“He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
– Psalm 78:5-7
I accepted Christ as my Savior in 7th grade. My mom and step-dad had faithfully been taking me to church since I was in the 5th grade and I enjoyed being at church because it was fun getting mixed up in different shenanigans with my friends. I remember during bible study one night, I slapped a girl (who would later become my dear friend) and as I tried to flee the scene, her brothers pinned me up against a window…hard… which ended up breaking the window. Don’t worry our youth pastor fixed it!
As time passed, the church experienced a split and slowly my friends began to dwindle down to one. I, unfortunately, was simultaneously dealing with some really hard times at home as my family was also splitting apart. By the time high school rolled around I had established deep into my school community of friends and in the marching band. That was the community I belonged to and I would visit the church from time to time. Looking back, the people speaking into my life at church were my pastor (Pastor Bob), my youth pastor’s wife (Shannon Clifton) and a former youth leader (Julie Manriquez). 3 people. Three people would ask how I was doing and check in from time to time, but this was not enough to keep me in the church. I had become a visitor to the church and did not feel like I belonged.
After I had my first daughter I met with Pastor Bob and told him that I wanted my daughter to have a different experience in the church than I did. I wanted her to have real friends at the church. His question to me was “What are you going to do about it?” It sounds simple but it took me back. I hadn’t really considered how this was in my control and good intentions would not be enough. We can want this for our children but unless we do something about it nothing will change. That was when I decided to get really involved at Green Hills. I desired for my children to have a real sense of belonging to the church but I realized that just bringing them would not be enough.
“We can want this for our children but unless we do something about it nothing will change.”
I got to attend the ELRC Parenting Conference this last week and one thing that they kept repeating was the importance of having 5 people pouring into the life of our kids. They referenced a study that showed, students who had deep and long lasting roots into their faith and faith community typically had 5 people investing in them as they were growing up and those who drifted from the faith usually had 3 or less. See, our kids will find a sense of community and belonging somewhere and they will be visitors everywhere else. Their spiritual foundation must always be the home. We, as parents, need to be teaching them and modeling for them what it means to walk with Jesus and how they can live that out too. But unless we have a tribe behind us, this will likely not be enough to stick. I went to church, my mom taught me the love Jesus but that was not enough. I had 3 people. 3 was not enough.
I know you’re probably thinking “you’re the children’s director! How was it not enough?” Let me tell you! God intervened in a HUGE way! My mom made me go to Biola. For that, I am forever thankful. If not for her push, I have no idea how different my life would look today. Biola thrust me back to the church and back to Lord, coupled with a few tough times along the way. Tough times can be refining but I certainly don’t want to invite additional difficulty for my own girls or anyone else’s kids either!
Church members,…I need your help. I need the help of other faithful followers of Jesus who are willing to pour into the life of my girls. We all need a tribe of other believers pouring into the lives of our kids (and we need at least 5). I think of those giving of themselves to the betterment of my girls and pray that they continue to do so all their lives. I want Kailey and Bella to have their community (family) be that of the church so they become visitors at school, on the sports team, etc…
Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companions of fools, will suffer harm.”
I want my girls to seek wisdom from the people at the church because I know they will speak into them the love of Jesus.
One of the biggest problems for the global church today is that students aren’t staying in the church after high school. We need students to stay and the only way that will happen is if we are investing into the lives of the kids in the church. Not just one or 2 people pouring into them but 5. We need 5 people pouring into their lives.
Parents: Who are the 5 people pouring into the lives of your kids?
Church Members: Who are the kids you are pouring into?
We are losing students all the time to sports, band, school etc. We need to give them a sense of belonging, first, to the church.
What are you going to do about it?