Today’s families are busy and fragmented. It is not unusual for each family member to spend the bulk of the day on their own entirely isolated from one another. Even at home, moms and dads are often extremely tired from their work and just want to unwind by themselves. Children, either knowing that their parents are not in the mood or condition to spend time with them or enticed by the allure of technology and information, waste their time in front of TV or computer screen late into the night. We are also being sold daily the idea that the more money you have the better life you can have. You know the trappings that go with this illusion but many continue to fall into it and more busy, meaning-robbed relationships ensue. Few seem to have any time to cultivate and nurture his/her family and community life.
Unfortunately, this hectic and fragmented lifestyle can be true even at church, the place where we should be able to slow down to rest and reflect on the beauty of God. A couple of the comments that I have heard from parents attending our church, which includes both the Korean congregation and New Life Fellowship, lend this view.
“My children and I just come to church together in the same car. Once we get here, we all go separate ways and don’t see each other for several hours until we are ready to head home!”
“I like how New Life is praising God with their children for the first thirty minutes of Sunday worship. I want to come to New Life worship with my children once a month so we can worship God together!”
There are two burdens in my heart in regards to our Sunday and its worship. One is to make Sunday our rest and worship day. God made us in such a way that we would function in the optimum level when we work six straight days and rest one full day. Not everyone will be able to rest regularly on Sunday especially if you are serving the community as a firefighter or police officer. However, many of us can and should take Sunday off to truly rest emotionally and physically and nurture your spiritual life through corporate worship. That’s why I don’t like to have too many meetings on Sundays, not only for myself but for you as well. Engaging ourselves in a God-honoring worship, fellowshipping with other Christ-followers and serving in those ministries that energize us are some of the things that I want us to do as we spend our Sundays.
The other burden or vision I have about Sunday worship is to make it more heterogeneous in age by having all the family members come and worship together. The reason why our Korean congregation can’t worship together with their children is because of the language differences. But we somehow think that this is a norm to have separate worship services for adults, youth and children. In truth we cannot picture Jesus doing this when he was ministering to people here on this earth. He didn’t call for and have separate teaching and preaching sessions for adults, youth and children. When he preached to the crowd he did it to everyone not separating them according to their age. There were infants, toddlers, young children, youth as well as adults in the crowd. The infants probably cried every once in a while. The children probably spent a few minutes listening to Jesus and then played on their own respectfully. The youth were considered as young adults so they probably paid attention throughout the whole time.
Since New Life doesn’t have the language differences that the Korean congregation is faced with, we can in fact have family worship on Sundays with our children and youth. And I hope this will take place in the near future.
On this year’s Christmas Eve, we are trying something that is very different for the first time. We are going to have Family Worship for the entire church. We are expecting about 800 to 1,000 children, youth and adults and we are going to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ together as one big family! It will be crowded and noisy in the gym but also exciting and celebratory. We will get a chance to see and interact with our Korean congregation members and they will experience what it means to worship with their children perhaps for the first time!
Please pray for this event and make sure you invite and bring your family members and friends to church on this Christmas Eve!
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