“The problem with Christians is that they are all hypocrites.”
Chances are very high that you have heard those words spoken to or around you at some point in your life. A common complaint of many, many unbelievers is that Christians say one thing and do another; they talk a talk but don’t walk the walk. This persuasion is so prevalent that David Kinnamen, President of Barna Group, actually surveyed 718 self-identified Christians to determine if this idea was indeed true. Sadly he discovered that over half of the participants identified themselves as having actions or attitudes more like the hypocritical Pharisees of the Bible than those of Jesus Christ.
The challenge for us as parents and ministers is to consider; how do we model authenticity and consistency while still acknowledging we are all sinners who at times fall into sin?
We all mess up. We act in ways that are selfish and un-Christlike. And in those moments, we can appear hypocritical, especially to the kids who are watching us and learning from us what it is to be a follower of Christ.
Consistency in what we teach and how we live is critical to creating an atmosphere of authenticity both at home and at church.
Who we are and how we are living should flow seamlessly between those worlds without friction or tension. What we do in one place, we should be able to just as freely do in another place and our faith should reach beyond the walls of church into the everyday life we live.
Consider these five “church” activities that we engage in easily and freely at church but not as often in the home:
1. Worship – Every Sunday without fail, voices are raised in song in churches around the world, praising and worshiping the Lord through “songs, hymns and spiritual songs.” Have you ever considered hosting a worship service with your family at home? Worship through song isn’t limited only to the w
alls of a church, in fact Paul says we are to to always be “singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord.”
2. Prayer – Whether it be a pastoral prayer or the communal recitation of the Lord’s prayer, we have no problem engaging in spoken prayer in a church setting; do we do the same in our homes? The Lord’s Prayer is a great way for you to begin praying with your kids and creating that seamless flow between church and home.
3. Offering – Every week, the plate is passed and our tithes and offerings are given to the Lord. But we don’t have to limit our giving to the church offering plate. Maybe your family could support a missionary or sponsor a child or provide meals for families in need. The cheerful heart of giving isn’t only for church.
4. Bible reading – If the only time your child sees you open the Bible (or pull up the app on your phone or tablet) is in the church building, the model they see is one where the Bible is only for church not for life. But the writer of Psalms says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The Scripture is for everywhere, every day.
5. Fellowship – Let’s face it; a big reason for going to church is to see friends. I had someone tell me the only time they saw their friends was on Sunday morning. It’s really hard for your kids to see the community and family that is the body of Christ if they only see people for 1 hour a week, 4 times a month. Invite people over, build relationships and enjoy fellowship all week long.
When kids see consistency in who we are and what we do at church and who we are and what we do at home, it will be easier for them to respond to the idea that all Christians are hypocrites by simply pointing to… YOU.
Could there be a higher compliment than to hear your son or daughter say in truth, “Not all Christians are hypocrites. My parents are just Christians.. all the time”?
When we are consistent, we are authentic, and when we are authentic, we are modeling the truth of Jesus to the next generation.
Ministers: What are some “home” activities that we could pull into the church setting to enhance consistency on our end? For example, shared meals, family devotions, movie night?
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- And much more!
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, Seedbed, and ChildrensMinistryBlog.com.