“Is tomorrow church day?” My 6 year old asked me this as we were getting ready for bed on a Saturday night. While I am pretty sure kindergarten has taught him the days of the week, he still just refers to days either as school days or church day. I am not sure how he classifies Saturday. He asks me this most Saturday nights and some Friday nights. And on those Saturday nights I tell him, “Yes, tomorrow is church day. We will wake up and we will go to church.”
For now, he likes church. He likes his kids' class where they learn about different stories in the Bible. He likes the crafts that they do. He likes to dress up and play with the other kids. I am pretty sure he likes getting the donuts that our church has every Sunday the best of all, though. He will grab a disposable coffee cup and fill it with the free donut holes. If you don’t watch him he might get a few cups worth of donut holes before service.
But I hope that this pattern in our lives settles deeper than just right now. I hope that Sundays being church days becomes an ingrained part of who he is. The patterns that are set at an early age can be patterns that will run throughout someone’s life. That is my prayer for my son and daughter. That the pattern of weekly worshiping with a fellowship of believers becomes the norm and that not do so would be weird and unthinkable to them.
I know that when they get older there could be more of a fight to get them to church. But once again, maybe the pattern that we have ingrained in them will help us. Maybe a pattern where there is no doubt about where we go on Sundays will make them not question it even if they are not feeling it. Maybe this pattern in our family will help us continue to get our family to church. When they think there is no other option, they might not push against it. If they do push against it, the pattern of behavior is on our side.
Before I know it I will be sending my children off into the world. Whether to college or into adulthood and their career, they will be heading out to forge their own path. I hope that this pattern stays with them. That they go to college and make a point to attend church on a Sunday. That they move to a new city and look for a church that they can invest in and feels like a fit. I desire them to know the value of the local assembly of believers. I desire for them to cherish walking with a church and sitting under its teaching. I desire them to grow in their walk with Christ through the investment of a local body of believers.
It can all start with that pattern. The pattern that we are living right now. There is more to it than just the pattern, but the pattern sets us up and supports the truth. The pattern augments the texts that point us to the theological truth that drive home the need for being connected to the local body.
So set the pattern. You might slip here and there. But set the pattern and continue in it.