In his excellent book, “I Am a Church Member,” Thom Rainer talks about what it takes to be a good church member. Chapter 5 is titled I Will Lead My Family to be Healthy Church Members. I found several takeaways for parents.
To begin with, it is important that all of us understand that being part of a church is a privilege. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s word and sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing.” Talk with your children about how fortunate they are to be able to go to church. Tell them about the many people in other parts of the world who would love to have the same opportunity– even once.
Pray as a family for your church. Pray specifically for your church leaders. Pray that God will guide them and give them strength and courage for their work. Pray that God will give them wisdom and discernment. Pray for their protection from anything that would hurt the church. Pray for their families.
Worship together as a family. Many churches have separate worship experiences for children, but you will still want to find times that you can worship together. Children need to see parents singing and giving and studying the Bible and praying and responding to God. As you worship be engaged and energetic– not a clock watcher!
Serve together as a family. Look for opportunities to work side by side in some kind of ministry. Visit a shut-in. Volunteer for a food pantry. Pick up the communion cups. Find something to do for someone else in the name of Jesus.
Finally, be careful how you talk about your church. There are no perfect churches because churches are made up of people and there are no perfect people. Choose to be encouraging. Remember, little ears are listening. Ask God to help you teach your children to love the church and show them how to be good church members.