As a vocational children’s minister I have always dealt with the quandary that parents face of putting sports, music, dance, or any other extra curricular activities before church events. To be brutally honest, when it comes to parents choosing between their children’s extra curricular activities or the church, the church oftentimes loses. In stating this I must be completely transparent. As a parent I have also chosen my daughter’s extra curricular activities over the church. Especially if there was an important practice or performance involved.
Please hear me, I’m not a stiff minded and old school children’s minister. I understand that children have many other things in their lives to which they have made commitments. However, I also find it troubling that sometimes parents place every thing out there before the church. As a parent and a children’s minister we must be careful what we choose to place a priority over the church. Essentially, when we habitually place our children’s extra curricular activities over the church we are placing priorities of the world over Christ. I know it’s a tight rope that we walk but we can easily find ourselves slipping and falling by what we teach our children about priorities and the importance of the church and especially Christ in their lives.
I said that to say this. This past weekend our church hosted our annual Children’s Fall Retreat and it was extremely refreshing to hear what one mom had to say about their priorities when it came to their child’s extra curricular activities and this particular church event. Her daughter is a very talented gymnast and competes on a high level. Her daughter had gymnastics the same weekend as our fall retreat. When the girl’s parents dropped her off for the Fall Retreat her mom said something profound about her daughter’s conflict. Her mom said the following when it came to choosing between gymnastics and the Fall Retreat…She said it’s “Christ over gymnastics!” That was extremely refreshing to hear from a parent. I delighted in their decision and especially what brought them to this decision.
Please hear my heart, I’m not indicting parents who choose their children’s extra curricular activities over the church. What I’m trying to communicate is that we as parents need to properly order our kids priorities, because if we won’t the world will.
It’s easy to get caught up in all that our children have going on and it takes discipline to put Christ first. I fully understand we cannot bring our children to every event sponsored by the church. Even so, it was a breath of fresh air to hear this parent vocally express their commitment and priority to Christ.