Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Raising Sons: Church and Worship

 "When men go to church simply to sit in the back, 
they are teaching their boys to do exactly the same, if that."
-Douglas Wilson, Future Men

Our boys must be taught What to worship, Who to worship, and How to worship. They aren't born knowing how to worship God; in fact, it's more natural for them to worship food, laziness, and sports, than it is for them to worship Jesus Christ. And as they get older their appetites for the above mentioned categories only intensifies, and at a certain age (around puberty) another desire is awakened, but that shall wait for another time!

Taking your boys to church isn't their moms job, it isn't the job of the church bus driver, and it isn't the job of the youth pastor; it's their dad's job - and what a glorious job it is!

It's an honor to lead your family to a place of worship where your boys can learn the truths of God's word, see you and other men expressing their masculinity in God honoring ways, and feeling a sense of belonging as they worship with the other families at church. It is imperative for the shaping of your boys masculine identity that they stay with you during worship. To see their dad lifting holy hands in adoration of the God who saved him, to see their dad with bible open as the pastor reads the scripture of study that day, to see their dads active in the collecting of the offering, ushering duties, facility maintenance duties, and perhaps preaching duties at church are worth a million bucks in the spiritual formation of your boys transition into manhood.

Unfortunately, not all churches are looking for the men in their church to be active participants in the Sunday service, and if this is the case where your family worships, go to the elders with some ideas and share your desire to be active in the Sunday morning celebration; from my experience, they'll thank you for it!

My family attends a family integrated church in Northwest Indiana, and over the years my boys have been able to see me be involved in several different ways. Some ways I've helped there is in the area of: music (running the sound system), technology (running the church website), teaching (leading a bi-weekly group after service), preaching (when pastor on vacation), ushering (collecting offering and with communion), building and ground maintenance, preparing church bulletin on weekly basis, organizing small conferences, and so on - and my reason for saying this isn't too brag in any way, it's simply to say there are many ways you can be involved and allow your boys to see what men do in church.

Teach your boys that men don't go to church to be served by others, but rather, men go to church to serve others. Men aren't to be lazy in their Sunday morning experience, but rather, men should feel a sense of spiritual exhaustion on Sunday evening, knowing that they served with all their heart, souls, strength and minds. You're not going to meet a quota and check off 'go to church' on your to do list; you're going to worship the Most High God who has called you to a life of servitude.

Church isn't a place where old ladies, moms, and children go while dad stays home watching sports - it's a place where the children of God gather, Jesus Christ is worshiped, and men express their manhood through servant leadership. The bible calls men to be leaders in the church, in the home, and in society. Men should groom themselves to be Elders whether they ever become one or not, and they should set before their sons the noble calling of becoming a biblically qualified Elder as well.

Doug Wilson says the following in Future Men: 
"Boys should able to see masculine leadership throughout the life of the church. From the pulpit, to the session of elders, to the choir, boys should be able to see men they respect. They should not see what is too often the case--missing men or silent men just along for the ride. When men go to church simply to sit in the back, they are teaching their boys to do exactly the same thing, if that.

Such coasting is easy to do, and when it is done long enough, it is even easier to drift away from the faith entirely. This means that little boys should be present in the worship of God early in their lives, and they should receive ongoing training throughout their boyhood. Church should never be "easy" in the sense of requiring no commitment to discipleship."

Raise 'em well!


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