If Jesus Came To Church

If Jesus was the guest preacher at your church, what would you do with your kids?

Let that question sink in for a moment.

This question was posed by Rob Reinow to a group of ministers and parents yesterday and I literally watched the reactions go from “Bring them of course!” to “Oh wait…what?” and then “Oh…”

If Jesus was coming to our church, in the flesh, and speaking to us, we would bring our kids.

We wouldn’t just bring our kids – we’d get them as close to the stage as possible.

We’d wait in the longest lines to have a chance to let them meet Him. We, because we love our children, would not put them aside so we got our chance with Jesus. No, each and every one of us said, “I would make sure that my child met Jesus.”

I’m not sure that much more needs said.

But just in case you’re not sure that parents would do that, here’s a testimony from some parents who actually got to live this out.

One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.  I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. (Luke 18:15-17)

Phil Vischer shared last night this simple truth: “Do not underestimate how much kids can learn. Do not overestimate how much adults want to learn.” Jesus was able to reach both, with exceptional specificity and unending welcome. He didn’t put age limits on his ministry. He was indignant with those who did.

If Jesus were the guest preacher at your church…He’d want the children there.

And every Sunday, as believers meet all over the world, we can know that He is there, for He says, “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there” (Mt. 18:20). There must be times where the children are too.

So…what would you do if Jesus came to your church?


Join the conversation on Facebook at ReFocus Family and Intergen Ministry.

For more information about practical discipleship in the home or transitioning to a more home-focused ministry at your church, go to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page.

About the author

familyChristina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partneringsmallbadge 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 ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, Seedbed, and D6 Family.

Putting Faith in Its Place

If you are a parent of a young child, you ptoddler-mealrobably have a plethora of plastic plates in your cupboards, with little compartments for each part of the meal, because if you are a parent, you KNOW that the food can’t touch! My 4 yr. old son is very clear that not only does the food need separated but also, each compartment must be adequately filled.

As I’m sitting here at D6 Family Ministry conference, listening to Ron Hunter share his heart for connecting the church and family, it occurs to me that for many of us, parents and ministers, that is how we approach life.

Because our lives are full, there are no empty compartments, but because life is busy, we do our best to keep everything in its place. We have a compartment for work, a compartment for home and family, a compartment for fun and play, and a compartment for church. Everything neatly fits on its place, rarely touching, and easily organized so our brains can function….with appropriate caffeine intake.

Do you ever feel like you just go through life checking off boxes?

Making sure that you get everything done and collapsing into bed each night so you can do it again?

If you do, than there is a good chance that your walk of faith falls into that same pattern.

It’s not totally your fault.   As Ron Hunter shared this morning, the way church has been “done” facilitates this compartmentalized life.

When you “go to church” the compartments are ready and waiting for your family. Your children go to the red hallway with the highest walls to contain the mess, your youth go to the comfy compartment with couches and loud music, adults go to rooms with coffee and doughnuts according to their age level to enjoy “fellowship” and after a perfunctory gathering of adults and maybe older youth for singing and teaching, all rejoin each other on the way to the car and ….check mark, church is done.

We compartmentalize our faith at church.

It only makes sense that we compartmentalize it in life.

Faith has its place on our plate. It only takes up about 1/168 of our plate (one hour of our 168 weekly hours) but it is there, so we can check it off, and move on to our other compartments. As Ron Hunter shared, “The problem is if we perpetuate 1/168 idea of church for adults, we end up with siloed faith. Parents just do the one hour with God and then they are done.

But that’s NOT how faith works. That’s not what church is supposed to be.

Our faith? That’s what should BE the plate. Our faith should be what holds the rest together. It should be the very foundation of everything we do. It should never get checked off. It should be what we stand on and talk about and incorporate into every other part of our life.

If our faith is the plate, then our family needs to be the gravy that covers everything. With each bite of our work, our play, our home, there needs to be a taste of family in it. Our family cannot be far from our mind, compartmentalized in a certain space and unwelcomed in the rest. We should always be asking, “How can I bless my family and live out my faith in this?” As Pete Wilson speaking at D62015 shared, “We are the same person at work as we are at home…only more tired. If you are not grace-filled at work, then you won’t be at home either.

Compartmentalization works great for preschool lunch.

It doesn’t work for faith and family.

Our faith has got to be something we take with us.

Our church experience needs to be intergenerational and communal.

Our work, our play, our home needs to be a place where faith and family overflow into each and every compartment.

They can never be checked off as done, because, as Paul shares “we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image” (2 Cor. 3:18). Until that day, we are a work in progress. Rest in knowing that God is the One doing the work and give him access to your whole life, 24/7, to do it.


Join the conversation on Facebook at ReFocus Family and Intergen Ministry.

For more information about practical discipleship in the home or transitioning to a more home-focused ministry at your church, go to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page.

About the author

familyChristina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partneringsmallbadge 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 ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, Seedbed, and D6 Family.