I didn't hate church. I didn't hate going to church. I hated getting up to go to church. Looking back, I'm sure I made that very clear to my folks.
Fast forward to the past 15 years or so. I've experienced the same drama in our home. Two boys who weren't enthused at all about getting up to go to church. But, here's the thing. For us, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that we would go to church.
Now remember, I'm a "growed up in the church" guy. Toured with an evangelical musical group. Learned to present "the bridge." Worked on church staff. Helped plant a new congregation.
When I was actively involved in a church, or employed in a church, we went, pretty much all the time. When I wasn't... well... let's just say we sometimes worshiped at the "Church of the Holy Comforter."
Is Sunday morning a non-negotiable when talking about a family's participation in the life of a church? Lots of churches offer Saturday worship experiences. Many of them DON'T offer full children and youth programming on Saturday. The most recent research I've seen shows families are still most likely to VISIT church on a Sunday morning.
What about the whole phenomena of Internet campuses and "going to church" online? You simply can not argue with the fruit that some are seeing from building online communities to experience worship together in that environment. Yes, I know some will disagree here. The proof is in the fruit. Please, please get over it. Don't argue it. At this point, you just look silly.
Here's my bottom line question. What does the church need to do to be more accessible to families with children? What are we missing? What do we need to change?
Don't get me wrong. I believe a relationship with God is a commitment. I believe that fellowship and community are critical component of spiritual growth.
I think the church exists primarily to help facilitate an individuals growing relationship with God. If what we do makes growing that relationship more difficult, or if we could do new or different things that would be helpful, we should be willing to change.
What do you think? Where should we be looking?