Over the past couple years I’ve had quite a shift in my view of the church, family, and how they intersect. I always knew I believed something, I just couldn’t quite express it – although I lived it out. From the beginning I’ve always included my wife. She was by my side as a youth pastor – she helped plan, organize, teach, etc – she filled in the gaps that I naturally had. Then, as a church planter I remember my family always being around. My wife would hang out and talk with people as we tore down & loaded the trailer full of gear. My son would play the drums as we were literally taking them down. My daughter would run around with other kids whose parents were working hard. This was our joy. Some days were harder than others, but it is what energized us and gave us purpose.
Then, I remember a distinct shift. That church & community that was built on families serving and living life together began to settle. We got a building, we opened offices, and we began “normalizing”. Well, I didn’t. I still brought my family early. I still let my son come and hang out at every opportunity. And they still loved it. But somewhere along the way, as a church, we lost what we once had. We had fewer opportunities for families to serve together, and more and more we said without saying, “not welcome”. It was then that I knew things had to change for our family.
Fast forward a few years and we’ve come to realize that we may never experience church in the way that we once did; those were special times. I still try and include my family when I can, but it’s just not the same. We are blessed to be a part of a church that believes how special and sacred family is. We are doing what we can to show our kids that “church” is more than a weekly gathering – and even that weekly gathering can be a great connecting point for our family to be with other families.
I write all this with these following articles in mind – articles that I’ve read over the past week that kind of prompted this post. A little heartbreaking, but this inside look from a pastor’s wife is so raw and real. Walking with my friend Rich as he and his family have been seeking to follow God’s lead and serve the local church has been interesting to say the least. (by the way, neither has anything to do with the other).
- Ministry is a Family Business by Rich Kirkpatrick
- Rai King Leaving Courageous Church
- (for context) Shaun King Stepping Down as Pastor of Courageous Church
Take a few minutes and read through them. Then think through some questions:
How does your family view “church”? Is it a positive experience? How has the church failed families? What could we do differently to pour into families?