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.
When I was young I was an alter boy I loved serving mass. There was one time I had to serve 6am mass for the week. When my mom came to wake me she saw I was up and ready to go. As I left to walk to church, about 1 mile away, I felt afraid it was dark. I came across a house with a fence that had a statue of Mary and I stoped to pray. I said God I’m afraid will you help me and out of nowhere came a dog that walked me to church. As I got older I didn’t have the same feelings I did as a child and stopped going to church. Yet I still believed. We are admonished in Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. We must also remember our calling comes from God Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. If you feel empty inside and can’t fill that void with THINGS maybe God is calling you. I believe our job is to teach and to plant seed then let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
A Church is simply a reflection of it’s members, and as long as the members are of this world no church will be perfect. However with God’s help, we as individuals can move towards perfection by mimicking Christ. I believe the goal of every church that ever existed, or that ever will exist would be best served if it had a single goal for each of its members – live your life as Christ would and hope that someone notices just enough to do the same. Belonging to a Church allows us to remind each other of that…We need to be each other’s Christ-like example…Hope you are feeling better, my brother!
I meant to say when I was growing up I didn’t realize how important the church family was.
When I was growing up we were taken to church and realize how important the people that made up the church was. Raising my daughter and attending church was a family participation and we talked not only about the aspects of worshiping but the importance of the church family. It is one bond that will last a life time now matter where we are.
I think very few people have an answer of how to get them. take them to the church building. For most kids, there is no attraction.
It’s possible that the Jews have it right, in that the child’s formal religious exposure doesn’t really take off until they are 12-13 when they equate becoming an adult and becoming a full member of the church. It creates an expectation for the children and provides almost a social club like acceptance. It is also at the time when they are old enough to understand some of the deeper aspects of their beliefs…Prior to that it is the social interaction that is emphasized which at younger ages is a lot easier to enjoy for a kid.