For almost five months many of us have been “church-less,” meaning, we have nowhere to go, but our living rooms for church.
For some families, this may have been an effortless transition. Even a welcomed one! No longer having to get all four kids ready, fed, and strapped in a car only to get to church with worship already starting. Breakfast, pajamas, and Jesus-learning? Yes, please!
For other families, it was the first time, in a long time, that the whole family got to sit together to worship. Online church was great. It was novel. It also made it easy to “forget” about watching the online service at its dedicated time and put it off until a random day during the week. It is recorded after all so, does it really matter if we do not watch it at the same time we would be at church?
Yes. Yes, it matters.
It matters to the point that if we, as parents, do not take online church as seriously as we took going to our church building we may lose an entire generation of faithful believers.
Our children learn faith through observation, which is probably why the Book of James says our faith is shown through our good works, “So also faith by itself if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14). Our children will learn whether or not church is important only when we show them it is important. How can we do this without the ritual of scrambling to get ready and showing up late?
- Set up a Sunday morning routine – No sleeping in, eating breakfast together, and everyone sits down for service to start.
- Set up Sunday morning rules – this is not time to fold a basket of laundry or to clean the bathrooms while everyone else is occupied. Sit, listen, learn.
- Fight the good fight – this is a hill you want to stand your ground on. If we want to leave a legacy of faith, the church must be part of it.
- Include your children – ask them their opinion or for ideas on how to make Sunday service stand out and why it is an important routine or rhythm to learn.
It is in the rhythms of life, which we write that will weave itself into the rhythms of our children and their families.
Turn church on. Show your children what it means to look to the church, God’s Word for guidance, wisdom, and answers. Show them that you depend on God for all needs. Do this every day, but do not forget about Sunday mornings. Invite others over to watch service and break bread with them.
On vacation? Well, it is a good thing that there is Wi-Fi just about everywhere these days and if you are at one of those remote, forest locations – deem church important enough to get in your car and drive until you get a signal. Yes, it is that important.
Until we are able to meet under one roof, within one building, and lift our hands together again our children must watch us meet together as a family or small group within our living rooms. We must meet even in the mornings when it would be easier to not. The option to skip for this reason or the next will eventually spread to where church is the exception and not the rule.
Our church buildings may be closed temporarily, but if our children lose their way to church, they may close their doors permanently.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (ESV, Hebrews 10:24-25).