When our kids were younger, I unknowingly did them a disservice when it came to the meaning of our attending church. I spent no significant time in explaining what we were doing, where we were going and why. It became a matter of us ‘taking’ the kids to church versus our family ‘going’ to Church. You take your kids to the dentist or the doctor, you go to the movies. (‘Taking’ is not as fun as ‘going’.) It became a trip to a building, the church, and not ‘Church’, the community. No wonder they weren’t dragging us out the door on Sunday morning. Even as they got older I left it up to our church to fill in the gaps of their understanding, where in truth it should have been me. If I had to do it all over again, I would handle it this way, and try to explain that:
- Our relationship first and foremost is with God, His Son, Jesus and the others that believe as we do (the Church)
- The primary purpose of the Church as it always has been is to gather to praise God, hear and discuss His Word, provide support to fellow members of the Church, and draw others to Christ.
- Attending Church (the gathering) is an opportunity for us to center ourselves in the presence of God and each other and gain the strength we need to meet the challenges of this life, and prepare for the work that God has created for us all to do.
- The church building is, in my opinion, of little consequence and nothing more than a particular Church’s interpretation of how God is glorified and how the Church leadership is moved to expend their resources.
- Two thousand years ago the new Christian Church gathered in members’ homes or any other place that suited the purpose, because Jesus said that wherever two or more gather in His name there also would He be.
- That God’s presence now resides within us. So pick a Church not on its physical presence, but on how it manifests Christ’s spiritual presence to its members.
- The Church that your parents attend does not necessarily need to be the Church that you attend. Choose a Church on how well the Church expresses and lives out God’s presence and His Word here on earth, knowing that in its essence the Christian Church is bound more on those principles than any doctrines that may define the several denominations that make up modern day Christianity
OK, so maybe I would not be so wordy, but you get the drift: that the building contains the Church. And, that although tradition is what normally first brings us to Church, it is relationship and community that keeps us going back.