Today at work, a friend asked me about my weekend and I mentioned that I was helping to launch a new campus of my church (Meck) on Sunday. It turned out to be an interesting exchange.
“Do you go to church?” I asked.
“No. I used to. Probably won’t go back for a while. Not until I have kids.”
“I want them to be raised religious. I’m not really religious but I want them to be.”
“You know you don’t have to wait until then.”
And then a coworker entered and the conversation was over.
I don’t want to focus on the outreach. I hope he comes to church one day, and I plan on inviting him. I want to look at the part where he said that he didn’t see himself going back until he has children. There’s a large portion of the 20-30 somethings in the US that would have answered the exact same way.
Somewhere along the line, people began looking at the church as something that is good when you’re growing up, but after that you just disappear until you have children. This has an enormous effect on the way church is seen by many people. But more importantly it affects how many people view God.
If all we’re looking for is a God that will help raise our kids or help us have a happy family, aren’t we just being selfish? Instead of bringing God to the center of our families we approach Him once a week and barely even poke Him with a 10 foot pole. This is where the watered down, “everything is Carebears and rainbows” God comes from. What ends up happening is we don’t ever experience a relationship with God, which is what He seeks so shamelessly. It’s like the younger kid that hangs around with his brother’s older friends, just hoping that they’ll talk to him or even acknowledge his presence. But in the end, they shrug him off because of his over-eagerness to even be around them.
We must also be thinking about how this translates to our children. What happens after they grow up in a church and once they’re high school age you stop attending completely? Think they won’t notice? This thrusts forward the image of a God that is irrelevant. Helpful, maybe, but not essential.
A church isn’t a business, but there are many useful comparisons. One of them is this: it is incredibly hard to win back a lost customer. Once gone, you are not likely to hear from them again. The same is true of church attenders.
Those of us who attend churches must understand this. This is why it’s so important to have a great kid’s ministry that not only grows the children in Christ, but brings the parents in as well. Parents, you must show your children that God really does matter to you on a personal level.
For more on Meck’s new campus launches: click here