I’ve had to reflect on this thought often as a parent because let’s be honest…having little ones in church can feel pointless at times, right? And I was once a children’s minister! As a mom, I’m often so busy passing out snacks, wiping noses, taking kids on potty breaks, feeding or changing diapers in the nursery, by the time I look at my watch….did I even hear a word of the sermon? Was I even able to sing and worship without a child melting down beside me? Would people get more out of the service if my child wasn’t throwing cheerios at them over the pew? What IS the point to this? Why do we do it every week?!
Maybe you feel the same way too and the weekly Sunday morning grind is starting to get to you. Take heart mama! I truly believe your efforts are not in vain. You are planting seeds that may not be sown for years to come. I find it helpful to sit back and reflect on the reasons we don’t sleep in on Sunday mornings as a family. Being purposeful and intentional about our faith helps me keep a positive attitude when the kids aren’t in the mood to be still in the pew, so I thought I’d share some of the reasons it’s important for our family to try to be at church each week.
Our church is our family.
The church isn’t the building, it’s the people. How can you have a relationship with people if you neglect seeing them and spending time with them? The importance of our church family is easy for us to see because we have no biological immediate family in the state. Through ups and downs, through health crises, through births and deaths, through laughter and tears, our church family has been there for each other. Are they perfect? NO! But no family is perfect. We share triumphs and struggles and by fellowshipping with them each week we grow closer, we share life’s joys and sorrows, we know each other on a deeper level. My kids may not think the sermon is applicable to them, but they sure do love running around with their friends afterward, and I always try to explain to them that is an important part of going to church: the relationships you form!
Our church provides opportunities to serve.
Our faith believes that serving others is a cornerstone to our religion. Through our church we have organized ways to serve in small and large efforts. Sometimes within our members, sometimes within our community, and sometimes on a more global scale. The service projects we do with our kids may just seem like fun activities to them (buying Christmas gifts for those in need or baking cookies for firemen), but it’s teaching them to think of others before themselves. And yes we can and do acts of service on our own as a family, but I think there is strength in numbers and sometimes more can be accomplished in a larger group.
Our church is a priority.
I will not be legalistic and say that I feel we need to be there every single time the doors are open, but I will say it sends a confusing message to our kids if we constantly put other things before meeting with our church family. Whether that’s sleeping in, sports activities, movies, hunting, etc. I want to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. So if we say that our faith is something we put first in our lives then we will be there with our church family as often as we can.
Our church helps us learn and grow.
From the Bible classes, to the sermons, to the book studies, to the small groups, we have studied the Bible together and challenged each other on many different topics. This deals with the obvious spiritual issues but also delves into the realms of political and ethical too. No we don’t always agree, but the conversations held are important in growing and learning from each other and from God’s word. We can hold each other accountable so that we can become better people. This is obviously something we automatically do as parents, but it takes a village to raise a child and I hope and pray that my children will have many God-fearing adults in their lives they can turn to in times of need and that those people will be able to help them learn and grow through life.
I was once a kid with a snotty attitude some Sunday mornings. I didn’t always jump out of bed singing “this is the day the Lord has made” with a grin on my face. But I’m glad my parents spent years dragging us to church. Because now I’m the parent and I don’t see it as dragging. I see it as a beneficial part of our spiritual lives. I see it as a renewal each week. I see it as the uplifting motivational reminder each week of my purpose on earth and I hope one day my children will believe these things too…even if right now they might be too little to see the big picture!
Do you struggle in finding the purpose in bringing the littles to church each week? What motivates you to keep the faith with young children?