It’s a wet, cold Sunday morning. The alarm goes off and for a moment you consider turning it off, rolling over and going back to sleep. After all, since Saturday morning sport started, this is the only day of the week when you can sleep in. It’s not such a bad plan, the children are playing with the lego downstairs and apart from the occasional disagreement all seems calm.
As you pull the warm covers up you think back to last week’s church service. To be honest it was less than inspiring. The new music leader has a skill of choosing songs that are difficult to sing, and you’re not sure what musical ability the new guitarist brings to the band. The sermon was dull and went for way too long. Afterwards as you sipped your bland coffee, you got caught listening to the warden’s desperate plea for your help at an upcoming working bee.
You could forgive all that if the children were happy. But it seems that there has been a change in their ministry as well. You are still unsure what the mess of cardboard and sticky tape that your youngest brought home from her group is, and your son grumbles that he’d rather kick a football in the church garden than go to Sunday School.
So an extra hour in bed, followed by breakfast and the Sunday paper seems like a good alternative. Maybe next week the family could go check out a different church...
This is not a decision to make before breakfast; it takes careful consideration and prayer. There might be good reasons to go but as you ponder what to do, keep in mind the following:
- Parents play a primary role in discipling their children. The decisions parents make about church attendance and the things we say about church in our children’s hearing clearly tells them what the priorities in our lives are.
- If the children’s ministry in your church is not great, remember that church should never be the only place where faith is being nurtured. Parents need to be leading their children’s spiritual growth by reading the Bible, praying and serving together throughout the week. This is about more than just filling the void in a church where these things are not done well. This is the intentional spiritual parenting that our children need.
- The ministry of any church is built up and supported by the service of many different people. Before we give up on a church, it is important to stop and consider how our gifts, talents and energy could make the difference in a ministry we are unhappy with.
- It is important to talk to the ministry leaders about concerns you have. A conversation with the children’s minister may help you to understand the reasons for what is happening. It may also help them understand how your children are feeling.
- If we do decide to change churches it is important to explain our reasons to our children. It is essential that we have thought carefully about what our reasons are. Although it is an uncomfortable conversation, it is also important that we explain our reasons for leaving to the minister and say goodbye.
- A snap choice on a rainy Sunday morning is not a good way to initiate decision making. It is important to be prayerful and intentional about your decisions. It may be appropriate to seek godly and wise counsel before making a decision to change churches. Of course, seeking wise counsel is not the same as spreading your discontent around to whoever is willing to listen.
It’s a wet, cold Sunday morning. The alarm goes off and for a moment you consider turning it off, rolling over and going back to sleep. But you know that the value of going far outweighs the chance of a sleep-in and you climb out of bed and start the day.
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