But let me back up. Over the course of the past months (years, really) we have gone from an older building in one city to a brand-new building in another. We’ve changed our name, our bulletin, and our website.
To move a church, it takes a church. That is, all the members of the body—with their variety of God-given gifts and abilities—are necessary. Some draw blueprints, some create logos, some paint murals, some lift heavy furniture, some design sound systems.
And some stomp on empty cardboard boxes and carry them to the dumpster.
Throughout this move, I have looked for opportunities to give my children things to do for the church. Along with other children, they unpacked books, swept floors, and washed windows. They accompanied me to three different Wal-Marts, seeking enough identical picture frames for room signs. They literally gave others a cup of cold water.
They served Christ.
Many, many days, my husband and I looked at each other and asked, “Should we take the kids?” On the one hand, they do get in the way. On the other, and as I have written elsewhere, their tiny acts of service are vital to the church.
Sometimes, I think, we are afraid to get preacher’s kids to do stuff around the church. We’re fearful that years of bulletin-folding and trash pick-up will sour them on service. We—rightly—don’t want to exploit them. We don’t want to create an expectation that “the pastor’s family will do it” when other people have gifts to use, too. We are right to consider these things.
But service also creates connection.
My children are oddly fond of quoting President John F. Kennedy--“ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”—and, although JFK was no great theologian, he was right. Loyalty and citizenship are best fostered through service. Or, as Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than receive.” (Acts 20:34)
Yesterday, as we sat down for the first worship service in a new location, my kids eagerly pointed out to me the visitor information cards they had placed on the chairs, the pencils they had set in the pockets, the hymnals and psalters they had distributed.
Then, my five-year-old son turned to me with a smile. “Mommy,” he said, “I love my new church.”
Yes, little one. Me, too.