It is the very rare child, or adult for that matter, that likes to go to church.
I never liked church as a young girl, and my father was usually the preacher. I would much rather have spent Sunday morning shooting baskets, reading, or anything else please,than sitting wiggly and starched in church, hearing old scripture that didn’t amuse or interest me.
I was not much improved in high-school, and became a social-Saturday-late-nighter and consequently, sleepy-Sunday-morning teenager with an attitude. Things worsened when I realized most preachers were not nearly as gifted as my dad when explaining the gospel from the pulpit.
“But, it’s all so BORING!” I would huff and slam every week.
As a professional working woman, I still did not look forward to getting up early on my only day off in order to give up half my day in church. I quietly resented the intrusion on my life now that I had control of my own schedule. I worked stressful, long hours during the week and anyone would understand that “I just need some down time to relax and recharge. I’ll read and pray here on the deck in the sunshine.”
Why do we go to church? More importantly for many of us, why don’t we go to church?
There are lots of reasons, but here are three I’ve been thinking of this week.
#1. Church gathers struggling saints together to worship something other than themselves. This weekly coming together of strugglers, of sinners, reminds me that I am not perfect. I am broken and in need of help as much as those around me. Now, who really wants that weekly reminder? Have you seen the people around me? I’d rather stay in bed.
(Here’s my new favorite song by Christa Wells (Image of God), that reminds me of just that…buy the whole album…you will not be sorry.)
#2. A good church will insist that I stop worshipping myself and remember who I really am. God is the beginning and the middle and the end of this road, folks. How do I forget that in only seven days? Impossibly, I manage to do so. Repeatedly.
#3. Church provides words of worship and confession when I have none. There are days that I have no words to offer. I am numb, proud, or wildly distracted by myself. Church gives me words from God’s living Word to repent, to offer thanks, to see God’s grace now and through the ages.
I had a conversation with a lovely woman this week at the gym.We were shouting pleasantly across our treadmills about the rising cost of gas, and then it turned to faith.
“I hate dragging my kids to church. They don’t get anything out of it. What’s the point when I have to force them? I don’t want my kids growing up hating church, ya’ know? I want them to decide for themselves when, and if they want to go.”
Bunk. Bologna. Weak-sauce. I want to shake some brave into her, but I’m running too fast. While I can certainly empathize with her lame excuses – having been there and thought that – imagine saying the following:
“I hate making my kids eat vegetables. It’s always such a fight and wears me out. I don’t want my kids growing up to hate good food when they’re older. I want to let them decide for themselves when and what they should eat.”
Good saints, we are talking about soul food, now. It is every bit as important as your daily physical nutrition. Without it, you look like a green pea that has rolled under the fridge for a few weeks; shriveled and hard.
When I skip church a week or a year, I insert myself as the author and perfecter of my own life. How long does it take to develop a bad habit? Fourteen days, they say? Just enough time to turn into a wrinkly pea.
There is living water, and the bread of heaven, given freely for you and your family to feast on every week. It is both good for us and it tastes good. Eat your church! If you don’t have one, and need suggestions in your city, give me a shout.
Peace to you and your small saints this week as you prepare for Sunday.
9 responses to If you (or your kids) don’t like church.
Wow Kim, thank you!
Matthew, Madelyn, Finley and I go to Lake Hills Church here in Austin. We are very blessed to have a brand new children’s building that my 5 yr old daughter Finley, just LOVES! It has completely changed her attitude about Church from “Do we have to?!” to “I can’t wait to get there!”. On the other hand, I have a much harder time convincing my 8 yr old about all the wonderful things that Church has to offer…would you happen to have any words of wisdom that I can share with her that will convince her that going to Church is a worthwhile endeavor?
Thanks Kim! Hope you and your family are doing well!!
Such a good question! Would she like to sit with you during “big” church? It’s amazing the things they tune in to during the worship service. You could ask her about it later at lunch or dinner, and give lots of kudos for remembering the scripture, or a point the pastor discussed?
My seven year old likes to sit with us during church and draw/write in her journal. This is fine with me and she enjoys the time. When there is grumbling or mutiny from our older sons, David and I say something along the lines of “This is the most important thing our family does together each week…we get up and go to remember God made us, loves us, saves us, and is making all things new…” Or something like that:)
God will bless your efforts and you are a wise woman for training these young children in the way of righteousness! Well done and press on!
Well said Kim! 🙂
We just moved back to Wheaton and are looking for a place to plant our roots. I am Lutheran and my husband is Catholic. We needs suggestions!
You might try:
Church of the Savior (www.friendsofthesavior.org) meets on Saturday evenings.
Bethel OPC (www.bethelopc.org) on Sunday mornings.
I have not been to either, but they might be good places to start your search. Lucky for you, Wheaton has many wonderful options to choose from!
Thanks for the note.
Thanks for the great advice, Kim! Have a great week!
I don’t normally respond to things like this, but I felt drawn to write. I guess I was just searching for a few words of wisdom 🙂
I appreciate what you wrote! I felt the urge to write to you and hopefully get some positive feedback. 2 years ago I worked in a church full-time. I counseled and mentored at-risk teens during some very difficult times in their lives. I will make a very long story short by saying that the church I worked for was “restructuring” and felt that my position was no longer necessary. I was shocked and blindsided and left completly wounded that they got rid of my position. I was the only one who dealt with at risk teens at this church so it left something missing when they “restructured” People lose their jobs everyday that wasnt the problem. The worst part of all this is my church “family” was no where to be found. I was hurting so deeply and all the pastors whom I thought were my dear friends abandoned me. I felt alone! This story is much more complex, please understand I am giving the very surface of all that took place. But putting the emphases on the fact that I was very hurt by my church “family” is where im left not knowing how to move forward.
How do you find the drive to go back to church, where you’re to be in fellowship with fellow believers, when those are the people who hurt you the most? It has been 2 years now and I have tried several churches but every time I walk into one I fill with pain and anger. I will never go back to the church that wounded me, but I long to reconnect with God and maybe start to trust people again. Im done making excuses for not going to church! Any suggestions of how to move forward?
Thanks for your note. I can hear your hurt and your anger and also that you long to be in communion with God and his people. I am sorry this happened to you, but I do not doubt that the LORD will take even this, and make it new.
The only humble offering I have is that you remember, always, that the church is a hospital for broken souls. It is a place for struggling Christians to gather, not those who have it all sorted out.
My hopes are regularly dashed when I forget this and expect others to be anything other than those who mess up, sin, and fail every day – just like me. During the week I give myself much more grace than I give others, no? Once a week I am reminded of how much grace I need and how little I actually give.
Church is a place where sinners gather, but God calls us all saints! I go to church to see that I am broken and proud, yet amazingly, the LORD looks at me and sees only Jesus, who covers me. Because of this, I can find the ability to see others in the same way. I cannot forgive, really, until I understand what God has done for me. He become nothing. For me.
What do you need to repent of? Repenting means turning hard and going in the other direction. Our relationship with God reflects our relationship with others. With whom do you need to reconcile? What anger (pride) is stealing your joy? As you take care of the lingering bitterness with others, your joy will return in church.
But go anyway! That is the exact place you should be. You might want to try a church that uses liturgy throughout the service. Liturgy is where there is corporate reading of scripture etc. My favorite part of church is our corporate confession. Words from the bible that call me to remember that my sins, and the sins of all those around me are forgiven.
Peace, and I’m glad you stopped by.