Observation: A lot of parents who get sucked up in myth #1 (believing they have to have their children in every imaginable activity to be a good parent) often get sucked into myth #2. Because they are running around from activity to activity they feel the one area that they can cut back on is their involvement in their local church. And I have observed many parents make this choice.
Problem: The problem with this is that it contradicts the very essence of what it means to be a Christian. Ephesians 4, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4 all make it clear that to be a Christian is to be a member of the Body. Christianity is not an individualistic enterprise – it is very much about community. That is why our God has described Himself as a Tri-unity – as God in community – 3 persons in one. To make a decision to forego service in the body is to make a decision to live contrary to what God has made us to be. Problem: Beyond this there is the problem of what we are teaching our children – or what we aren’t teaching our children. When our children see us running around from activity to activity, we are sending them a message that these things are really what matters. When we are doing these things and at the same time choosing not to go to church or participate in church, we are sending even a stronger message. Oh blessed is the child that sees his/her parents zealous for the Lord’s work. I have seen children who have been blessed with such parents who themselves have grown up to love ministry.
Back in the 80’s when I worked at a camp in Wisconsin I had a HS student who was zealous for motorcycles. He loved to talk about them, race them, fix them. I wondered how he could be so turned on to them. Then I met his dad – a motorcycle enthusiast. His dad was so turned on to the sport that his enthusiasm was catchy. His son picked up on it in a big way. As I observed that, I remember asking myself, “How can we inculcate a similar zeal in our children for the Lord and His work?” I think the answer is being joyfully zealous for the Lord’s work ourselves. When our children see that ministry matters – that it is not optional – take it or leave it – they are more likely to pursue it themselves. That’s why I think it is tragic when parents believe myth #2. Not only do they miss out on this vital role in preparing their children for service in Christ’s kingdom, but they miss out in the blessing of living out the full calling of Christ for their lives.