Sunday, August 06, 2006

Why Bother With Church?

We've been away from our church family for 9 weeks, so I was really looking forward to being back with them today. It's nice to go to other churches and worship with other believers, but there is just nothing like worshipping at SonLife for me. The people there have known us since before we had kids. They have been with us in good times and bad times, they have allowed us to make mistakes and grow. And they still love us. They are a great and gracious group of people.

So, I was excited, my children however had other plans for me. Annie cried and screamed almost the entire hour. Grant and Abby came running outside to find me (during the sermon) to tell me that they were tired and hungry. They didn't pick up their crayons like I asked them to after church and did several other annoying and disobedient things. All of which was made worse by Annie's screaming. Then we headed home and I made lunch and fed everyone before Mike even walked through the door. What a fulfilling worship experience!

So, I was thinking to myself, Why did I come to church today? I never get anything out of it and I could just as well be chasing kids at home. That's been on my mind a lot lately! Why bother?

Of course I have to go to church because I'm the Pastor's wife, right? That is true, but I want to be in church - even when it's hard. Here's what I've realized:

I need to be in church with my family. We need to worship together. They need to see that this is an important event. Not that we are legalistic and are there by force, but that we WANT to be there. It's a joy to be with our church family and to praise the Lord together. I like to shut my eyes while we are singing sometimes to keep from being distracted. One day last year Jenna asked me, "Do you shut your eyes so you can see Jesus?" I do not want to miss those moments with my kids.

And if I'm not going to go because I don't get anything out of it, that really is just plain selfishness isn't it? Who said church is about me and what I can get from it? Isn't it really about God and what we bring Him?

Acts 2:42-47
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and good, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

6 comments:

Michelle said...

Sorry - because I'm new at this I accidentally erased this comment from Tina! But I got it back and here it is:
Hi--Tina here, another "missionary mommy" from SD. I feel the exact same way much of the time. My son rarely sits still for more than 15 minutes (or less!), so anytime I "go" to Bible study, church, etc, I spend the vast majority of the time with him in the hallways or the nursery (where I can't hear anything that's going with the adults.) Sometimes I try to let him run around near where the adults are so I can catch glimpses of what is being said, but then he inevitably screeches or bangs a door or cries and I have to rush away to keep the noise level down. Very frustrating!
Like you said, I agree that we need to also focus on what we can "give," while at church. My son and I make sure we go back to the sanctuary during greeting time to give hugs and shake hands. Before and after church activities, we mingle with people. Sometimes I keep him in the nursery and let him run around until prayer time, sneak back to the sanctuary long enough to say a quick prayer, and then back to the nursery. (We have a time during the service when people in the congregation may take turns praying for each other out loud. This is one of my favorite parts of the service.)
I also try packing some of his favorite foods for him to munch on when there is something I really want to participate in; sometimes that helps to keep him quiet, even if he is still wiggly!

--
Posted by TC to The Adventures of Mommy Missionary at 8/07/2006 09:05:06 AM

Joyce said...

Hi Michelle,
I too wonder why bother? Some Sundays are such a battle to get my son and husband out the door. And there are times when my husband and I argue so much that I feel like a hypocrite being in church. Not exactly the kind of example I want my son to see. Yet I long to be with Jesus, to be in His presence with other believers, to receive His mercy and grace, and to let Him know how much I love him. I am so hungry for His word, so hungry for relationship/connection that I simply cannot give in to the spirit of division. Maybe in my neediness I am being selfish. But oh, how I long to sit at His feet.

Sarah V. said...

Michelle,

I laughed when I read this post, sounds like a few Sundays I've had! I've really enjoyed your blogs! It's nice knowing that there is someone else going through the same things that I am.

Thanks for allowing God to use you this way. You are such an encouragement to me!

sarahjean said...

Michelle,
Your writing is so appreciated! What a great idea you had. I often struggle with seeing my kids (plural - I'm pregnant!) as a hinderance to my ministry - which is know is so messed up, especially since I'm in the stage of parenting where my Naomi is too young to make any spiritual decisions. God keeps reminding me that even the dealing with a screaming kid is with love and consistancy is laying the groundwork for how we relate in the future. Since I'm new to this whole pastor's wife thing, I feel like the whole church is staring at me to see how I'm going to handle Naomi, especially during church activities. I think I put the pressure on myself more than anybody. It's hard to raise kids before an audience of one!

Michelle said...

I think Joyce has an interesting take. I was thinking about the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5. When He says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" he is talking about a spiritual neediness. That we need God's help, hope, forgiveness and teaching. So, I think when you talk about being hungry for church it goes along with that - and it's not at all selfish!

A little further along in Matthew 5, he also says "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness". It is that intense desire and need for Christ. And guess what else it says about those who hunger and thirst, they will be filled!

If we didn't feel hypocritical at times, we wouldn't be being honest with ourselves. And I always try to remember that there is someone who does not want us in church! Why is it that we can all be out the door by 8:00 a.m. on a weekday, but havoc and chaos always accompany a Sunday morning.

So, stay hungry and be filled!

Michelle said...

Well, SarahJean! Congratulations! How could you have possibly squeezed in a pregnancy with all that's been going on in your life the past few months! Great News!