Give Faith Communities Another Chance
In a post Covid-19 world, I would like to speak up and encourage you and your children to go back to worship with your faith community. Whatever faith practices you are comfortable with, return to them.
It seems that the worst of the Covid-19 may actually be drawing near. In our state things are beginning to look a bit more normal than they have in many months. My husband and I chose to get vaccinated, so we are moving about with much the same sense of confidence that we had before we even heard of this virus. We are thankful to God and to the encouragement and advice we received from our family members that are health care professionals. All this helped us to make this decision.
During the months of full on quarantine, my husband and I and three others would gather each Sunday morning in the very large social hall at our church. Wearing masks and staying at least six feet apart we set up musical equipment and a WiFi ready camera and offered worship music and teaching live via the internet to the people of our congregation. We prayed that the Lord would use our humble offering to touch the hearts of people in their homes. And it did! Not surprisingly, many people found that they needed the eternal words more than ever during this time.
Now is a great time, as we hit the reset button in our communities, to get back to or begin the habit of regular worship with your family. Go back to church. If this is not in your background, go and see what it is that draws people to a weekly gathering of worshiping and learning about God. You could be very surprised to find that it enhances your life in ways you can't understand.
But not every church is suited to every family. Do a little research on the internet and then go visit. Churches that are strong and healthy and welcome new families have several things in common. Here are some guidelines:
Choose your community of worship by the way that community produces the fruit of the spirit and proclaims the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross and His resurrection to atone for our sins.
By “the fruit of the spirit” I mean the list provided for us by Paul: “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23. NIV) Look at that list closely.
Love: Are the worshipers loving towards newcomers as well as each other? Do they love and respect their pastor? Are hurting people nurtured?
Joy: Are smiles and laughter present in the halls and worship space?
Peace. Are there constant conflicts about carpet color, lunch menus or how to make pancakes? Or do the people work together in peace and unity?
Forbearance: How much patience is displayed toward children, people struggling with addiction, church leadership?
Kindness: This is self explanatory and self evident
Goodness: Bear in mind that “nice” is not the same as “good”. People can appear to be nice, but being good goes below the surface and is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Faithfulness: This is about remaining true to the scriptures in daily life and not only the context of a worship service
Gentleness: This is easily recognized. People need to be treated with respect and consideration.
Self Control: This last one is the most challenging for us all, so be gracious in assessing this.
The number one reason that church goers say that they attend each week is to hear a good sermon. Listen to how the pastor presents the words of God. Most pastors are gifted orators with the ability to communicate well, but make sure that the pastor is proclaiming Jesus in a manner that is consistent with the gospels.
If you have a music preference, by all means, worship where you enjoy the music that is offered. But check out the other issues much more closely for they matter far more than the surface issue of which style of worship music we enjoy.
Being part of a church where they are loved is so good for children. It is also good for you. You and your children will find that being part of a strong group of faithful people will encourage you to work to increase your own faith. You will be challenged to read the scriptures and to think about the spiritual elements of your life more often and in a systematic way. You may find that what you think about God and Jesus and Christians is not really true. You could learn a new way to see the world and the people in it.
Consider the habit of worship. Make it a part of your life. It is almost certainly not what you think it is and it will help you to build your family on a solid foundation of faith.