When I was a kid, we went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Wednesday you could eat dinner at the church, which was convenient, but even then, I don’t know how my parents managed it. As a family, we only go Sunday morning, and my teen goes Sunday night for youth group. In this day and age, three times a week seems crazy, but when my siblings and I were church kids, it was normal and fun.
As a matter of fact, we liked being a church kids. And we all turned out to be pretty good adults.
So when I read the title of an essay by Sherry White, aka The Messy Christian entitled I don’t want to raise church kids, I was a little fearful that I was going to read something negative.
But the essay, posted on The Messy Christian Facebook page, turned out to be a wonderful, uplifting read. The more I read about White’s version of church kids, the more I found myself nodding our heads in agreement. I honestly think in my childhood, church kids were the kinder, gentler sort. I am not sure that is always true today, and neither is White.
She doesn’t want to raise church kids, she says. She wants to raise Jesus kids.
Photo: The Messy Christian/Facebook
Same, Girl. SAME. Posting a photo of her daughter dressed for church and clutching her Bible, White says,
I don’t want to raise church kids.
I DO NOT want to raise church kids.
Matter of fact, it’s one of my biggest fears.
That they would go to church every week of their lives and never experience what the whole purpose of church is really about.
That they would come and learn about God, but never actually seek and find Him for themselves.
That they would come and learn the stories of the Bible, but never realize that they too are a Bible story waiting to happen. That their life is woven into the tapestry of life that God has created and that they are here for a greater purpose.
That they would think that God is kept inside four walls.
That they would sing the songs but never have more than a shallow appreciation for the words they sing. That those words, written by sinners turned saints by the blood of Jesus, would never penetrate their heart.
That they would sing of the light, but never know the light.
That they would hear about grace, but never know how desperately they need it.
That they would learn about mercy, but never know the One who bestows it.
That they would think worship is something that just happens on Sunday mornings and not every minute of their life.
That they would just up and walk away from church one day and never return.
No, no, no.
I’m with White on this one. If that is the definition of church kids, then I don’t want to raise them either.
I want to raise kids who find Jesus at church, but also see Him at home, who take Him with them to school, on the sports playing field, to college, and into their careers and marriages. I want to raise Jesus kids who become Jesus adults.
I want to raise Jesus kids.
That they would come to church BECAUSE they know Jesus.
That they would see themselves as apart of the church, the body of Christ. That they would work together with their fellow believers to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the community they serve.
That they would see themselves in the story that was written at the beginning of time.
That they would look to Jesus when they make a mistake and be overcome with gratitude at the grace they are given.
That they would wake up in the morning thankful for the day and lay their head down every night assured of their eternal home.
That they would face the storms of life tethered to the One who came to save them.
That they would know that they never walk alone and their lives are being held in the hands of God.
White wasn’t finished there, so I encourage you to check out her page and read the whole thing. You will not regret it! As I read White’s words, I was also reminded of the words of another favorite blogger of mine, Melissa Edgington of Your Mom Has a Blog. Her blog title may be funny, but one of the things I love about Melissa is that she gets up in our faces about parenting our kids with eternal goals.
In a recent post of hers entitled A Plea to Parents, Melissa got real about what our ultimate parenting goal should be, and it is NOT raising church kids.
Our ultimate parenting goal should be that our children come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ and walk with Him daily. Her words convicted me to be even more intentional with teaching my kids that life with Christ is the ultimate goal. This paragraph especially brought me to my knees:
I implore you, parents. Examine yourself. If you do not feel a sense of urgency in the training and spiritual development of your children, if you do not provide them with a church family and teach them God’s word, if you do not feel utter devastation at the thought of them living without Christ and dying without hope, then you have no reason to feel assured of your own salvation. It’s possible that you were made to believe at some point in your past that you had a true encounter with Jesus, but you actually only had an emotional experience with no real repentance or faith in the Lord.
It is reasonable to deduce that a true follower of Christ could not and would not fail to teach her own children how to become Christians.
I mean…you ALL should really read the whole thing. It will snap your parenting priorities into shape, and if it doesn’t, you should probably be worried.
I want to thank these two ladies for their candid words on raising our children to love and pursue Jesus. If you’ve got church kids, it’s time to shift your focus to raising Jesus kids. With His help, you can do it, and it will be the best thing you’ve ever done.