Galatians 4:31 – So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
I can think of a couple specific conversations with parents from the last few years at Trinity Church in Scottsdale, AZ, where I have the honor of being the senior pastor, that are great examples of law vs. grace-based households.
One mom in particular approached me a few years ago to let me know their family was going to leave the church. This happens from time to time and is completely understandable as God calls people and families to different places for different seasons. Her reasoning, however, surprised me.
She said, “I don’t think the kid’s ministry is serious enough.” I was a bit taken aback and said, “What do you mean?” I added, “The kids learn about Jesus, they read Bible stories, they worship, they pray, they do the whole thing in a context that’s easy for them to understand.”
Her reply was, “Yeah, all of that is great. But then they go outside and run around and yell and make noise and jump in bouncy houses. What does that have to do with church?”
I think she was missing the point. The Bible says that Heaven is the Father’s House. Jesus used parables about parties to show us what the Father’s House will be like – a fun party that never ends. There are also several instances in the Bible where children ran to Jesus and loved being around Him. He was a fun, safe, loving person and kids were drawn to Him. He wants this same fun, enjoyable atmosphere for our kids today.
On the other hand, I recently had another mom come up to me and she was crying. She told me about how they had recently moved to Arizona from another state where things were locked down and they hadn’t been able to attend church in person for nearly the entirety of her young daughter’s life.
Their family had just moved here, and she was moved to tears that her daughter was coming home from church, talking about what she had learned and how much fun she had, and was asking every day if it was time to go back to church. She also asked, “I heard about something called Swimsuit Summer coming up, is that true?”
Her smile widened when I said, “Oh yeah, this is next level. All summer, the Backyard turns into a free, safe waterpark with water slides, popsicles, and squirt guns. We want kids to know that church should be enjoyable, and that Jesus is fun.”
After all, as the great theologian Nacho Libre said, kids need to get their wiggles out.
I believe, as parents, we should be more like the second one and teach our kids about Jesus by showing them that He is fun, that He loves them, and that He wants them (and us, as we’re all His children) to enjoy life in a safe, fun environment.
I pray that, for those of you who are parents, you will enjoy your kids, viewing discipline as a way to course correct before returning to enjoyment of each other as a family. And for those of you who hope to have kids one day, I pray that you will see the way that you want to parent and learn good habits now to, by God’s grace, pass that same grace on to your own children.
What type of parent do you tend to be currently or want to be in the future? Pray and ask God to help you show more grace to your kids so you can enjoy each other.
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