The Both/And of Growing Up in Church

My family after church, probably Easter '84 or '85.
My family after church, probably Easter ’84 or ’85.

Did you grow up in the church? Was Sunday worship attendance expected when you were a child? In our house, we were so involved and invested in the children’s ministry that we were often one of the first families to get to church and the last to leave. My parents served the children in our church and community for over three decades. Sunday morning mattered! But Sunday morning was not the only faith-forming part of my childhood.

I remember riding in our van with a caravan of friends going visit people in prison. I heard stories from my dad about sharing the love of Jesus with a man at the local doughnut shop who had fallen asleep on his hamburger. I sang songs that my mother wrote for Vacation Bible School and children’s outreach. I would sit on the steps and listen in on the Bible studies that the grown ups had in our finished basement.

One Sunday my parents volunteered to help a man move from St. Louis down to a place out in the country in Jefferson County. I didn’t hear all the details, so I was surprised when we pulled up and parked our van under an interstate bridge. We helped the stranger load up his belongings (even though they smelled like they needed to stay under the bridge!), fed him and took him to a rehabilitation center far away from the concrete jungle that had been his home.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Being connected and invested in the Body of Christ every Sunday as I was growing up was only part of the equation. Being the Church Monday through Saturday as a kid is what has really shaped my ministry and now drives my faith as an adult. It is a both/and mentality of parenting that should mirror the balance in the church between evangelism and discipleship.

What kind of balance do you have in your home between discipleship and outreach?
What kind of balance do you have in your home between discipleship and outreach?

Today I had a great time working through this with a colleague in our local church. The tendency is to gradually move from a pie chart that is close to 50/50 – a balance between reaching out to the lost and building up the people in the congregation – to a pie chart that is in the 80/20 neighborhood… 80% serving the needs of the congregation. I have to constantly evaluate my own ministry and my own parenting, otherwise I will suddenly find myself in maintenance mode rather than taking steps of faith into the unknown. What a great opportunity to show my kids that God is there, alive and by our side as we learn to love others more than ourselves.

So what excites you about sharing Sunday morning with your kids? Is there something you can share Monday through Saturday ministry that is making a lasting difference in people’s lives? Is that a part of the equation in your household? Honestly ask yourself what your pie chart percentages look like. You might have already established the fact that Sunday morning matters, but be encouraged and remember the power of serving others Monday through Saturday. As you look above and love beyond, make that a part of what matters in your life and in your family.SignJRGBlack300

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