You know what I miss the most about my old church? Adult Sunday School. We have life groups now, which, before kids, I adored. But with kids who are active in stuff, it is very difficult to find time to go to a life group, and also, if you do have time to go, you usually need to find a sitter for your kids, which makes church kind of expensive.
When my parents were young parents they sent us to Sunday School, and during that time (the Sunday School Hour!) they went to Sunday School where they developed close friends with other believers. They could have their Thoughts on Church and Stuff moments with actual people instead of online. They could, quite possibly, say, “So I heard this one church was a cult, but I just don’t see it. What do you think?” And have that conversation over coffee and cinnamon rolls. I could have that at life group if I had someone to take my kids to the studio for me, or if I hired a sitter so I could leave the house in the evening.
I miss that part of the church culture I grew up in.
When my kids are adults the church we go to now will have formed what they believe a church should be most like. It will provide the frame work for what feels like going before God in worship and what feels right for being taught Biblical truths.
What do I want that to look like for them? What heritage do I want them to send on down the generations?
I have a friend whose family speaks their mother tongue at home. They want that to last for the generations and so it is important to them to go to a church that speaks that language, for their kids to learn memory verses in that language, and to grow up with other kids who share that language and culture.
But they recently ran into a problem, because the church that fit all of those needs for them had slowly but surely turned into the kind of church where the women sort of…how do I say this?
During worship. And that was not okay with them. It was a hard decision to make, but they needed to find a place that met all of their needs, including the need for their girls to not grow up dancing in the church aisles.
What we teach our kids at home about God is of the ultimate importance. What we teach them about church is a very close second.
My husband’s parents taught the kids that if the church is open, you go. My parents taught me that Wednesday night church was babysitting for choir member’s kids, and since my parents can’t sing, they were pretty sure we weren’t welcome. We didn’t start going on Wednesday night until youth group.
I have been teaching my kids that church is place where you serve others. (They spent last year working in the preschool room with me.) I have been teaching my kids that church is a place where you develop friendships that feel exactly like family. By going to AWANA with friends at a different church, and doing VBS at a couple of different churches, I am hoping to teach them that Church is actually the body of Christ and it meets in different buildings and homes all over the world.
Our building, our family of believers, our programs are not the only show in town. You do not have to go to that address on that day to be saved. (Phew! We’re not a cult!)
So, over the last two hours (and six days, since I spread the posts out all week) I’ve put all of my thoughts and questions and some old hurts, and some constant worries about Church here on my blog, where about 100 people will see them, on any given day.
I hope I don’t turn anyone off from church or Christ because of my thoughts and problems and questions. It’s just…real life. You commit a lot of your life when you become a member of a particular church, and it’s not going to be perfect. It’s going to make you ask questions, and have worries, and wonder if have made the right decisions. And it may well make you homesick for what you grew up with.
I suggest, if your husband is also at work, and of a mind, like mine, that likes to chew quietly on questions as opposed to getting bombarded by them, that you also take to your blog, put it all out there, and let others see the real stuff inside your heart and mind.
Or, since it is the internet, you could stick with politely talking about the weather.
Since I wrote all six of these posts in one sitting, I can say that it is still 75 and sunny, and even though it might not have been best practices to spew my thoughts on church all over the blog, I’m glad I did.
I don’t expect blogging about thoughts on church and stuff will give me that A-ha! moment that tells me exactly how I should be serving, where I should be attending, and what my family is Meant to Do in regards to church, but it did feel awesome, and I expect I will do it again one of these days!