CHURCH INVOLVEMENT

Families who attend church and are active in their faith are more likely to stick together. Kids who are involved in their home church do better in school and are less likely to participate in delinquent behaviors, such as crime, premarital sex, or drug use.

1. Pinpoint Any Reluctance

• Is there reluctance on the part of some family member to become involved in the church? What causes the reluctance?

— Is it a spiritual problem?

— Is the family member too tired to attend church?

— Is the family member not being spiritually fed at the church?

— Does the family member not like the church family?

— Does the family member not like the church programs or services?

• Understanding the cause for the reluctance is the first important step in addressing the issue.

2. Find the Right Church

The percentage of American adults who identify themselves as Christians dropped from 86 percent in 1990 to 77 percent in 2001.

• If you decide that it is time to find a new church home, stop doing what doesn’t work and begin the search for a Bible-believing and Christ-exalting church home ASAP.

• Make some calls, request information from other churches in the area, and go visit a few different churches to see which congregation or church family is the best fit.

• Be sure to select a church where you can grow spiritually and where the family will want to spend time. Going to church should not feel like a chore but should be a highlight of the week.

3. Attend and Become Involved

• You will need to decide what level of church involvement will be mandatory for all members of the family and what involvement is voluntary. For instance, maybe the kids will be required to attend Sunday school and the full service on Sunday but will not be required to attend all other church activities during the week. Or perhaps the kids can choose to go to church either Sunday morning or Sunday evening and attend youth group.

• If the family is already stressed with work, home duties, kids’ sports, school, and other commitments, overparticipating at the church may lead to resentment, as opposed to spiritual growth. A healthy, balanced schedule is best. Look for quality contact at church over just being there all the time—especially for the children.

6 BIBLICAL INSIGHTS

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Matthew 16:18 NIV

The idea of the church was designed intentionally by God.

In Matthew 16 Christ tells Peter that not even the gates of Hades will overcome the church of God.

On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Acts 14:27 NIV

When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

Acts 15:4 NIV

The Scriptures continually highlight the importance of church involvement.

In the above passages, the church is functioning as a group of believers who report and celebrate the progress of Christ’s message.

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Acts 16:5 NIV

This short passage highlights two important points. Both the growth of a church in numbers and the growth of the faith of the members of the church were important issues to early Christians.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24–25

Even before the fall of mankind, the Bible says the only thing not good was that man was alone (Gen. 2:18). We were created for relationships and fellowship with one another.

The Bible also tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39). We need to feel loved and encouraged, as do our fellow church members.

7 PRAYER STARTER

Being part of a body of fellow believers is extremely important to one’s spiritual walk. We know this, Lord, for it is what Your Word shows us. But issues become more complicated when we look at all the different ways we and our families can participate in the church. Lead us, Lord, to be involved in ways that are most pleasing to You, and show us the amount of involvement that is best …

 Clinton, T., & Trent, J. (2009). The Quick-Reference Guide to Marriage & Family Counseling (pp. 85–87). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.