When church doesn't look like church anymore: Facebook Live
If you’ve received a supermarket food delivery recently, chances are that you’ve been given replacements for some of the items you wanted. They didn’t have what you wanted, so they’ve given you the thing closest to it that they can.
Church is feeling a bit like that. We can’t have the church we want, so we’re looking for the closest thing to it that we can do at home. And since lockdown started, churches have put some amazing resources online for us to use. But as we see them all, we can feel overwhelmed and like it's a bit of a chore to dig through everything to find the perfect thing for your family. ‘Should’ can feel like a big word right now: but actually, don’t worry about the ‘should’. Rather, we have a unique opportunity to find ways to do church in this temporary season that takes the pressure off and fits with our family.
You can watch the videos below, or scroll down for a summary of what Rachel said.
It’s really helpful, when we’re trying to work out how to do church now, to remember that your child’s faith is different from their experience of church and their concept of church. God never designed church to be the centre of children and young people’s discipleship: he wants it to be the home. Nothing about that has changed. Their not going to church won’t stop their faith from happening.You are walking alongside your kid every day, helping them meet and know God. Parenting for Faith is all about helping you walk your ordinary, everyday with God and discipling your kid as you go.
But when we do go to church, when everyone comes together, something special and extra happens. It’s where we draw near to God together, where we are purposeful, encouraged, loved and transformed together: but now we are pulled apart. We might rush to try and replicate the activity of church but there’s something more powerful we can share with our children this season: discovering what is the essence, the heart, of church for us, and then enjoying that as a family.
To help us do that, there are three questions we can ask:
- What is church for? Think about what works about it for your family, not just the ‘right’ Biblical answer. For you, what about it hooks you in and what are you missing? (for example, a community of adults I can relate to / this is where I worship / this is where my kid meets other Christians / this is where they get good biblical teaching).
- What is the fear or the concern I’m experiencing? Many of us are fearful that if we don’t get this right, something bad will happen. Name what is worrying you in this season (for example, my kids will lose the pattern of worship / you’ll feel lonely / we won’t get any good teaching / we’ll lose community).
- What are my next steps for this season? Once you know what church means for you and your family, you can problem solve how to do that at home, and this might mean using some of those amazing resources out there (for example, if I’m afraid my kid will forget the pattern of worship, we can put something in step to replicate and strengthen that pattern. If you are afraid they won’t stay connected to their church family, then just problem solve that).
Questions Rachel answered for under 5s:
My husband isn't a Christian and actually gets quite frustrated by me doing faith things with the kids. Sunday is normally his time and space to be on his own and he's missing this.
I want to watch church online because for me it's important to hear the message and see the faces I know. I'd like to do that as a family but my 1 and 3 year old aren't interested at all and just run off and cause havoc.
I really am struggling to be calm and I've shouted at the kids a couple of times. I then feel a hypocrite doing church at home with the kids.
Questions Rachel answered for 5s-11s:
Please help! My 7 year old is adamant that she hates “computer church”! How can I help her to connect with God and the church at this time and stop her totally disrupting our experience of church online as a family? Also, I am our church’s children and families worker so have you got any easy/low maintenance ideas for how I can help children outside my immediate family connect to church at this time?
I'm a new Christian and really don't know much about the bible or how to explain Christian stuff and I'm feeling totally out of my depth.
I've got two girls, one loves singing and dancing to worship music but the other one dislikes that and makes fun of her sister for doing it.
Questions Rachel answered for teens:
My son is really happy he doesn't have to go to church and won't take part in any praying, worshipping or listening to sermons from church with us. I'm worried he'll lose his faith.
I'm a single mum to a teenage boy and one of the things I'm worried about is him not having any Christian male role models in his life. Any ideas how to help with this?