I was told I was around five when my parents decided to go back to church. I’m guessing it was because they wanted me to get some “God” in my life. A lot of young parents do that. I’ve never completely understood their logic, but I suppose it’s better than a kid never getting the church experience at all.
Throughout my childhood and early teenage years, “church” was something I did on Sundays. It was part of my family routine. My mom helped in the nursery and joined with other ladies to plan potlucks. She and my dad both sang in the little church choir.
I attended Sunday school and Vacation Bible school and church camp and youth rallies and Bible studies and church work days and youth group parties at Christmas and Halloween. But the big day…the church day…was always Sunday.
Sunday as “church day” got assimilated into my life. There was nothing wrong with that. In fact, it was a huge part of my spiritual formation. Although it was often nothing more than the weekly ritual, it was still something important and the practice sunk deep into my psyche.
When I turned 18…in my second year of college…it all changed. “Attending” church on Sundays took on a whole new meaning. Wanda and I (now in our third year of dating) began guiding the youth group…teaching Sunday school, leading a Wednesday night Bible study and organizing youth group activities.
Sundays began to be a day that others needed me…instead of being a day I struggled to see value in devoting my time and energy to. And that serving began to build the structure of my next 40 years.
Through the years, kids in the youth group (and even some of their parents) liked to call me a professional christian. And on some level, they were right. For the whole of my adult life, Sundays have always been work days for me. As kids loved to remind me, “Dude, you’re paid to be here on Sundays!”
There is no doubt my relationship with Sundays is different from most. A big portion of my work week is spent with Sunday in mind. It is certainly the day in my week where I have the greatest volume of connection with the greatest number of people. Of course its important to me!
But here are two truths that help me keep perspective on Sundays:
First, I learned years ago that most people don’t have the same attitude about Sundays that I do. Because of long work weeks and hectic schedules and the incredible demands of raising children in our culture and the pull of extended family…not to mention the unrelenting grip of home ownership and the weekly management of all the “stuff” we own and how much of our time and money it requires...a weekly commitment to Sunday mornings is a very difficult thing to make. The benefits of “church” are often completely obscured by the potential benefits of anything and everything else. And I get it.
Second, and most important, my commitment to Sunday mornings at North Point really has nothing to do with my job and my perceived “requirement” to attend. I am present on Sundays because I am always better for having been with my church family. When I miss, it is my loss.
I didn’t preach today. I sat in the crowd. I sang songs. I followed the sermon that Adam preached (very well, mind you). I hung out. I talked to people. I was reminded that, more than anything else, I’m just a part of a really cool church family that meets altogether every Sunday morning.
I wish you felt about your church family the way I do mine.