I am expecting that this post will not sit well with some people. I am not writing it to pick a fight or sound high and mighty. The real spirit of the post is two things: confusion and concern. I have been a local church pastor long enough to see certain trends and patterns. Some of these patterns are good news, others are not. Some you fight, some you just have to concede to. But there is one that is growing and I just do not understand it. Please note that before I go on anymore, I want to say I am writing to professing Christians. This is aimed at those who would say “I am a disciple of Jesus.”
It is has been said by some that the greatest idol in suburbia is our children. As a father of four, I can absolutely see the temptation to have your children become your god. For the record, I think family is incredibly important. I would absolutely say that being a family man is something that I want to mark my life. My order of relationship priority is God, Kelly, my kids and then everyone else. With that said, something has gone crazy. We post pictures of every single thing our children do. We connect them to every extra-curricular we can. We give them access to incredibly powerful tools like cell phones and iPads with little to no accountability and guidance. In many ways, we do not say “no” to them and what they want or what we think they “need.” Full disclosure: I am all for pictures and capturing moments. I have my kids enrolled in extracurriculars and try and coach. My two oldest have some gadgets to play with. My point is not to say these things are bad, but is to highlight that our culture has become child-centric. They drive everything. And I mean everything. When this is pressed, the answer is “I love them. I would do anything for them. They are my world.” These points are hard to argue against, but I think at times we have to be honest and say this has moved from love to idolatry. But yet that is not even the fight I want to pick.
You say you love your kids. You say you would do anything for them. You say you only do for them what is best. And you also say you love Jesus. You say He is your God. You say He is your king. You say He is the center of your world. But here is the disconnect: If you love your kids, why do you not give them as much of Jesus as possible. Now how we show Jesus to our kids is complex and it surfaces in many ways. But one way that can not be argued both from scripture and in principle is in connecting them to the local church. So all this has been written to say this. I see a trend. Parents say they are all about the best for their kid, but yet the kid and the kid’s life is keeping them from connecting them to church. I know you can still be a Christian and not attend church. I know you can go to church and not be a Christian at all. I get it. But regular pattern of connecting your kid to church is a no-brainer way of loving your child. I am left confused and concerned that it continues this way.
I know you are busy. I know they have a tournament. I know they cry when you put them in the nursery. I know they get sick. I know you were out of town at a wedding. I know it was a long week. I know there was no other day to sleep in (no excuse at Grace Fellowship, we have Saturday night services at the Pickerington campus). I know that one time they had a bad experience in the toddler room. I know. All those things are real. And they are real for me too. But I fundamentally believe it is best to just push through it. Because I love my kids. And I love Jesus. And I believe part of loving Jesus is loving His bride, the church. And part of loving the church, is being in one regularly and connecting to one. And so I believe that because I love my kids, one of the best things I can give them is the priority of the local church.
So if you have drifted from church and God and the routine, and you love your kids, (and I know you love your kids, there are pictures on Instagram to tell me) then take the step to get back to church. Just make it happen. No negotiation, no debate, no excuses, just do it.