I grew up in the church. Both of my parents are church music directors. I remember spending Saturday nights running around the sanctuary with my brothers while my parents practiced the organ for Sunday morning services. We raced up and down the stairs to the balcony trying to get away from the imagined Church Monster that hid in the back with its window eyes and long red carpet tongue. I remember army crawling under church pews, writing stories on the prayer request cards with tiny pencils, and falling asleep on the soft velvet pew cushions.
To this day I can sleep anywhere and through anything because of those late night organ rehearsals. 🙂
So when my husband shared that he, too, was also called to be a worship pastor, I was so happy to know that my life would not change too much. I knew the life of ministry and I loved it. I love the Church and I love church.
And I am so happy to share that with my kids.
But things aren’t always perfect when it comes to my kids and their attitudes about church! Just last week Jethro threw himself down on the floor outside of his Sunday School classroom because he didn’t want to go inside. So… there’s that. 🙂
I guess that’s why I am writing this post! For all of the parents who sometimes wonder what to do when they sense a resistant spirit in their child (or in their own hearts) about going to church.
The most important thing that I believe will help encourage our boys to grow to see church as a beautiful and important part of the Christian life…
Is to be faithful.
All those years I watched my parents be faithful to practice and attend church was for the ultimate goal of glorifying the Lord. I saw that. I saw how much they loved to serve their Father. And it stuck with me, too.
When my babies were new, it was crazy hard for me to get to church. I remember by the time I fed the baby, packed everything up, and got myself ready, I knew when I got to church it would be time to feed the baby again. I was always tempted to just stay home. There were days I didn’t make it (and there’s grace for that), but for the most part, I showed up.
It was hard and sometimes I wondered what the point was, but the Lord saw us going. We didn’t give up! We did it for Him.
And there we find the transforming perspective that church is not about us!
Church is for worshiping God.
This gentle reminder is so helpful to remember when my children complain that they would rather stay home and play with their toys on Sunday morning. This is so helpful to remember when I would rather stay in bed on Sunday morning. This is so helpful to remember when we are tempted to make church about song selections, music volume, people, ministries, and bagel selections.
Repeat after me – It’s not about me. It’s not about me. 🙂
Does this mean that we aren’t allowed to benefit from church? Oh my goodness – no! Do you know who the Lord loves to bless? A room full of people surrendering everything they want because they want what God wants more. I have been convicted and set free from so many sins during times of worship on Sunday mornings. He has used songs and messages to encourage and grow my faith. I love getting to share those intimate times with my kids.
Plus, as we confess sins corporately, sing our hearts out (especially during difficult trials), fellowship with other believers, and serve using our gifts – we will be sharpened and encouraged by watching others do the same.
Is church perfect? Ha! Where there are people, there will be problems. Find a church that puts Jesus and biblical truth first, but don’t be surprised *when* someone makes a mistake, says silly things, or does something to hurt you or others. I have been wounded by church leaders and goers and have seen some pretty crazy church drama. But again, we have to remember the bigger picture. Church is not about us. I could choose to focus on the people who hurt me within the church walls and let it rob me of obedience to go at all, or I can choose to extend forgiveness and grace and remember that church is a place to advance His kingdom, not mine.
And for what it’s worth, the amount of wounds we have from people in the church has nothing on the amount of blessings we have received from people in the church.
There is an older man at our church who pretends to pull pennies out of my boys’ ears every Sunday. There’s a chiropractor who adjusts my husband for free in between services. The kid ministry is bursting with cheerful, patient workers. The church supported our marriage through some tough times. Several talented people offered their services to help us fix our house when it broke. And we never would have survived Jethro’s season were it not for the hundreds of people who prayed and provided for us every step of the way. The Body of Christ works together for His good purposes. Being faithful helps my kids see that in action.
So when your child is lying face down in front of the church building refusing to go inside, does that mean he hates church? No. Maybe it means he’s tired or hungry. Or maybe it means that he, like all of us, is a work in progress, and the key is to not get discouraged, but to keep showing up and keep worshiping God.
As a mentor mom in our church says, “You water, you wait, you’ll see.”
See you at church! 🙂
“The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfection and meditating in his Temple.” Psalm 122:1