Let's say that on average, children spend 1-3 hrs a week at church. I would go so far as to say that most of these children lean towards the one hour a week mark more so than not. Yet, many Christian parents live as if this is good enough. A sort of checkmark on the checklist of Christian things to do regularly. As a community, a demographic, a culture of Christ-followers, we have accepted a Sunday-only spirituality. And we've ran with it...and we've taught it to our children. And we're all just fine sitting pretty (in our Sunday best, of course) on our "Sunday Spiritual" fluff. So to that I say, Church, Body of Christ, Brothers and Sisters, it's not the church's job to feed you spiritually. It's not their job to make sure you're growing and becoming more Christ-like. It's not their job to "save" your children. It's your job.
Church is great. Church can be inspirational. Church can be a time of sweet fellowship. Church can be games, silly songs, and prizes for the children. Church can have the coolest worship band within a 10 mi.radius and church can have the most honest, God-fearing leaders and pastors. Church is necessary. Church is where we give, where we can learn, where we can cry, praise, and be called. But church is short. It's an hour and some change in the expansive 168 hrs.we are allotted each week.
So why do we allow ourselves, our families, to eek by the other 167 hrs of the week?
In the age of the smartphone, most people don't even bring their bibles to church anymore. I mean, with big screens being typical of most modern American churches kindly reflecting scripture texts in full to the congregation, why bother, right? In fact, I hardly ever ever ever see anyone have a Bible and if I do, that guy stands out.
Being okay with a Sunday-only spirituality and sole responsibility on the church to carry both you and your children spiritually isn't only dangerous, it's plain wrong. God commands parents to be their child's teacher, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deut.6:6-7
Do your children see you reading Gods word? Do they hear you pray? Do they see a servant willing to go where God leads? Do you care enough about the spiritual climate of your home to not allow the church to have sole responsibility? Are you actively encouraging and diligently teaching the beauty of a relationship with God, our Savior, our Creator? Do you love yourself enough to not settle for a Sunday-only Christianity? Do you value the precious, tender years of your young ones enough to do more? We must see our lives, our families as our first mission field. Building Gods army begins with you, parent. Not the church. Not the Christian School. Not AWANA or any other church led extra curricular activity. Not children's church or youth group. Those two groups aren't even Biblical, to be honest.
Go to church. But live church every moment of everyday. Let every moment be a potential opportunity for a deeper relationship with Christ. Pray with your children. Learn verses together and have contests or put them to the tune of fun songs. Show them scripture that corresponds to a particular struggle they may have. Show mercy and grace when you'd rather be angry. Plan field trips and activities to help foster curiosity and a love for their neighbor.
It's not the church's job, parent. It's ours. One hour a week isn't enough. We must create an atmosphere of love and growth in our homes. It starts with us.