In a Fortune 500 corporation, many interests and demands consume the company’s time and resources. How does an executive choose which opportunities to prioritize? The same goes for Christian parents. There are tremendous resources for discipling children: devotionals, catechisms, and family worship guides. Parents are paralyzed when faced with all the good options. Where do we start?
Hear me when I say this: start with Going to church. Yes, I encourage you to pray with your children. Read the Bible as a family. Try doing family worship. Use a catechism. These are all excellent subjects. But if you can only choose one discipline, go to church. Make corporate worship a top priority for your family. There is nothing more positive you can do for your children than to attend corporate worship at your church every week.
Corporate worship sets the tone for life
A father in our church once made a statement that caught me off guard: “Corporate worship is crucial to my family. It is the center of our family’s life.” I know this family. They also do family worship and read devotions, but this father said corporate worship is the highest priority in his family’s life. Because?
If you can only choose one discipline, go to church. Make corporate worship a top priority for your family.
This father’s mindset is consistent with how Scripture prioritizes corporate worship. God is the center of our lives. In corporate worship, we make this clear. We receive God’s grace through the Word, sacrament and prayer. We respond to God’s grace with praise, thanksgiving, and love. We have fellowship with him under his Word and by his grace. We serve, we adore, and we flourish from that communion. In this way, corporate worship is the entire Christian life in distilled and concentrated form.
God commands his people to assemble weekly for worship (Deut 5:12; Heb 10:25). It is not optional or a matter of preference, and this is God’s mercy to us. God knows how much we need the benefits of coming together. not God need our worship. We, on the other hand, desperately need corporate worship to center and order our lives around the Lord.
It’s Hard to Get to Church. That is the question.
Nothing can prepare you for the work of taking young children to church on a Sunday morning. I don’t know if it’s spiritual warfare or weekend whiplash, but dressing small children and putting them in the car is routine. Even when your kids are teenagers, there are days when they seem to resist just about anything you suggest. Getting to church is difficult. But that’s part of the value of going to church every Sunday. It sets the tone for the Christian’s daily struggle to live in a personal relationship with Christ.
Daily fellowship and service to the Lord involve an intentional and deliberate approach. Getting up in the morning to pray and read the Scriptures is not easy. Praising God in times of pain and sadness can be a struggle. Conflicting, repenting, and engaging in reconciliation takes effort, purpose, and patience. But as difficult as these efforts are, we find life and peace as a result. The intentional effort we make to participate in corporate worship each week reinforces for our children the patterns of intentionality and endurance necessary for a full and fruitful Christian life.
Model of Unshakable Commitment to Sunday Worship
When I was a kid, we went to church every week, even on vacation. I often complained about it (although I liked the donuts they served in Sunday school). I asked my dad, “Why can’t we take a week off?” My old-school dad always responded in the same rough southern accent: “Son, God gives us seven days a week. We can sacrifice a morning for him.” The only other “religious thing” we did in our house was pray at meals. Still, my father’s maxim and our consistent church attendance made a big impression.
Getting to church is difficult. But that’s part of the value of going to church every Sunday. It sets the tone for the Christian’s daily struggle to live in a personal relationship with Christ.
When I left for college, this pattern was deeply ingrained in my life. I was usually the only person in my hall who went to church on Sunday, but I got up and went. When I traveled and missed church on Sunday morning, I would attend a campus service that night.
My family’s commitment to Sunday worship communicated great truths to me: God is the center of life. God is worthy of praise and worship. The Christian life requires sacrifice and discipline. My father rarely spoke to me about spiritual matters; I don’t think he had a vast vocabulary for such conversations. Still, he modeled the Christian life well, largely through his unwavering commitment to going to church every Sunday.
If you feel inadequate to lead your children spiritually, just go to church. If your Christian parenting strategy seems too complicated, just go to church. If you’ve been taking too many Sundays off, just go to church. If all of this seems extremely difficult, ask God to give you the grace to have this consistent discipline in your family’s lives. Faithful church attendance can have an eternal influence on your children.
Source : www.thegospelcoalition.org