There’s nothing quite like showing up at church only to turn around and immediately leave again.
The megachurch that God has us attending was holding a megaservice today to celebrate the opening of their renovated sanctuary. (Hey, they got rid of the asbestos, so it’s a good thing.) The parking lot was filled to the brim so much that the parking troops forced us to park in what felt like another county. There were so many people walking in I thought it was an Abercromie + Fitch model convention.
And we go in…and we go to the boy’s classrooms…and then we turn right around and leave.
(Note: the church did send out an e-mail to parents there would be no classes for the teens today and they would be in the main service. It went to my spam folder. So I’m not blaming the church our not knowing this ahead of time. That’s on me.)
Anyone who’s followed this blog for a while knows about Eli and that Eli has quirks. One of them is that he doesn’t like the Sunday Morning Rock N’ Roll Worship Time that so many churches have these days. When the rock and roll starts to flow, he gets a little irritated and off-kilter about half the time. Usually we have an iPad or something to calm him down after the music ends and he stops holding his ears, but then we get complaints from people and once even asked to leave a church because it bothered people he had an electronic device.
So I knew it was no-go this morning. There was no way Eli was sitting quietly through a rock show and then sermon.
So back to the house we went.
And I was angry. Not necessarily about the students being put into the main service, because I can understand their pride in their new sanctuary and desire to celebrate God provided the funding for it without debt. But more because A) Eli missed out on a chance to learn about Jesus; B ) Dale lost out on a chance to learn about Jesus and C) I lost out on a chance to learn more about Jesus.
All 3 of us had to miss worship and classes. Had the church provided a room for the special needs members of the youth who can’t handle the regular service, that wouldn’t have happened. Dale would have been fine, I would have been fine and Eli would have been fine. (Dale & I talked Jesus on our own, so he didn’t go without anything today. But that’s not fellowship and sharing with other kids his own age…which, then again, wouldn’t have happened anyway since he was in the main service.)
I keep instilling in them the importance of church even though to be honest churches have basically been ineffective for my walk with Christ. They need to know they need to meet with other Christians because that’s what the Bible says. So they get it once every two weeks when they come here.
And I get it once a week. Because I work nights, all the “small groups” offered by the church are out. I get Sundays. So when something like this happens, I don’t get any fellowship or really connection with anyone else for a full week.
And after the week I had, with the struggles, burdens and spiritual warfare, I needed the oasis of being able to just lay it down and corporately worship. Instead, I get to head back home to another week alone.
And my boys get zero church for a span of almost a month.
But this isn’t a blog of complaint or pointing fingers. No, I typed that to type this:
Please keep special needs families in mind when you change something in your church routine.
If you’re going to cancel the student’s classes and throw them in the main service, have something for the special needs families other than the option to just go back home. Set up one class where the special needs kids and be for the week so their parents can have an hour to worship and/or learn in a Sunday School class. So that the other siblings can go and participate without having to leave because of their brother or sister.
Special needs families are usually the last ones thought of and the last ones cared for in today’s country club style churches.
Make sure your church is that beacon for Christ on Sunday mornings where the special needs parent can find rest.