As a children’s pastor, one of the greatest challenges I face is inconsistency in the attendance of our kids and families. Knowing that at best we offer 2-3 hours a week for teaching kids at our church, and knowing that only a slim percentage of families attend all services, it is increasingly difficult to help instill Biblical truth in today’s kids. In increasing measure, the commitment to sports–practices, teams, games, competitions and tournaments is trumping commitment to the church–attendance, Bible learning, service and worship.
Although sports aren’t the only thing that competes for church time, it is a big contender. Here are 5 things you might want to consider before making the choice to choose attendance for sports and hobbies over your child’s attendance at church.
1) Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25-27 Be careful that your habit isn’t games over meeting together with other believers. God understands this temptation and warns us of the danger in it.
2) For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 2 Timothy 4:8 God understands physical training is a good thing, but that it won’t last, but that godliness is a better thing and it will last forever.
3) Seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, then all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 God never says it is wrong to participate in sports, but He does tell us to make seeking Him the priority of our lives.
4) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. I Corinthians 9:24-28 God understands our desire to win, but He also understands we are easily tempted to put the wrong value on the wrong trophy.
5) As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, … I Corinthians 12:20-25 God understands team. But church is a team, too, and when someone is gone from the “game” or from “practice,” it affects the whole team. Everyone is needed.
There’s a lot of pressure for our kids to do it all–to achieve and to succeed. But there’s a lot at risk, and there’s a lot of wisdom in the words, warnings and encouragements God gives us in making the wisest choices for using our time, setting our priorities and helping our children to learn to do the same.