Okay, this is just an escalating pet peeve of mine, so you may want to just skip this rant.

I realize that not everyone counts the cost of what it means to be a part of a church plant. There are sacrifices that one has to make. Not all the “programs” will be set. Heck, there might not be any programs to speak of. For a while, that was the number one complaint we had when we got started: we didn’t have any programs for the kids.

Yes, I get it. You believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

I believe we’ve raised children to the level of idols. The children end up ruling the household because they are apparently fragile and in need of constant shielding (protection is one thing, encasing them in a plastic bubble is quite another). Yet more and more parents become slaves to the routine and schedule of their kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m like the Ayn Rand of parenting: I believe in the selfish parent. My kids have to adjust to my schedule. Until they start paying bills, they jump to my tune, not vice versa.

Then there’s the church culture many of us grew up in. The one with programs for kids starting when they can sit up and are taught to “pat the Bible” as their nursery theological training (because, well, as you know, the Bible is the fourth person of the Godhead and we should be worshiping it, not allowing it to point us to God). We need to just admit that most of our concern for programs for our kids boil down to 1) we abdicate our role as the spiritual teachers in our children’s life and want someone else to do it and 2) we want free babysitting for a couple hours (and, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the idea of dropping off my kids at a church nursery so that I can go home to cry out “oh God, oh God” in an entirely different context).

Oh, and don’t get me started on being slaves to a nap schedule. I get that we’re a consumer culture, and we want church to serve us like Burger King: I’ll have a whopper of spirituality done my way! So we choose the services we attend in order to coincide with our precious, precious baby’s nap schedule. I appreciate the need for constancy in a schedule, but one day a week breaking your routine won’t kill anyone. Just admit that we’re ultimately still slaves to our own convenience and that it’s about you and your comfort. Again, I’m the Ayn Rand, I can appreciate that.

In short, if you want to talk to me about creating a rhythm to your life, I’m all good with that. And I’m all good with basing your routine around your Sunday morning or the convenience of your life. Just realize that you are modeling the importance of the gathering. Balance that out with the realization that it’s only one hour out of week when you worry about the programs you are subjecting your kids to. That isn’t going to be the bulk of what forms them. If I want my kids to be compassionate, I have to model compassion and be compassionate 6 days and 23 hours a week rather than stick them in a class for 1 hour a week and hoping for the best as they pat the Bible.

Of course, I can only rant like this as long as our church stays at Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. If we had to move to a Sunday night service, we’d have to leave early because our kids have to go to bed at 7:30 pm or they are monsters the next day.

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