Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Family Time vs. Church Time

There is a good piece over at Al Mohler’s blog entitled: "The New Family Trump Card" -- Family Time vs. Church Time.

The piece references an article from the Leadership Report that speaks of the number of families skipping church for “family” activities. The idea is that family life with all its extra curricular activities is so busy that people opt out of church for the activities. But just as Al points out a significant part of the report is as follows:

Welker says the church isn't helping by segregating families once they arrive on campus. "Shouldn't we as a church try to bring families together?" Welker asks. "Instead what we do is bring them to church and then put mom and dad in this room, the high school kids in that room, and the elementary kids down the hall. It's no wonder families are spending more time doing family things than they are spending at church."

Holly Allen agrees. She is an intergenerational studies specialist at John Brown University. Despite recent interest in intergenerational church ministries, the trend of the past two or three decades has been toward age-graded ministries and the further stratification of generations. "In the past, spending family time and going to church were the same thing," Allen said. "Now, family time and church time are not compatible ideas, because families are rarely together when they are at church."

Al Mohler follows the above statement with:

This is a very important insight. When "church time" is seen as a competitor to "family time," something is wrong at church. When family members hardly see each other at church activities, the congregation needs to take a quick inventory of its concept of ministry.

At the same time, when Christian parents take their kids to Little League games rather than worship on the Lord's Day, these parents teach their children that team sports are more important than the worship of God.

Every kid has a "thing" going on virtually all the time. That is the condition of life today, it seems. But when that "thing" keeps the child -- or the whole family -- away from church, we need to name that thing what it is . . . at best a snare, at worst an idol.

Wow, for those of us that have seen this problem and want to do something about it we can only shake our heads with acknowledgement. The church has much work to do to change this trend. To get people to change a lifestyle that the church has in many ways fostered will I am afraid be uncomfortable for many, but it must be done. Not simply to bring people back to the church but to bring the family back to where God intends it to be.

We have to ask ourselves whether our church gatherings are a time where families are kept together or divided and then take the appropriate action. All too often the churches that promote themselves as “family friendly” are in reality the least friendly to the family as the bible would see the family.

Thanks Al for putting this article on your blog.

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