I miss church. I bet you do too. And I bet that you or someone in your house has said this exact phrase over the past 6 weeks.
Theologically, we all know that “church” is not a building. We understand that “church” is the body of Christ. So more precisely, I think, when we say we miss “church”, we mean more than that. We miss the people. We miss the things we do together as people; worship and communion and conversation and prayer and hugs and food. We miss the community of faith. We miss each other and we miss the practices that renew our faith each week as we reenact the promises of Scripture through our worship and celebration.
The challenge for us as parents and ministers is to consider; how do we model authenticity and consistency as Christians safe at home while still acknowledging we are all struggling with our new reality?
Consistency in what we teach and how we live is critical to creating an atmosphere of authenticity both at home and at church.
We are the church, when we are at home and when we are together. 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 often engage in easily and freely when we gather together but can struggle to engage in our homes along with some ideas for how to simply and easily add them into our “healthy at home” life:
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 walls of a church, in fact Paul says we are to to always be “singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord.” Many church services are online now and offer singing as part of their worship but if yours doesn’t, it’s perfectly fine for you to sing in your home. Easy ways to incorporate singing? Sing a song instead of praying a prayer before dinner. Teach a favorite song to your kids. Check out resources on Psalmody and pick a Psalm to learn and sing as a family.
Whether it be a pastoral prayer or the communal recitation of the Lord’s prayer, we frequently engage 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.
In many churches, 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. It can be hard sometimes to remember to give from a cheerful heart if we don’t see the need or if our gift is automatically withdrawn from our checking account Maybe your family could talk about ways to support your church or a missionary or provide meals for families in need so they can be a part of the gift of giving. The cheerful heart of giving isn’t only for church.
If the only time our children see us open the Bible (or pull up the app on our phone or tablet) is in the church building, the model they see is one where the Bible is only for certain times not all of life. But the writer of Psalms says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This the perfect time to add some daily Scripture meditation into your family rhythm. The Scripture is for everywhere, every day.
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, even if only by Zoom for now, build and maintain relationships with those you miss and create space for fellowship all week long.
When our children 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 understand the providence of our God who is present with us in the everyday.
When we are consistent, we are authentic, and when we are authentic, we are modeling the truth of Jesus to the next generation.
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About this Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. She also serves as the Minister of Generational Discipleship with the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, 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. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, ChurchLeaders.com, and Seedbed
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