In when I was a kid at special occasions me and my cousins and or friends typically sat at a table away from adults. We were segregated to be with out the adults. In most big box church's community is tied to the same school of thought.
My wife are discovering like many others that a complete integration of the age divide is actually a more accurate representation of the Bride of Christ. We have found that the more meals we share with our children and their friends the more we know them. The more I know the kids the more I have seen the workings of Jesus Christ. Sometimes in your gatherings the kids can become a distraction, I believe that the distraction can be helpful too though.
The Helpful Distraction-
Prior to jumping off the big box church boat, we were small group facilitators for a group that gathered in our home. The small group time looked like this: We would meet in the afternoon with snacks, the kids would play upstairs, the adults would move into the front living room and discuss whatever curriculum or topic that was given to use. There would be distractions from kids time to time, one child more than all the others like ten fold. This would frustrate me and make me very uneasy because our meeting was not on "schedule". I brewed on this the whole time we met and my feelings were obviously not healthy.
Looking back here's what I and others missed. This constant distraction could have been helpful to us all. We all had kids we all needed to be more transparent with each other with our struggles and we all needed to be more open to the Holy Spirit. This distraction could have been a catalyst in our group instead because of our perceived notion of church community taught from years of wrong perspective it became a dividing wedge that was never discussed openly.
Now how many times in your life has God put a distraction in your path that you pushed aside because your focus was on the wrong thing? I don't have enough time to lay my laundry list at your feet.
The Un-helpful Distraction
The unhelpful distraction is not loud unruly children, it is the parents who refuse to pour out there thoughts and beliefs with the community of believers so an understanding can be put in place. In the organic church group parenting is no different that your portion of Jesus Christ. Every parent parents differently and parents each child in their family in different ways. What I am saying is its okay for family X to have their parenting tactic, it's okay that family Y does the polar opposite, it's fine that family Z looks different than those other two family's. God made us all different so it should be no shock we all parent differently.
We all have a portion of Christ-
If you are part of an organic church then it is safe to say that someone somewhere has said "we all have a portion of Jesus" or something to that nature. The children in the group fit into that phrase as well.
There are five kids between my two neighbors plus my three make eight total kids. When the six adults and eight kids are eating a meal together it can be physically tough to get us all at a table together but our space is together for the majority of the time. When Jesus is being expressed I can assure you that children are usually more aware than adults once they are questioned about what they have seen and heard. My seven year old sees a lot of Jesus Christ from non-colloquial times with others.
What is important-
Jesus Christ is the head and we are the body. Adults are not the only functioning members in your community. If we love another then that includes the kids that are not patented the way you think they should be. If you are in an organic community and talking about kids is a struggle then something else might be at the core of the struggle.
Our kids sit at the table eating and feasting with us. They are all unique and bring much to the conversation. We have found the more included in community they are the more we all grow closer together.
We all have opinion about children and I think it is fair that they all be shared in our gatherings.