Why Attend Church?

What are your “family musts?” Going to school, eating vegetables, going to church, using manners, caring for those in need…? What do you and your family claim as non-negotiable? The Ten Commandments have been a topic of conversation for the YOUth as of late. This month at YOUth Group, we discussed this Cardversations question: “You have been invited to join an elite traveling sports team that will give you the chance to compete against the best young athletes in the country and to be noticed by college scouts. Unfortunately, playing on the team would mean being on the road every weekend and missing Sunday worship and any youth retreats. What should you do?” Wow! We wrestled with an answer to this question.
God calls us to respect the Sabbath and keep it holy. Based on this commandment, the above question should be an easy one to answer. And 20, 30, 40 years ago the question would not even have been presented; society ran with a respect for the Christian church. Today, this question is not an easy one to answer.

Times have changed. Christians are having to make the religious choices that Jews, Muslims, and many other religious sects have had to make for a long time now. Faith is no longer a convenience, but a tough choice. Tough choices are when the “family musts” come in: “You don’t like vegetables, but we must eat what is good for our bodies;” “You don’t want to go to school, but we must get an education;” “You don’t want to go to church, but we must worship with our faith community.”

Respecting the Sabbath is an increasingly tough choice. While the priority of sports appeals to the youth, we can insert any number of things in its place. Perhaps: “I worked hard all week and just want one day where I don’t have anything to do;” “I can’t sit still for an hour service;” “I want to have the freedom to read my book or check my phone;” “I don’t want to fight this battle with my kids every week;” “I won’t enjoy the service with all the commotion in the pew behind me.” Perhaps your tough choice is something else.

Equipping ourselves and others to make tough choices is part of being and raising the next generation of free-thinkers. When pushed from many directions, we cling to our “musts” to make wise decisions. Families, both intentionally and unintentionally, instill a set of values that form the “musts” in their children’s lives. What do you think of the “family musts” you grew up with? What intentional “musts” are you living? What unintentional “musts” may need a bit of attention? My prayer during this season of Easter is that our “musts” will align with God’s “musts,” bringing love, joy, and hope first to God, then to our lives and the lives of those we touch.
                                                                                                                        — Laura Lawson, Director of Youth