sunday 2Sunday.

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.

4 thoughts on “Sunday

    1. Thanks for the push back, Janet. My words in the first paragraph probably sound harsher than I intended…especially for someone who remembers my mom and dad. The fact is, one of the very few disappointments I have in my childhood is my mom and dad never talked to me about matters of faith and the reality of God…and especially their personal journey of faith. I suspect they didn’t know how.

      I was raised in a church culture, like many boomer kids, but it was almost completely devoid of definition. I didn’t really know “why” I went to church…it was just what we did. It was up to good hearted Sunday school teachers or a revolving door of preachers to explain things to me. I’m not sure I paid attention very well!

      By the time I got to junior high and high school, I was certainly a good, moral young man (which I owe completely to the consistent love and provision of my mom and dad). But my faith was incredibly shallow and I was ill-prepared for the intellectual attack on my faith when I got to college. I’m not blaming anybody for my limited spiritual growth as a kid. Quite the opposite. I really believe kids can and should take responsibility for their own spiritual growth. It’s definitely what motivated me to spend a lifetime in youth ministry.

      As for the second half of the paragraph, it’s about my life as a youth minister and how it has been filled with parents who dropped their children off at church, while they (the parents) went about their own business. Apparently, the God-stuff is important for kids, but not in the real world of adults. I have spent my life challenging that misguided logic. These issues (along with many others) also defined how I was a dad to my boys. For better or worse, I made the discussion of life, death, God, the Bible, and the journey of faith in a broken world a regular part of our relationship to each other. It remains that way to this day.

      Hope that helps…and that all is well with you and yours.

  1. When Kyle came along it was important to me that my son and ultimately my son’s grew up in a “church environment”. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t important for me prior to kids…. simply means I was an idiot and wasn’t building my own personal faith up to that point. The impending thought of being responsible for shaping a child’s faith was frightening and I had ZERO idea of how to do that. Fortunately we found a church family that was supportive, inclusive and very understanding of my biblical ignorance. While my idiocy hasn’t changed much I can say that my faith has. The moments and opportunities in my life to teach my sons about a God that loves me haven’t always been easy but they are without question the best parts of fatherhood and my Christian faith.

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