Last Sunday morning I found myself sitting on a soccer field with one of my children for a tournament game. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining. I was enjoying some fabulous coffee.
I was also experiencing great frustration and conflict. I was frustrated because I could count 20 families from our church who were also at sports games that morning. This meant that these families were not at church.
I was also conflicted as I reflected on how I got into this situation. My husband and I know the value of church family. We know that consistency is very important for our children to build relationships with their church family and to grow as disciples of Christ. We have made many decisions over the years to say “no” to other things in order to say “yes” to church. And, yet, here I was on a soccer field on a Sunday morning! A couple weeks earlier the coach gathered the parents around and presented this opportunity for the soccer tournament that would land on a Saturday and Sunday. The way it was put to us, I felt like I had no choice but to participate. The team wouldn’t be able to play in the tournament unless everyone chose to play. If we said no, we would be letting down 12 other kids.
So, here I was sitting on the sidelines of a soccer game contemplating the predicament of so many families. Many families I’ve talked to about this feel like they have no choice for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s a sport that our kids love, maybe there are opportunities that would be missed if we pulled our kids, maybe we feel an obligation to a team, maybe there’s real potential in our little athletes that may never be recognized. There are many reasons that we come to the decisions that keep our families away from church. I completely understand how we get there – but I also know the long term effect that missing church will take on our families. And that’s the predicament that has been tormenting me.
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