Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Home church

Posted February 28, 2010

“Why do we have to go to church?” my ten-year-old says as she rolls onto her side and pulls the covers over her head. “Why can’t we just stay here, and you know, home-church, kind of like home-schooling?”

I thought I had heard everything, but this took the cake. I had been given a lot of excuses for why we shouldn’t go to church—I’m too tired, it’s boring, we went last week. But this took the cake—home-church.

It occurred to me that like my fear of home-schooling, I am severely unqualified to home-church. Sure, I grew up going to church and have been going most of my adult life except for that brief gray period in my early twenties, but that doesn’t mean I actually know anything.

I tried to come up with reasons that we can’t stay home, that what we are looking for can only be obtained within the walls of a sanctuary with lots of people around us singing hymns and saying prayers together. But my words sound hollow even to my own ears as they flew out of my mouth in a desperate attempt to change my daughter’s mind.

Ultimately, I demand, threaten and plead until she trudges unwillingly to the car still in her pajamas with her church clothes in hand because we are now running so late. Throughout the service she ignores my gaze, and pulls away when I try to put an arm around her shoulder. Every time my knees go down to pray, I ask God for patience. After the service she runs off to Sunday school without a word, skipping the usual coffee hour treat. Instead of going to adult Sunday school I stay at coffee hour and chat with other mothers of ten-year-old girls. They make me feel like we all share the same struggles. All of sudden, I feel less isolated.

When my daughter comes out of Sunday school, she is suddenly different. She skips, arm and arm with a new friend she has recently made, and asks me if they can have a playdate after church. She tells me that they are excited about going to youth group together later that afternoon.

I smile and breathe deeply for the first time all morning. I have found the answer, even if I can’t put it into words that she will understand.

Community is something you can’t find at home.

Amanda Lamb is a WRAL-TV reporter, mother of two and author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood."


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  • piratepeople2 Mar 7, 2010

    We don't give them a choice as to whether or not they attend school-why let them choose whether or not they go to church?

  • katiebridgette Mar 2, 2010

    Great piece, Amanda. My daughter is not yet 10 but I know where you are coming from and rejoice in the outcome of your morning!

    I have always been a regular church-goer, even in college. It is precious to me, and I want to share that with my children. And it is the relationships that bring us to worship in a particular place, that build that community which is the body of Christ

    Tongue in cheek: Jesus said "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..." - but is it really 'gathering' if live in the same house?

  • ldpardue Mar 2, 2010

    In my view, indoctrinating children into religion is a form of child abuse. It is age-inappropriate. Kids can't understand the intricacies of religion, and they usually find church to be very boring. Let kids be kids! They can decide what they believe about religion when they are old enough to understand the concepts involved.

  • nlj Mar 2, 2010

    Jesus went to homes where people gathered. The idea of a home church isn't so bad. A few families getting together and sharing their faith. perhaps gathering with other home churches once a month or once a quarter.
    i feel lost at church. i'd much rather gather with a smaller group of people - and i don't mean the programatic small groups that are so popular these days.

  • Adelinthe Mar 1, 2010

    A church is not a building, it's a group of people gathered together for one purpose. In the case of Christianity, that's to learn about and worship God through Christ.

    Because one's family is a group, one's home should be a church as well, teaching the way of God by SHOWING family members how God would like for them to act.

    The large gathering is for refreshing and restoring, bringing one back to their spiritual pivot point; the family gathering is for teaching all how to live to love one another and share that with others.

    God bless.


  • SatelliteBgan Mar 1, 2010

    The way I teach my children is: When going to church its “What can I give to the (church) Lord (via worship, praise, etc)?”. When going to Home School its, “What can I get (learn) from the School (Teacher)?”.
    One is giving and one is getting.

  • donna59 Mar 1, 2010

    I'm glad, 1st of all, that you are not ashamed of going to church. I grew up in church, then, like you, had to "run away" from church for a while. When God drew me back in, I learned something. Your church family is exactly that...your extended family. But, unlike some families, you can pray, laugh, and cry with each other; and, most of all, support each other. It is a different kind of family. You found this out when you were having your coffee time. We live from "faith to faith." That means, we learn and grow from each others' examples, struggles, heartaches, mistakes and "growth rings." We learn from each other, expecially through sharing our "testimonies." We lean on each other when nobody else will support us.
    2nd, Our children need mentors. They need other examples. They need support also. (You certainly can't get much support out in the world.) Best of all...we lift our voices up as one and praise the one and only true living God!!!! We are all brothers and sist

  • hurdi98 Mar 1, 2010

    If you cannot tell your children why church is important I question if it's important to you either, or if you even know. You and her both might as well go to the Y! If standing around drinking coffee and meeting a new friend is all there is, you both have missed it! 'Worship the Lord your God with all your might, all your soul, and all your strength'. You may want to approach it with the reference it calls for yourself as an example to her. If it's not joyful and something you look forward to, then why should she? Check your relationship with Jesus Christ before you go any further pushing her into hers.

  • catwoman1 Mar 1, 2010

    I actually do home church my son who is bipolar. Jesus did say we are to come as a child into the fellowship so for people who think they aren't as knowledgeable as a minister, you just teach the basics. It can be a challenge for an adult to dig deeper into the scriptures in order to answer the many questions that kids have, but that's where I find the most enjoyment. A good study bible is essential. I do have outside fellowship with other Christian adults, just not in a church building setting. I think my child has actually learned more with this one-on-one type of teaching and he doesn't feel ostracized by other teens who despite the fact they're in church, they can stil be cruel and unaccepting. This has acttually happened several times. Some people like us just don't fit in.

  • wenfromwake Mar 1, 2010

    That's great Amanda. Answered prayer.