Put Church First
At the beginning of this new school year, my friend purchased a new family calendar for the refrigerator. She selected different color markers for every child and carefully copied all the activities on each day of the week – soccer, dance, art class, music, school events, etc. etc. Proud of her organizational efforts, she showed the new calendar to her son and daughter. Their immediate response was, “Mom, you forgot the most important thing!” “What did I forget?” she asked. “You left off church!”
Parents are to provide spiritual leadership for the household. Parents and Grandparents are tasked with the responsibility of handing down the faith to their children and grandchildren. Our greatest charge as a parent is the care of our child’s soul. This includes bringing them to church on a weekly basis, daily prayer in the home, reading scripture together, reading Bible stories from a young age, sharing your faith and living a life that demonstrates the Gospel.
In the Ten Commandments, God requires us to “Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.” Exodus 20:3. Our lives are so busy and scheduled we can fool ourselves into thinking God’s commandment does not apply to us and our families. God knows that keeping the sabbath is good for every member of our family. Weekly rest is just as essential for today’s family as any other time in the history of our faith. Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to put work aside, limit activities, slow down, unplug (yes, even from social media), enjoy leisurely family meals together, share relaxing free time, and prioritize attending church and worshipping the Lord. Sunday recharges us spiritually, bonds us as a family and strengthens us for the week ahead. God knows we need it!
Children in Worship
Adult believers with a strong faith in Jesus Christ often have powerful memories of worshipping with their family when they were children. Consistent, faithful worship attendance which includes every member of the family is one of the most important elements of spiritual development. Parents and Grandparents model faith before each child by the way they live. At Central United Methodist Church children are welcomed and encouraged to be in worship from birth. We recommend children attend worship regularly when they begin Kindergarten and we offer a Step Up experience for parents and children which introduces them to participating in a worship service.
It may not seem like your child is getting much out of a worship service, but you may be surprised. Children experience the presence of God, they observe their parents worshipping God, they gain knowledge from scripture readings, hymns, and sermons. They experience receiving the bread and cup during holy communion, they see other children baptized into the faith. Sunday worship is a special part of a normal routine. When this pattern and expectation begins at an early age, it continues throughout their entire lives. God’s Holy Spirit is at work in worship and Jesus said,
“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”Luke 18 : 16
This fall, our church is focusing on Worship+. I hope you will be inspired to make a new commitment to the spiritual growth of each and every family member. This goal is best met by committing to worship together every Sunday and adding at least one more church-related activity during the week. This additional church activity could be a Sunday School class, Bible Study, small group or service project. On Sunday, August 18, our Fall Kick-Off will provide a perfect opportunity for your family to explore our entire campus, familiarize yourself with opportunities and select your Worship+ activities for the new school year.
This is a busy time for your calendars and schedules! If parents are not intentional, your family’s spiritual life can be lost in a sea of busyness. You may not be able to keep your commitment perfectly and you will have challenges to bring the entire family to church every week. Set the priority and pray for God’s help each week. God often shows up and enables us to meet our spiritual goals, if only we make the effort and trust Him to help. Put church first!