7.15.2011

Under an armpit

Something sad is happening in your church today.  I know it; I am a part of your church.  Look at this picture and tell me what you see:

Obama: check
Giddy adults with camera phones: check
A once in a lifetime moment: check

I bet, and I hope, you also observed the little girl.  Check again if you did not.  She is up front just under the shadow of Obama's armpit; what a great place to be.  Wow, she looks like she would not mind being somewhere else.  But doesn't she feel the excitement around her?  Obviously not.  Doesn't she realize what is going on right before her very eyes?  Duh! No.

And that, my friends, is what is happening in our churches.  We adults are having a good time, praising our Savior all the day long while we leaving our children uninvolved and unattached.  Sure you got them to church, and you probably are hoping that will be enough.  Truth?  For some children it will be.  They will grow up and make church a part of what they do because it is what they have always done.  That is why a lot of people are in church still today.  The number of people, however, that we can count on doing that is dwindling.

The other part of the truth is that many will take the first chance they get to not have to go to church anymore.  We have continually made church something we do instead of realizing that our meeting together is something that make us who we are.  With all the other fun things to do, church pales in comparison.  I often wonder if I would fall asleep during my own sermons.  Just going to church is pretty boring. However, church is about shaping us into God's people.  That happens through worship, prayer, baptism, communion, scripture and even the offering, believe it or not. That is something worth being ready for.

Sadly, we trust too much in the "train a child....and when he is old..."  Now, understand I am not about making church more "fun."  Our faith is not a carnival.  Although there are some clowns....nevermind.  What I am suggesting is that we be willing to see where in our faith life our children are just there.  Ask yourself: How can they understand more what we are doing as the body of Christ?  What could they do or experience that would help them realize that?  How much am I willing to pray for them that they would experience more faith growth from church.

Finally, as a church leader I know this next statement to be true.  People often leave the faith business to the church.  The church, however, does not have the monopoly on faith development.  Sunday morning is not the only time God works.  There is always going to be somebody who wants the church to do it all--do not be that somebody!  You know young people in your neighborhood.  Pray for them.  Journey with them.  I know you care about them.  So, do not leave them in Obama's armpit, or anybody else for that matter. 

+another shout-out

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