Posted on September 5, 2017 Article from The Messengerin
For many of us, life is busy. The never-ending demands of extra-curricular activities, homework, personal exercise, career, and most importantly time with the Lord, can make it difficult to find time to invest an evening or two with your church family. In fact, our shepherds guard against having any other weekly ministries at the church building because we don’t want to take mommies and daddies away from their children any more than two nights a week.
But I’d like to make a biblical case for why you should make our two evening ministries a priority if you can. It centers around Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians, “in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (2:3).
First, if your children have grown and are out of the home, I’d like to appeal to you especially. I know this from personal experience. Now that Titus and Johnna are away at college, my evening schedule is more flexible than it’s been in over 25 years. Many of you have that flexibility so please explore pouring your time into something that will have eternal value.
For those of you with young ones at home, I know that you can disciple your teens and children better than anyone on our church staff. God has called all parents to be the primary disciplers of their children. As Jeremy said on Sunday morning, the church is secondary to your God-given role.
At the same time, if you have five other nights to disciple your child(-ren), consider investing just two nights of the week into the lives of other brothers and sisters and helping to create an environment where other children are being taught the ways of the Lord. The reality is that more than half the kids coming on Sunday nights, no matter how often we preach and teach it, don’t have parents who work with them on memorizing the Bible, learning how to pray, and how to study the Bible. Jeremy did a survey of CHURCH CAMP kids and found that over 95% of them did not do family prayer and devotions on a regular basis.
Additionally, there’s a certain critical mass dynamic that adds to our AWANA and Garage programs. I saw the importance of having Titus in AWANA as a pre-K kid, not because I needed him to hear the lesson or memorize the verse (Dee and I could do that with him on our own), but by him being at AWANA he was unknowingly modeling for other children and families what it looked like to have someone come in prepared to recite their verses. Other kids needed to see that. (And to be frank, it can mean even more when kids whose parents aren’t on staff come in prepared.) Johnna needed to lead by example, even at the age of 5. I needed to teach Lucas to help others, to be kind to others, to learn to interact with others at church, etc. etc.
Oftentimes Dee and I would feel like we needed the night off, but upon reflection, we participate, not because of my job, but because of our church family. We saw the importance of having our children being there with the children who had no one to work with them at home. The same goes for our kids’ time in the Garage. For 5 out of 7 nights we could focus on what we valued as important for our kids, but for Sunday and Wednesday, we also focused on what was eternally best for others.