Wednesday, September 3, 2008

School Activities and Church

I tread carefully here, but I think that this is important to discuss. How should parents of children weigh the importance of school activities against church involvement?

When I was growing up, I had no problem missing services for baseball games once in a while, foregoing Wednesday nights when I had a volleyball practice, or missing retreats when I had a basketball game out of town that weekend. These weren't big deals to me. And maybe that is how you feel with your children too.

We tend to think that extra-curricular activities help shape our children and make them "better people." So we justify them missing church for the sake of "bettering" them in areas outside the spiritual realm. After all, they have the rest of the year to attend services and be part of their church family. What's the big deal about "missing" every now and again, we ask.

But what are we teaching our children when we make decisions like these? Indirectly, we are teaching them that the team is more important than their church family. The game is more important than worship. The performance is more important than sitting under the teaching of God's Word at church....The way we schedule our family's calendar tells our children what should be truly important in their lives. If church involvement is subject to seasonal adjustment or temporary neglect, then it is just another thing our family "does"--rather than being a vital, non-negotiable part of what God desires for our family.

I am not one who thinks that you have to be in church every time the door is open. But I am one who believes that the church should only take a backseat to the family. Church should have priority over extracurricular activities--whatever they might be. I am not suggesting that missing once is a grave sin, but supplanting church with extracurriculars on any sort of regular basis teaches children to have poor priorities.

God gave us the church--He gave us this church--for a reason. I think we do our children and ourselves a great disservice when we neglect it in favor of lesser pursuits.

Acts 2:42-47
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

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