When I was a kid I got my first real job from a man who I knew from church. He mentioned something one Sunday about needing some young men to work for him, so me and my best friend went to see him one day and he hired us both on the spot! His business was new and seasonal so he felt the need to work every hour of daylight through the summer months in order to prepare for the unknown slow down during winter. We would often finish a job around 5pm and go start another one. The first week I worked 66 hours in 5 days.
That first summer I had no social life – all I did was work, sleep and go back to work but I loved it, mostly because of my boss. Don’t get me wrong, he was retired from the Army and he often “got in our faces,” when we inevitably made costly mistakes. But he also worked right alongside of us, sweating, laughing, encouraging us and taking breaks with us to cool off under a shade tree. That summer we laughed a lot! He increasingly gave us more and more responsibility. He believed in us and taught us almost every aspect of the business. He lovingly called us his “Hockey Pucks,” a term I now understand was not necessarily a compliment but at the time I took it as a term of endearment. Later on, he hired other students from our church and put me and my friend in charge of “training them.” I took that role seriously, I knew the mistakes we made would end up costing him personally, both monetarily and in his reputation, but I wouldn’t allow that. I cared about not wasting his resources or time – IT WAS LIKE I OWNED THE BUSINESS!
One of the most important commitments your kids will make as young adults someday is their commitment to church membership. Their personal involvement with other Christians on a consistent basis will make a huge impact on their lives and the lives of your future grandchildren. So here’s the question – what are you teaching your kids today about church involvement to help make this a reality in their future? The Lord really taught me something about church from that first job – He owns the church, it was His idea, His design and my love for Him causes me to care about His church & His priorities. His business is my business. How can I love Him and not love His business? Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day approaching.”
One of the expectations for members of Mobberly is that “Members prioritize gathering with the Mobberly family to celebrate God together.” Too many families are failing to model consistent church involvement as a family priority. For some, church involvement has become equal to many other things. One of the greatest struggles that Christian parents face is where to place children’s sports leagues and other extracurricular activities in their families’ list of priorities, especially when those activities happen on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Dads and Moms need to sit down together and answer the question, “What are our priorities for our family? Are these priorities communicating to our kids what God’s priorities are for their lives?” If not, it’s time to make some changes. Living out God’s priorities always involves making some hard choices. Will your kids embrace church involvement for themselves when they move out of your home someday? Will your kids “Own” church membership and involvement as they enter into adulthood? Will they say that you modeled for them the idea of ownership when it came to church? If not, you can change that now. Here are a couple ideas to think about:
- When you register your kids for sports and other extra-curricular activities, be sure and share with the adults in charge your priority as a family to attend church together on Sundays and Wednesdays. This will help eliminate potential frustration for coaches and other adults who oversee these activities and help them know how to place your kids.
- Before you decide to allow your kids to participate in these activities sit down together and discuss your desire to please God above everything else and then ask your kids a few questions:
- Will this activity interfere with our family’s priority to worship together, connect with other Christians, develop spiritually or serve faithfully each week?
- Does this activity include a time commitment (with practices, driving time and the actual events) that might keep us from being able to commit to future opportunities at church?
- Will sharing our family’s conviction about making church involvement a priority with coaches and leaders help or hurt your chances to excel in these activities?
- Will living out our convictions give you a greater or lesser chance to glorify God?
As parents we tend to get tunnel vision. It’s so easy to focus on today – this week – this season – the next thing. Sometimes we let life happen to us instead really deciding how we want to live it. All of us want kids who know and love the Lord. Teaching our kids about God’s business – His church and helping them love Him will help insure that one day they feel like they own it for themselves.
Guest Blogger: Develop Pastor Paul Coleman