(This sign was created at http://www.addletters.com/disneyland-sign-generator.htm)
I had the joy of speaking at our church’s Homebuilders* group this weekend… and it got me thinking. I shared a story of our adorable 3 year old son and how he loves going to church because he and his sister play in different rooms (baby Kate just turned 1 a few months ago… so she’s still down in our church’s nursery). You see, Carter loves building towers with blocks and Kate LOVES knocking them down… but, at church, Carter can build towers and play with toys without “the Destroyer” coming by and wrecking his masterpiece.
After sharing that story, I wrestled with what we’ve done with church. Church, in many ways, has become a place where a family goes to spend time away from each other. Parents head off to classes or worship services, youth attend their own programming, while children spend time in a completely separate part of the church. It comes to mind that a family who is struggling to find balance in their lives might decide to skip church altogether to spend family time at the beach or Disneyland (which, for us, is a 30 minute drive down the freeway) rather than “waste” a morning apart at church.
But, here’s where I think the church has an edge on those other family outings – a trip to Disneyland or the beach ends when everyone piles back into the car at the end of the day. The time a family spends at church has the potential to change the way that family spends the next week together.
So the question to us and our ministry teams is this – is the time that a family spends with us on a Sunday (or a Wednesday night… or during large events that we run) impacting the way they live out their lives together that week? If we can point to tangible ways that the time they spend at church is shaping the way their family time looks in their living room that week, then we’re on the right track. If we treat out ministries and programs as an end to themselves, then we have to compete with Disneyland – and we will always lose that battle.
*Homebuilders is a weekly gathering of parents at our church. We discuss parenting, marriage and family life topics. Homebuilders, for Glenkirk, is a community that’s smaller than a church service, but bigger than a small group – allowing parents a next-step into community with other believers who seek to raise up Christ-following kids.