After being married to a youth pastor for the past 4 years, I’ve come to the realization that Sundays are interesting days. Going to church is not what “going to church” used to be.
As a kid, church meant walking up the stairs, to the narthex, shaking an elder’s hand, and finding our place in the 2nd long pew. Afterwards, you get up from your pew, pick up a cookie or two, and find your group of friends. As I’ve grown up though, I think I’ve started to gain a different perspective of what the “church” is.
First and foremost I think church is going to the Lord’s house and worshiping Him and Him alone. I go to a physical building on Sundays to do that. Though throughout the week, I should be taking what I learned and applying it to my life and still worshiping God daily. As much as the church is a physical building, it is also the fellowship of believers. Meeting together with people of the same beliefs gives me a sense of “homeyness” (can’t think of a better word) and a sense of belonging. I think that’s why Christ and Paul in the Bible also talk often about the fellowshiping with other believers.
To be honest, I sometimes feel for us that church is more the fellowshiping of believers than the actual worshipping of God. That bothers me. Yes we try to connect with as many youth group kids as we can, but it’s never good enough. There are so many people to catch up with that I almost leave church feeling stressed b/c I didn’t get to make all the connections I needed to. Then I question – did I even make the connection with my God? With my Father who is the reason that I even GO to church? How am I supposed to build relationships horizontally if I don’t first build my vertical one? This has just really made me think lately. It’s all about my attitude on how I go into Sundays. I LOVE our youth group kids and all of our friends at church. I would be a lonely person without them :). But I have to remember that Sundays are set apart for God. The fellowshiping can come afterwards. Why do you think they have cookies and punch after church? Sometimes I have a hard time making a distinction between the two!
And after church? For the summer, we play beach volleyball from 1-4 or 5 with our high school and college kids at Silver Beach. It is a BLAST! Relationships are built, encouragement is given, and laughter is constant. It’s so neat to see people who aren’t necessarily athletically inclined to come out, learn the game of volleyball, and after summers of playing, are good. By all means I’m not saying we are pros :), but we just have fun and build friendships – that’s our sole reason for playing. Then after volleyball we have a hour or two break, and then we have college group. We did a book study on “The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness.” It was a blessing to hear the different college kids’ perspectives, experiences, and thoughts on keeping God as the center of academics. And once again, it was also about the fellowship. The book study time would only be for a little while and then it was game time. Even though they are a couple of years younger than us, they bring such joy to us. We consider them our friends. These are both such blessings and we always look forward to these two opportunities for the fellowship of believers.
Sundays are about attitude for me. If I keep the real reason as to why we have a Sunday, I’m all set; but that is easier said than done. As you can see I am still wrestling with trying to figure out our Sundays! Sundays in ministry are just so different than my Sundays growing up! My faith is constantly being worked on and stretched – that’s why I am thankful for God’s grace and understanding!