Over the last several weeks, my husband and I have found ourselves on a most interesting adventure. We have been visiting different churches within our community.
We’re not ones to suddenly become “church hoppers,” and therefore our adventure feels a little crazy. We believe it’s important to have a home church, and yet understand we are being led by the Lord. We know the body of Christ crosses denominational boundaries, and stretches far beyond the walls of what we’ve always referred to as our church home. We have experienced love and acceptance when first meeting other believers outside of our local community. We’ve always considered it a blessing to know, through the common bond of Christ, we have family wherever we go.
In the past I’ve experienced concern over visiting a new church with young children. I believe wisdom should be exercised when leaving your child in the care of another, regardless if it’s a family member, babysitter or Sunday school teacher. Therefore it’s with great prayer when we consider where to attend each Sunday.
The first church visited seems to have set a standard for this exciting new adventure. As we had entered the new church, we clearly must have looked lost and confused. We were delighted to see the familiar face of an old friend as he stepped up to help us find our way around. A young man helped get the children checked in, and assured me the kids would have a great time.
After the service ended and we went to retrieve our kids, the same helpful young man checked the kids out. As our old friend engaged my husband in conversation, the young man asked the kids if they’d had fun, and what their favorite experience of the morning was. They offered polite responses of having a good time, and commented on a cool slide built into the wall by the classroom exit door. The young man became nervous when I commented that was all very nice, but asked the kids what they had learned. As they told their understanding of a lesson on king David, the young man let out a sigh of relief before quickly excusing himself.
Walking across the parking lot, the children continued to share the excitement of their time. As we entered the car, and all doors closed, my son’s voice changed to concern as he commented “yeah it was fun, but mom, they forgot to pray!” The other two chimed in to confirm there was no prayer.
I love to see the hearts of my children. It’s often both touching, and amusing. Another Sunday morning, as we drove to a different church, my daughter suddenly declared “I hope this church has good snacks! Mom, they have snacks, right?!?” Without waiting for my response, my husband spoke up, “well we don’t know about snacks, but I sure hope they don’t forget to pray!” By mornings end she was delighted to share she had received a snack. Her joy turned to tears when learning her brothers received a piece of candy for having been able to recite a scripture. Snacks aside, they did not forget to pray.
With each new place we visit, we look forward to the observations of our children. At each church we have run into friends we know, so often one of the children has a familiar friend in their class. We have heard reports of good lessons, new friends made, and disappointments when there has not been musical worship.
This last Sunday, I was reminded of how important our job is as parents. My son was explaining how his class had only two rules. He quickly went over the first rule of showing respect for others and the class and excitedly added, “The second rule is so easy. We’re just suppose to have fun. Because, they said Jesus always wants us to have fun!” As he shared about his lesson, his voice reflected concern as he explained his understanding, “they said we should pray when we want something because just asking we won’t get it, but if we ask God in prayer we get it.” When I asked him what he thought about that, he responded simply, “Sometimes God says no.”
Proverb 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
As Christian parents, I believe the responsibility of a child’s teaching and training rests upon us. I purposefully point my children to Christ. I want them to know who He is. I want them to know His promises. I want them to know the joy of the Lord. Hope of the Lord. Peace of the Lord. Regardless if they are in a season of blessing, or a season of trial, I want them to deeply know who they are in Christ.
I am thankful for this crazy adventure in church hopping. For my children in means meeting new friends and seeing the body of Christ from a new perspective. They are learning to test lessons with scripture. They are learning to be content regardless if there is a snack or musical worship. Through it all, we are reminded to pray.
…and so the adventure begins.