Children’s Ministry Parenting Uncategorized

Is Church Attendance Important?

This is the house where I grew up in a little town called Anaconda, Montana, population 4000. (Our school mascot was a Copperhead – yes, it’s true, we were the Anaconda Copperheads. Can you guess what our gym was named? The “Snake Pit” of course!)

There is nothing extraordinary about this house except for the fact that it was two houses down from this building – Grace Baptist Church.

This is the church I grew up in. Nothing kept my family from being there every time the doors were open; not rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor venomous snakes roaming the streets.

Anyway, on to the point of this post:
At Grace Baptist Church, children were given Sunday School Pins every year if they attended a certain number of Sundays during that year.
Now you may be asking, what was the magical number of Sundays you had to attend? The answer is 50. Yes, I said that right – if you came 50 out of 52 Sundays, you would be the proud owner of that years Sunday School Pin. (Now there were ways to get around this. For example, if you were sick you could be excused if you brought a note from your Doctor. Or, if you were out of town, you could be given attendance credit if you brought back with you a bulletin from the church you attended while you were away. Other than that, your bum had to be in a seat on Sunday morning.)

Knowing this seemingly insane number of Sunday’s needed to get a pin, how many Sunday School Pins do you think my sister and I received from Grace Baptist Church while growing up?

No, not zero.

We received one every year we were eligible…18 in all.

Now, I wish I could say I can take credit for that, but I can’t. In fact there were many times I wasn’t that thrilled about going to church. Sometimes I was even dragged (usually on Sunday nights when I had to miss the end of Walt Disney’s Magical World of Color). But my parents, Larry and Sue, knew the value of regular church attendance and they made the decision that they would orbit our family’s life around the church. Because of this I was able to learn about compassion, integrity, courage, faithfulness, obedience, generosity and many other Biblical leadership qualities. Qualities that helped me avoid a lot of mistakes in life. For that, all I can say, is thank you mom and dad!

But what I learned at Grace Baptist Church is only part of the great gift my parents gave to me. The other part of the gift is something that both my sister Becky and I have strived to give our own children…a love for the local church. This is a great gift because it is through the local church that our children’s lives will be transformed and through it they will in turn be given the opportunity to transform the lives of others.

Now, don’t get me wrong, orbiting your life around the local church is not a magical formula for raising your children with success. But it’s close! And here’s the cool part. Orbiting your family’s life around the local church hardly costs anything – just one hour a week.

Oh, before I go. I was looking through some old pictures awhile back and I stumbled across this one below.

It’s a picture of my dad (on the left) when he was 18 years old. He is standing on the corner of the church he grew up in…Grace Baptist Church in Anaconda, Montana (you can see that very corner in the foreground of the picture above). And here’s the part I love..if you look really close you can see that he is proudly wearing something on his lapel. Guess what it is? 18 Sunday School Pins.

Thats the legacy that was passed down to me. What legacy regarding church are you giving your child? Remember, it’s never too late to start.

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  • Reply
    Jim Swink
    May 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    You are so right being in church does not guarantee great kids, but having parents and kids with like values and goals has given our kids an advantage. When they go through tough times, there is a built in support from the kids around them and other adults who are willing to speak God’s truth into their lives at critical moments. Being at the church when the “doors are open” shows by action what we as parents value and builds strong spiritual connections through Christ with our kids through the power of shared experience.

  • Reply
    Mom and Dad
    May 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Loved this Mike…Dad had tears streaming down his face! God receives all glory for what he has done in your and Becky’s lives. Just proud He.chose Dad and I to be your Mom and Dad ! Great memories of you kids growing up in good ole Anaconda! Loved the humor you used 😉

  • Reply
    Jason Miller
    May 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Pastor Mike,

    Love the blog you wrote my man! My wife and I have met you a couple times at some children’s conferences (one in Tennessee and one in Florida). We always get a photo with you when we see you. You do a great work for the Lord Jesus brother, and we appreciate that! Our kids in children’s church are glued to you when you are on the screen. The curriculum is very good and it makes our ministry a whole lot easier as it sets the stage for us to come up and minister to the kids. Appreciate you and keep up the great work!!!

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