large families with lots of young children, so our family of eight is not strange or out of place. This is nothing like any churches we’ve been to here on the east coast. I don’t know if it would be the same way there had he not preached that one single sermon!

    Childbirth is not always “extremely painful and scary.” After my first one, I found it had been nothing like what I expected based on all the horror stories I had heard and “education” I had received. In the next four childbirths, I found my pain level was directly related to fear. When I got fearful, pain came. There is a physical component to fear and fear literally hinders our bodies from opening for the child to come forth! With my sixth, the nurses afterward said they wouldn’t have even known I was in labor except for a couple times my face got red (because I was so hot). I literally did not experience any pain, it was such a surreal experience. I have had fearful things happen multiple times, threatened c section, induction with labor not progressing, potential breech birth, two eleven pound babies, hemorrhage, etc. but have come through just fine and actually really enjoy the whole process!

    I realize not everyone has had experiences like mine, but I’d like to encourage everyone to encourage those who are fearful! Everyone doesn’t have bad experiences. The more knowledge we have about how God made our bodies to work, the more we can trust his way of giving birth is good, and can replace fear with faith.

    1 Tim 2:15 is interesting and faith building. If you read “saved in childbearing” as “‘delivered and protected’ in ‘childbirth’ if she continues in faith….” (the literal definitions of the words from strong’s), then it could possibly be extremely relevant to this topic! I’m no scholar ? But my experience does match up with that. We are believers, no need to fear!

    God bless you, Lori, for your words to us younger women. I have followed you for years now, and my daughters and I like watching your videos on YouTube!

    1. Thank you, Mrs. F. No, we aren’t supposed to fear but even the Bible speaks about the pain of a woman in childbirth. You sound like one of the blessed few that didn’t have to experience much of that!

  7. Yes to this. So many Christians are deceived. I of hear it couched in language of “being a good steward” and only “having as many as you can support”. This leaves no room for God to show Himself strong. Furthermore (and maybe worse), it shows a complete lack of understanding of what stewardship actually is. Stewardship is taking whatever God gives you and using it to His glory and to further His Kingdom. It is not saying, “no Lord, don’t give me that” or burying it in the ground. No one would ever say I am not going to accept this money because I am being a good steward. Rather they would ask how shall I use this money God gave me to honor Him.

    I just learned the other day that the most popular boys name in London is now Muhammad. It is hard to tell that is the most popular name because there are several ways to spell it, but if you take all the spellings together that is the most popular name. I think it is sad that the Muslims understand something that Christians do not. Europe is wondering what happened that the majority in certain places are Muslims but they have reaped what they sowed. We will too if we continue down this path.

    1. I find it terribly troubling that Christians worry and fear about having more children, Michelle. This is why I love these verses: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed” (Ps. 37:25, 26). He owns everything and if He blesses us with children, He will provide! Birth control has stolen so many of God’s children from this world. It’s shameful.

  8. Thank you Lori so much for your encouraging blog! Joyously, my husband and I found out we are expecting yesterday. We decided before we got married in March of this year that we wouldn’t prevent children with potentially abortifacent birth control (all of them can be abortifacent). While thinking about how this will affect our church relationships, we realized that we will be having a baby before four other couples in our church that were married before my husband and I even began dating. It is so sad our culture and even our churches sees children as anything but blessings from God. We hope to be an example to the other families as what a God fearing family looks like. Your blog helped me think through these important issues biblically and we probably would not be having this baby right now without your ministry. -an excited mom to be

    1. Yay and congratulations, Mrs. Berkenpas! This is wonderful news. Yes, I hope you can be a positive role model to others in your church and show them the beauty of living life according to God’s Word instead of our own selfish desires.

      1. We love babies here. After my kids moved out I went to school to become a midwife and I enjoy working around babies and new mothers.

        I do want to point out, Mrs. Berkenpas, that not all birth control are “abortifacents.” Condoms, female condoms, femcaps, diaphragms and spermicides are not in the least hormonal and are completely safe to use.

  9. Mrs. Alexander, what is the best route for those couples who are not able to conceive? My husband and I would deeply love to be parents. As a result of an illness and consequent surgery when I was younger, I cannot carry children. Is adoption our only option? We were also thinking of looking into gestational surrogacy.

    1. Mrs. P., I hope you don’t mind me replying. I have a similar situation, except that it’s my husband’s illness that kept us from conceiving. I realize I might say something that doesn’t pertain to you, but I’m going to start at the beginning. First, it was important for me to accept that I was unlikely to become pregnant. I had to mourn the loss of being able to carry a child, the loss of being like other people, and the loss of having a child who was physically a part of my husband and me. I had to believe that God has His best planned for me even when I couldn’t see it. Then I could consider adoption. I realize this might not be the progression for everyone.

      It wasn’t hard for us to decide to adopt; we knew we’d adopt if we were unable to conceive. There are many kinds of adoption: domestic, foster care, international…so find out about each one, and decide what best fits your family. Pray for wisdom. Don’t think of adoption as “saving” a child. You might bring a child out of a bad situation, but it’s about forming a family, not about you being a hero. I say this in part because other people will tell you how noble you are to adopt, and how they could never do it.

      We chose to adopt an infant domestically. We believe God led us to that option, and now that we have our daughter, I can’t imagine it any other way. It wasn’t easy. When you do your home study, you will think the adoption agency knows more about you than you know about yourself! There are forms and more forms to fill out. Then there’s the waiting. I won’t lie. The waiting is hard. When a person is pregnant, they know it will last 9 moths, give or take. When you adopt, you don’t know when you will become a mom. People will ask you questions that you don’t want to answer, and they will give you advice that is neither helpful nor appropriate. You have to brush it off, and you have to find someone who can be your support system. Our pastor and his wife had adopted, and they were an amazing support to us.

      Adoption is wonderful, but it’s also hard. It’s hard to wait, but it’s also hard emotionally. I can’t think of a time that I’ve experienced more conflicting emotions. When our daughter was born, I was ecstatic, and yet I was also so sad at the pain I saw on the faces of her birth parents. Adoption wasn’t an easy decision for them either.

      I don’t say all of this to dissuade you from adopting. I just think it’s important to go into it with a clear understanding and realistic thinking. I am so glad we were able to adopt! Besides the joy of being a mom, I became closer to my husband, and I deepened my relationship with the Lord. But I do think it’s common in churches to say “just adopt!” as if it’s the easiest thing in the world and completely noble and worry free. Please talk to people who’ve adopted, read, ask questions at an agency. No question is too small to ask!

      We did consider embryo adoption. There is no glaring reason that we decided against it, but we just did not feel it was for us. Research it, ask your doctor about it, and you might find it’s a good fit for you.

      I know I wrote a lot, but this topic is obviously very near and dear to my heart, I have been blessed beyond belief by adoption, and if God calls you to it, you will be, too!

      1. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful reply. We know from testing that we are both fertile, but since my uterus is gone I would not be able to become pregnant. We are weighing all our limited options carefully and waiting to see if we are called to adopt or if we can have a biological child through surrogacy.
        Sometimes parts of me feel very sad that I am not able to provide my husband with children the way I should. He married me knowing I could not carry his children, but I still feel negative about it. I think you are correct that the mourning process for people who cannot have children is very important. It seems like I’m slowly coming to terms with it. You’re also very correct that many people attempt (in kindness or not) to give advice and suggestions. I am learning to tune out those people and focus on keeping my marriage strong until a path forward is made clear.

  10. Amen! My husband and I are blessed with a large family. Waiting too long to marry when God’s word clearly directs otherwise is sin! We are created to be helpmeets and mothers, and rebelling against the natural order for a useless “education” or other foolishness leads to fewer blessings to proclaim God’s word. We can learn a lot from the families of old – their daughters certainly did not pursue their selfish desires. They stayed home until united in marriage with a Godly young man!

    1. I absolutely and completely agree ! You so often hear of women who wait to follow a career before marriage (doubtless falling into sin) then marry and struggle to conceive.

      All Christian women should understand that to use birth control is completely contrary to God’s design for them and for marriage and all Christian Churches should condemn contraception as they rightfully do abortion.

  11. There are lots of children and babies in our church. In our small Sunday morning fellowship we have 24 adults and 17 children! Most of us do use birth control, though, once we’ve had several children. There are only a few families who have more than six children in our wider church.

    I did not find childbirth particularly painful or scary, at all. I had 4 children all born at home, and on two of those occasions, the midwife did not get there on time to attend the birth, but several minutes later. Of course there are always going to be emergencies out of our control, but for the most part, I believe that our childbirth experience is greatly affected by our mindset. God created women to have babies. Why should we be afraid? He designed our bodies perfectly, with childbirth in mind!

  12. Thinking about this, my husband and I would likely not have chosen to end our childbearing years (I had a tubal ligation, at my husband’s request, after our 4th child) if society was not so adamantly opposed to large families.
    Here, child poverty is a very big, very real thing. We have hundreds of homeless families. Thousands of children every day are going to school with no shoes, without breakfast, without lunch. They are often sick. The more children these families have, the higher the likelihood it is that they will be homeless.

    After my husband had an accident and seriously injured his back, and was unable to work for a time and eventually changed his career path, we struggled financially. And I mean REALLY struggled financially. Our parents had to help us out, a lot, just to feed our kids. We’re doing better now, but they’re only getting more expensive as they get older. And people (not in the church but in society in general) look down on us because we have chosen to have what is considered to be a “large” family by standards here, when we really can’t afford to. We have NO luxuries. Not ever. All our needs are met, but our “wants” aren’t.
    Unless society here changes, and big families can actually afford to live (in the cities, average rent is about the same as an average wage and our food prices are tremendously high) there will be fewer and fewer Christians having large families.

  13. I wish I could have more children, earth side (2 miscarriages). Unfortunately, we can no longer. Adoption is astronomical financially, so that option is out. I am blessed to have 3 healthy kids!

    Also, I would like to say, I do wish you would put a disclaimer in… not all birth control is used to stop pregnancy. There ARE medical reasons people are put on it. In fact, sometimes it’s used to HELP people get pregnant. As well, most birth controls will not rid an already existing pregnancy. Many stop ovulation all together, so no conceived baby is killed.

  14. I think large families have fallen even more out of favor the last 5-10 years because of all the “Quiverfull” and Patriarchal abuse and adultery scandals that have happened. Now people not only don’t want a lot of kids, they’re afraid to have them because of what people might think. I come from a family of 13, and so many people assumed we were part of some kind of cult. In reality, my parents just loved God and believed that children are a blessing. Bad things happen when people start following people instead of God. Now I have three kids three and under, and it’s awesome!!

  15. I am part of. small Catholic women’s group and even in a Church which condemns contraception we have been criticised for insisting that all members sign up to some basic principles one of which is not using contraception.

  16. This was a timely article for me because I am now 7 weeks pregnant.

    What I think also needs to be addressed is how churches treat babies and young children, and shame mothers. It was recently addressed in our church that we need to silence our babies and children, take them OUT of the church during service (not even to the nursery, as it is for nursing mothers only).
    It was hammered for so long that several mothers (who are in ministry at the church) were embarrassed and ashamed, and now takes her children out of church every single service as soon as the young one even starts blabbering.
    I was also told that my baby “will NOT act like that in church”. Yeah, no. You’re not putting unrealistic expectations on my child, just because my husband is a preacher.

    Yes, I do believe we need to train and teach our children to behave accordingly, but a 1 or 2 year old cannot sit still, quietly for over an hour. It’s not developmentally appropriate. It saddens me that churches are shaming mothers.

    1. Wow! That’s sad, ConcernedFTM. We attended two Calvary Chapel churches recently while church hunting, and they were EXTREMELY opposed to us keeping our kids in the service. They basically told us we had to turn them over to complete strangers or else. We almost walked out, but they relented and told us to sit in the back. Thankfully, the kids did great. But we sure won’t be trying another Calvary Chapel ever, since it happened both times at two different ones.

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