So last week’s post, STOP SHAMING BUSY PARENTS, got some mixed reactions. I think it’s a helpful conversation and a good time to rethink how our shares on Facebook might affect people who are struggling.
Let’s all agree to the following…
1. Kids attending church is a good thing (excluding illness etc.)
I don’t see any argument here – especially from the children’s ministry leaders. Under normal circumstances,
2. Parents are responsible to God for the spiritual upbringing of their children.
Just check out any of the Bible verses bout parents and children – God’s word makes this clear. It’s also clear from the research on kids and salvation points toward parents being the primary influence in how children come to Christ. The second leading influences are related to church involvement (ministry programs, christian friends, mission projects).
3. Churches are responsible to God for how they welcome children.
This is the obvious goal for what we do and why children’s ministry is so important. When families come to your church is their and effort to meet the spiritual needs of all the family members (regardless of their age)?
“What can our ministry do better?”
That’s the first question we should ask when a family struggles to consistently attend worship services. Maybe it’s an issue with the children’s ministry or church nursery, but they are too polite to share their concerns. This is where humble leaders make a real difference. There is no such thing as a “perfect” church, so don’t be upset when people offer their suggestions.
4. We all are responsible to God for how we love and encourage others.
This is where our article rubbed some people the wrong way. Our point was not to dispute the first three items I’m listing here. Rather we need to re-think our attitudes toward parents who are struggling. This may be an issue of wrong priorities in the family, or it may simply be a lifestyle that’s gotten too busy by accident.
Public shaming isn’t right (even on Facebook)
it doesn’t help people and it doesn’t reflect the love of Jesus.
If we think a fellow Christian is losing their way, it’s our responsibility before God to encourage them in private. When Christians re-share a critical article on Facebook it is hurtful to the “weaker brother” and shows unbelievers that judgmental attitudes are still a problem in the church.
5. Facebook doesn’t change people’s minds.
This is something that’s bigger than our blog post. We all tend to like and share what confirms what we already think. We also get upset when people like and share things that we don’t agree. It’s not a platform made for thoughtful conversation.
Christians love to debate internal church issues – that’s not bad – because we feel very strongly in our beliefs. The problem comes when those debates get shared around and un-churched people see all the bickering. That’s not helpful and does not reflect the attitudes Jesus modeled for his followers.
Did I share this from un-confessed pride?
Let’s reflect on our own tendency to humble brag when we share on Facebook. It’s easy to post about the importance of getting the family to church (every time the doors are open) if that’s not a personal struggle. For example, when I was full-time paid staff at a church the temptation to skip was never an issue – it was my job to be there every service. Let’s be careful on how we judge ourselves and others with different standards.
The same can be said of blog comments, which is why we don’t let them flame up in our comment section. We love thoughtful conversation, but there is a way to express opinions without hostility toward fellow believers or causing embarrassment to struggling Christians.
Why do you think families are missing church? How do you reach out to them?
So let’s think about whey families might not be coming to church… I have a few of my own ideas but I’d like to hear from readers. If we all agree with the statements above, where is the breakdown happening?