Friday, February 09, 2007

What Are We Committed To?

Tonight we will be going to our church's marriage retreat. This event has been on the church calendar for a long time, so I am somewhat disappointed that more couples have not made this a priority. We had so envisioned couples in our church coming together to commit themselves to helping each other battle Satan. I'm sure that the Lord will still use those who do come, and we will have a great weekend. But it is discouraging.

We live in a difficult time for churches. One of the great challenges as a church leader is trying to get "continuity" with any theme or goal. After all, today priority to church is way down people's priority list. Imagine the challenge of a youth minister trying to plan a retreat so that the youth group can share a common goal. When would you plan it? Fall? No way! How dare you consider interfering with football? OK. Let's try spring. Are you kidding? There's baseball and track. Winter? No, there are the holidays. Summer? Well, no. We have to work. And then, there are the family vacations (Anytime you mention "family" -- that trumps church commitment today).

It used to be that at least Sunday was set aside for "church." Not anymore. Now, youth sports and activities has even trumped the Lord's Day.

And we wonder why our churches aren't growing.

That's my vent for the week.


Kyle R. said...

We will have a great weekend! And I believe God will bless all those who are attending.

Since you brought it up. I've been thinking about the same thing for quite a while, myself. And I hope anyone who reads these comments will not interpret them as anger or that I've got my act all together; because I'm not angry, nor do I have it all together. (I, of anyone, desperately need the blood of Jesus). But I, too, am disappointed at times of the level of commitment and follow through of my fellow brothers and sisters.

It seems sometimes that church is just another activity that "we do." Football, baseball, basketball, track, deer season, fishing trips, family vacations, work, and oh yeah, last do a little church, too. I love sports, and I really love to hunt and fish, but in no way do they compare with my love for Jesus and the church. Church is not an activity, its not a place; it's people. People whom the One and Only shed His precious, perfect blood for. How dare me to allow activities and events even be on the same level,much less compete with my commitment to Jesus and His church.

Are games, vacations or trips wrong? Of course not! But only each individual and the Lord can answer if they are becoming idols. And yes, "family" can become an idol too.

Kyle R. said...

I forgot one thing about the marriage retreat. One reason several couples will not go is because the men are afraid.

Yep, the men are afraid!

Jeff said...

Great points we need to think about. You know I wrestle with this in my life. It seems like the decisions should be so easy but I do a good job making them more difficult.
I have come to understand that all I can do is look to see if what I am doing as a disciple is pleasing God. Should I spend more time on mission work or more time with family? Is it OK to visit another church or do I always need to be at my home congregation? Do the people I come in contact with know that God is utmost in my life - no matter what I'm doing?
I think I can speak to a broader audience and say that many of us suffer at times from so much doing - whether it be recreation, business or church activities - that we forget what our service is really about at times.
Giving our all to God has to be my focus. If I am not doing that, wherever I may be, whatever I may be doing, then trouble lurks. If God is my focus, I am confident I will be doing for Him what I need to do.

Jeff said...

while I will be one of those not in attendance this weekend, I know it will be a great blessing to those who are and that you and Beverly will do an incredible job. We are blessed to have you in our family.

randy said...

One couple indicated that price was a killer (wish they'd said something earlier or I'd shown enough empathy to ask as I'm sure we could have collected the funds) and another couple that are fairly new up here said that they couldn't get anyone to watch their children over night.

Afraid? I've mentioned what I'm doing this weekend at work and the guys there are convinced I've found the all time biggest Valentine score in terms of brownie points with Linda. If I had a fear, it would be more along the lines of me failing in my marriage because I didn't take advantage of an opportunity to improve.

I was disappointed in the numbers attending but that doesn't make any difference as to whether we are going. Recent experience with our church family has convinced me that our marriages are fragile plus I work with two guys whose wives left them for other men after 20+ years of marriage. The retreat was beneficial last time and there is not reason to think it will be any less of a good experience this time. My theory is we need to stop doing what doesn't work (doing nothing) and continue with that which is beneficial.

I have gardening, reloading for prairie dog season, and my latest woodworking project to do this weekend. None of those seem to me as good as spending time with my family improving my relationship with the person on earth most important to me.

It'll be a great weekend.

Kyle R. said...


Private message me regarding the money issue for that couple. ( Money will not be an issue. We have some who have volunteered to help with the finances for those who cannot afford it. We thought we got the word out about the financial help for those where that was a concern, but apparently we need to improve on that communication.

As far as the childcare, I'm at a loss for that one.