A Church Family is Critical to YOUR Family!
Church is important.
I’m convinced that while it may not be impossible, it is certainly very hard to raise children successfully without involvement in a local church. By successfully, I mean children who grow to be well-adjusted young people who have developed a serious and personal faith in God. Of course, parenting aside, it’s hard for any person to be a growing Christian without involvement in a local church.
The Bible tells us a lot about why it’s important to be part of a church. I’m taking it for granted that you and I are in agreement about this importance, so it isn’t the point of this article, but you could read Acts 2, or Hebrews 10:25 if you wanted a refresher.
Acts 2: 46-47 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I'd also like to remind you that around the world every day our fellow Christians living in hostile countries risk their lives in order to meet together in homes, basements, outdoors, or wherever they can. It's that important for them to gather together to encourage each other and worship God together! As Christians, spending time with our fellow believers is to be a critical part of our life, so it makes sense that it is also a critical part of our parenting.
On a practical level, what are the benefits of the church to our family? Allow me to list a few...
Sunday School – Maybe your church has a Sunday School, or maybe it’s a Children’s program during the church service. Whatever the format, having someone else teaching the Bible to your kids is very helpful in building their faith and their beliefs. This does not relieve your responsibility to teach the Bible to your kids, but it does reinforce what you are teaching them.
Cross-Generational Contact – One of the things I’ve appreciated most about our church is that it is multi-generational. There are a lot of young families, but there are also a lot of senior citizens, and everyone in-between. Since I’ve attended the church for many years I know the senior citizens fairly well, and they take an interest in our family and talk to our children. When our children were a bit younger there was a sweet elderly woman that loved them dearly, and every week after the church service they would seek her out and give her a hug. This opportunity for kids to connect with and appreciate their elders is valuable in shaping them to be thoughtful and well-rounded.
Demonstrating Priorities – Getting the family to church each Sunday morning is no small undertaking. Simply by doing this each week you are teaching your children where your priorities lie, without even saying a word.
Social Activities – Especially important for homeschoolers, but positive, Christian social opportunities are valuable for all kids. Some of my best High School memories are from church Youth Group.
Inspiring Volunteerism – This will vary depending on the size and type of church that you attend, but usually being part of a church can give your child opportunity to be involved and volunteerin a variety of ways: Singing or playing an instrument, Youth Group, Missions Trips, volunteering for small church tasks, etc. As they get older, the opportunities can include teaching, helping with children's ministries, or even preaching. Also, if you as a parent are volunteering and helping at church your kids will see that, and hopefully follow your lead as they get older.
Biblical Understanding – If you have a good pastor, the Sunday morning sermon will be your child's deepest Bible teaching that they will have all week. For this reason, it's my preference to keep our children with us during the sermon part of the church service as soon as possible. Even if there is a Children's service or program available. I find that even if the kids are drawing or doing something else to occupy themselves during the sermon, they still tend to hear and absorb what is being said.
I hope it's clear that being active with a local church family provides an incredible assist for you as a parent.
But, above all of that, I believe it is hard to grow as a Christian without being active in a local church, and there is nothing that will affect your children more then YOU taking your Christian life seriously.
If you are part of a church currently, great. Get there each week. Get to know people. Volunteer. Encourage your fellow church members. Grow.
If you are not part of a church, take the next step and find one!