While I’ve been “between churches” I’ve had the joy, and apparently challenge, of simply attending church on Sundays with Kristin and Elliot, without an up front role.
Each Sunday we’ve attended a different church and/or service, and for a family with a baby, each has presented a different challenge. Juggling naptimes, driving time, snacks, bottles and lunch takes some planning, patience and sometimes explodes in a mess of Cheerios, milk and tears.
One Sunday I finally blurted out, “I get it, now!” I finally get why so many young families find it so much easier to stay home on a Sunday morning. It’s not easy.
Now, before everyone tells me about the people who do, or how families managed in the past, I return to the topic of priorities. When people are already followers of Jesus, or even culturally Christian, church attendance naturally ends up higher in the priority listing. Today, these are exceptional people, whose numbers are shrinking.
As cultural Christianity dies, those with a tenuous connection to church can count several, maybe dozens, of priorities that take precedence over church. One of these is the promise of a peaceful, restful morning with the kids once a week – usually Sundays, because careers, commutes, fitness, children’s activities all make the list as well. The idea of packing the kids off to church, putting them in childcare (again) or trying to keep them quiet, is a low priority, if at all.
My family is obviously willing to make it work – we are followers of Jesus with a certain set of priorities. But we cannot forget – that encounter with Jesus transformed our priorities in life.
So again – I am learning that the emphasis needs to be on transformative discipleship, that reorients our priorities. NOT on reorienting people’s priorities so they can be discipled.