November 4, 2013

Little Hands Make Light Work


Our church moved. Yesterday was our first worship service in our new community, and it was good. So good.

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.

8 comments:

  1. My own children, who grew up in a pastor's family, enjoyed serving Christ in the same sorts of ways. I am pleased to see them ministering in much bigger ways now that they are adults. Overall, it seemed to enrich their spiritual lives.

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  2. I think our kids (who are 6, 8, & 9) see it as being in the inner ring or being like an adult. I agree with you; in our small congregation their acts of service (sweeping the front porch, helping mom's with babies, playing the piano for Sunday School, picking up bulletins, etc) are extremely helpful.

    And, what about pastoral hospital and home visits? We always joke that people (especially the older members of our congregation) think it is fine when my husband comes—as long as he brings the kids.

    May the Lord bless you in your new church building!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, hospital and home visits are such a good way for kids to participate. Good reminder!

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  3. Congratulations on a successful move! And thanks for the good blog post.

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  4. This brought tears of joy to my eyes. I can't wait to worship with you and your kids in y'all's new church some day!

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    1. Where's the "like" button for your invitation? :)

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  5. It has been a huge blessing. I think the best part is simply having my church in the same city where I live--I really feel like the church building is a gathering place for the body again.

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