What kind of example are you setting? This a great question to regularly ask yourself in all areas of life, but especially when it comes to your engagement and involvement in the local church. This summer I had the honor of taking kids to camp and even speaking at camp to hundreds of kids with my colleague and friend Dr. Al Barrera. One of the most impactful things I observed was the way kids and students follow the example of adults in the room. While teaching the same lesson to several different groups the engagement and involvement of the adults in the room greatly impacted the level of engagement and involvement of the kids. While it may feel like no none notices you or how you act in church, people are always watching. So, how do we make sure to live and even attend church in a way that says, like Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “follow me like I follow Christ”?
The ultimate realization that enables us to be this example to kids, students and other believers is the realization that we are not just a warm body. Whether we are a volunteer, teacher, or attender, God has placed us where we are for a purpose. We are where we are because he has called us there! We are not merely a statistical number in the attendance or legal requirement for adults in the room, but interictal to pointing those around us to Christ. The way we pay attention, or don’t, sends a message and points those around us either to or from Christ. This is why in the New Testament Paul is so adamant that believers live worthy of their calling in all areas of life. In Colossians 1:10-14 Paul instructs the church in Colossae:
10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
While this verse especially speaks to the big ways we live out our calling in the world with integrity, thankfulness, patience, and joy, it also speaks to how we live and act in the smallest ways, like how we pay attention to a lesson and as we personally grow in Christ. An attitude that says, it doesn’t matter that I am here or that I won’t get anything out of this lesson meant for students and kids is not an attitude that is worthy of our calling. This attitude is detrimental to us, other believers, and especially young ones in the church! How we are engaged and involved with the local church matters!
How much would change in churches, youth groups, and Kid’s ministries if we viewed just showing up with this sort of seriousness? We must realize that serving and even attending in a church is ultimately rooted in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) in that as followers of Jesus we are all called to make disciples in pointing those around us closer to Christ. We know that teaching, preaching, meeting for bible study, and things like that makes disciples, but what if we viewed church attendance and simply showing up to any event, whether with kids, students, or adults, in a way that was truly present as discipleship? The stakes just got much higher. Every member, attender, and volunteer just became a vital component of the church’s accomplishment or distraction from the mission of God! Show up, be engaged, be involved and God will use you in ways you never would have imagined or expected! Show up in a way that says to those around you, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”