Kids, kids, kids.
It's back to school time. Is your church a great place for kids? As a church leader, there are few things that make me smile bigger than when someone is upset because a kid broke something in church. Kids break stuff. And I love kids in church.
I visited a town in West Virginia in one of the poorest counties in the U.S. Back in the heyday of the coal industry, this town had a main street to rival New York City. There were musicals and restaurants, and rows and rows of Model T's cruising through. But now it is a shell of its former self.
The best church in town back then was First Presbyterian. The Men's Bible Study alone had over 700 involved. But when I visited for worship, six people gathered. Six. Total.
Then I visited another church in town that seemed to be thriving. The pastor had grown up there. He remembered being a coal-miner's son and what it had felt like to walk into First Presbyterian back then. "I was scared to touch anything! It was like a museum. Just walking in on the red carpet made me feel like I was in the wrong place."
When this pastor took a church in town, he told the elders "Here's the deal. I'll pastor this church. But it's gonna be loud; it's gonna be messy; and there's gonna be a lot of kids."
I looked around. It was loud. It was messy. And there were a lot of kids! It was a church with a future brighter than its past.
How's your church with kids? Do you love it when kids make a mess in your church? Do you love resetting hinges on doors and patching drywall, cleaning up mud and replacing broken windows? When a church cares more about its carpet than it does about the soul of a six-year old, its over. Pack it up.
Kids break stuff. Get them in your church fast. Maybe some stuff just needs to get broken.