The other day I stumbled across a video of Nigel Marsh at TED (http://www.ted.com/) sharing on “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work.” This is a great video for anyone who is busy, and feels like life is out of balance, to watch… especially busy moms and dads. It talks about the realities of achieving the perfect balance of work and family, and how even small efforts we make can have a huge impact in the lives of those we love. Honestly, Nigel’s dream perfect day is a little different than mine. As a non-drinker, rather than stopping by the pub, my preference would be Starbucks with a good book. That being said, the point of the talk is well made. Here is the video….
Then today I came across this video at Dad-O-Matic (http://dadomatic.com) that shows Nigel’s principle in action. It demonstrates how a little effort from a dad can light a kids face up, and turn something as simple as a birthday cake into a lifelong memory.
Kid’s church is a great place for a child to learn about God, Christ & faith. Obviously, as a children’s pastor, I wish that every kid had the opportunity to come to church to hear about God. In the end though, I know that a church service is only one of the many experiences that a child needs in order to grow in their relationship with Christ, and ultimately to have their faith stick with them for a lifetime.
What else do kids need to grow up following Christ into adulthood? Well, for one thing, opportunities to serve. Diana Garland in Inside Out Families writes,
Community service was significantly more closely related to the faith development of teens than attending worship services. Service appears to be more powerful than Sunday School, Bible study, or participation in worship in the faith development of teenagers.
Giving kids and youth the opportunity to live out their faith in practical service increases the likely hood that the child’s faith will stick with them for a lifetime. This is why I get so excited when parents get their kids involved in serving, and even more excited when parents serve with their kids.
At Calvary, we have a dad who has taken, or is going to take, all of his kids on their first missions trip with the church. We have a mom and daughter that volunteer in our wheelchair van ministry, faithfully serving together to go pick up our shut-ins for church on Sunday. We have had families that serve at the local soup kitchen, My Brother’s Table, together. Every year we have parents participate in our Christmas and Easter productions with their kids. All of these parents, and the dozens like them, are giving their kids a chance to grow in their faith outside the regular Sunday morning classroom.
I wonder if the statistics showing how many teens walk away from their faith after high school would diminish if every child were given opportunities to serve and put their faith into action? What would happen if parents invested the time and energy to get their kids plugged into church beyond the classroom?
Somehow we made it, and we actually made it early. Becky, Jack and I spent this past week in Missouri visiting family. When we heard there was a major snowstorm heading towards the northeast on Sunday & Monday we were a little nervous as our flights home were scheduled for Monday night. Then we started hearing of 1,000’s of cancelled flights, and travelers stranded until Thursday. So when it came time to leave for the airport we were a little concerned about getting stuck in Chicago where our layover was. But, they still hadn’t cancelled our flight, so we jumped in the car and headed for Lambert Airport. By the time we made it on the plane to Boston they had one runway open at Logan, and we were actually able to land 9 minutes early.
Ironically, the last time we were back to Missouri it was the summer and we were concerned we were not going to make it back then as well as a hurricane was heading up the east coast. We made it back to Mass then too, that time right on schedule and a little before the storm arrived.
We didn’t make it back before the storm this time though, so I still have about 2 feet of snow to clear off my drive way! Welcome home.