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Parents, Bring Your Kids to Church!

I was at church yesterday and had an interesting experience and wanted to share it. Hopefully as a parent you’ll begin to think about the impact of your church attendance. As a church leader I’m hoping that your heart is moved by the story of a boy who only came to church twice this school year.

Yesterday a 6th grade boy was dropped off by his dad in the preschool area, where his stepbrother attends and was told to help. Our wonderful preschool programming director Ryan asked a few questions and found out that he hasn’t attended a Switch service, our 5th and 6th grade ministry, and really had no idea why he was in his section. He escorted him upstairs and dropped him off with me. I welcomed him, and he immediately found some friends from school.

We had service and afterwards I followed up with him to make sure that his dad could find him. I asked some questions and the conversation that I had with him was amazing. I’ll call him Joe for the purpose of this blog. 

Me: Did you enjoy the service?

Joe: Yeah, I really needed that today.

Me: Why is that? Why do you feel like you needed it?

Joe: God is trying to tell me to treat my stepbrother better. Yesterday we had a fight and he told me he didn’t want to be my friend anymore. (my heart cracks a bit).

Me: That’s awesome. I’m glad you are listening to God. Do what He tells you. Is this your first time at Brookwood?

Joe: No, this is my second. I came here when school started.

Me: Why did you come today?

Joe: I have no idea.

Me: Dad just woke you up and brought you.

Joe: Yeah. (he laughed). But I’m glad he brought me. God wanted me to hear that today.

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Parents, your kids probably don’t understand why your church attendance looks irregular. You might think they are oblivious, maybe you are oblivious. But they understand that it doesn’t make sense. Are you all in or just a little bit in when it comes to being committed to your church? Do you think that translates in how they think about you and your relationship with God?

Church leaders, every kid has a story. God is dealing with every kid, regardless of how many times they come to church. Treat every Sunday like it’s the only Sunday that some kid has. Did they hear about Jesus? Did they feel loved? Did someone ask about them?

This kid has changed my motivation for Sunday. I’m praying for Joes everywhere. And I’m thankful that God is bigger than our “methods”. His Spirit is what works. I enjoyed watching God do something in a 6th graders life this week and am looking forward to what God is going to do in someone’s life next week.

How do you treat first time guests? Any awesome stories of God working in them regardless of the system you’ve got in place?

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J.C. Thompson is the 5th & 6th Grade Director at Brookwood Church in Simpsonville, SC, one of Outreach magazine’s Top 100 Largest Churches in America.