In a few days we will load up my oldest boy and drive him off to Southwest Baptist University. So this Sunday will be the first time he attends Church without his family. He is off on his new adventure which will include a preacher other than his father and a Church other than the one I am leading. That has me thinking about his 18 years as a preacher’s son.
1. He spent every Sunday in the nursery
From the first Sunday after he was born until he was old enough to move to the next class he was in the Church nursery. We learned to trust the care of the workers. When we found problems in the nursery we took steps to fix them and not give up. He was never a distraction to anyone, including us.
2. Children’s Church was never an option
We never asked him if he wanted to go to Children’s Church. We just took him and he loved it. I won’t lie, not every Sunday was a great experience that made him excited about God. But with every passing year he learned more and grew in his faith.
3. Church programs were mandatory
Whenever the Church was hosting some sort of program from VBS to candlelight at Christmas we were going to be there. We don’t make plans late Saturday night and never on Sunday morning. We don’t skip youth group or Sunday School. The programs are created to help you grow and missing them seems like an unproductive thing to do.
4. Serving started young
When my kids were old enough to help, they started setting up at Church. At the time I was working in a new Church and we had to set up everything on a college campus each week. My son started by setting out toys or wiping them down after Church. He moved on to setup and tear down of everything starting at 6:00 am on Sunday morning. As he got older we moved him into worship ministry where he sang or ran Powerpoint and sound. Every week there was something he could do for God.
5. We never sheltered our children from some Church people
Some things in Church can be ugly. Some people in Church can be unchristian. We talk openly about it in our home. Some ministers shelter their kids from negative experiences but I wanted them to be fully aware of the people in the Church. We all need grace and some people desperately need to change. I did not want him to grow up and be shocked by people as an adult.
6. We strove to underline everything at home.
It has been a struggle to do this as he got older, but for most of his life we had daily devotions. We have also talked about spiritual issues on a regular basis. My wife and I have tried to model faith in our lives. Faith was not just something for Sunday morning. Church is an extension of a families faith and not the only part of it.
7. Our biggest regret was other Christians
I have frequently had to have the same conversation. Why are my boys expected to attend and serve when the adults don’t do it? That is a hard question to answer. I can’t always explain why other people refuse to participate when they claim to be Christians. It is a hard lesson for a 14 or 15-year-old boy when he realizes how little other people live out their faith.
After all of the years and all of the experiences both good and bad I am proud of the adult Christian my son has become. I am excited to see where God takes him next and how he will bless God’s kingdom where he lives. I pray God will use him, teach him and grow him into a wonderful man of faith.