"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. " Proverbs 22:6
I'd really like to re-write this passage to be more of a command. I strongly believe that many parents take this lightly and as a suggestion. I'd like for the scripture to read;
"(YOU) Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
I have been thinking about "Training Up a Child" in regards to the church more often than not and when I do I get a tad bit frustrated, well maybe angry. Church has become a place where people come to take, take, take all they can get when in reality we are suppose to come to church to give. We give our all in worship, in our tithing, in our serving, but I think that so many have forgotten what going to church is really about. Yes, we are priviliged to be able to worship, fellowship and study the scriptures and to serve one another but I often wonder if that is really why parents bring their children to church.
I've heard "I come to church because it's free child care and it's the only break I get during the week" I get that..I totally do. We all need a break. While my Breezy is away, church is a place where I can get a break from my kids but think about it people I'm the Director of Children's Ministry, even though I'm getting a break from my boys I am serving other children and their families. I'm serving children because that is the God given calling/desire that has been placed on my heart. I'm just thankful that my children can be a part of my "job".
I know that we do not all have a calling to serve but we are all called to serve; in many differnt settings/capcities. Joshua 22:5 is very specific in this calling;
"Be very careful to keep the commandments and the law that Moses, the servant of the Lord gave you; to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways; to obey his commands, to hold fast and to SERVE HIM with all your heart and soul.
How can we (myself included) serve the church instead of taking it for all its worth? Well, here are a few of my thoughts. I apologize if I offend ANY of you.
1. Do It Yourself- Instead of sending your children to Sunday School or Church and hanging out else where, attend your own Sunday School call and Worship then share with one another one or two thoughts of interest on the way home or over lunch.
2. Worship Together- This is a BIGGIE for me because as I grew up there was no other option than to attend worship or "Big Church". There was no KIDSWorship, there was no inbetween. Earlier last year I made the decision for the children at our church to attend worship with their families once a month. Did I do this to be a pain in the behind to the parents HECK NO! Remember I have a 5 year old of my own who has a VERY difficult time sitting through a worship service. Here's my OPINION (take it or leave it) I did this because it is so important to me that our children know what it means to be a part of our church families worship not just "KIDSWorship". We can take our children to KIDSWorship every Sunday but that is not teaching them how to sit in the pew (wiggly or not) and be an active part of worship. It's really a disjustice if you think about it. Our children need to understand that we are a "Family" and families do things together. Yes, there is always time for just the adults but there are also times when children and adults do things together.
3. Church is not a chore. It is one of the healthiest habits we can teach or children. Regular church attendance can be very rewarding not boring. I love that my Big Boy ask me every Sunday morning; "Do I get to go to Sunday School today?" He knows the answer will always be yes but he ask anyways. That's just a part of his OCD! My baby boy (2) will say "See Howy, See Shanny, See Gracie, See Bret Bret" when I tell him it's time to go to church. Although, we are at church A LOT because that's where I work, it's not a place where my children dread going (unless they've been there for 8 hours).
It is such a delight to me when I can look over our attandance sheets at the end of the quarter and reward our kids with "Bible Bucks" for perfect attendance. You don't have to attend church activites 8 times a week (I sure don't) but become reguarly involved, as you are able, in church activities such as; Small Groups, Sunday School, Choirs, Ministry Teams, Mission Trips, Children's Ministry, etc. The rewards are abounding.
I'm going to stop here for now before this gets to be too long......There is more to come I promise.
I'd like to leave you with this article that I think is written so well;
Children in Worship-Let's Bring it Back-