What does Jesus think about extracurricular activities?

I scroll Facebook a couple times a day, just like everybody else. And, I see things, just like everybody else, that I want to share because they’re funny or thought-provoking. But, sometimes I come across something that makes my thumb stop and my brain say, “…what?!” Therefore, the “Facebook ain’t always right” series was born.

When I had the idea for this series months ago, I started saving things from Facebook that made me stop and think, truly think, about whether they were founded in Scripture or if they were material that made for good preaching but bad theology.

Something I’m seeing time and again is the idea that allowing your children to participate in sports and extracurricular activities on days that are historically held as church days is equivalent to teaching them that those things are more important than church.

My sister and I were both on the cheerleading team in middle and high school. Middle school football games were on Wednesday nights when I was a pre-teen. Thankfully, my parents understood that a very short middle-school football season was not going to nullify my salvation and all the teaching I received in church on Sundays because I went to a football game on a Wednesday night. I’m grateful for that. And, if I remember correctly, my Mama took some flak for it. Not many people intimidate my Mama, so she let a lot of it roll off her back. Thankfully, she had some sound teaching from a former pastor’s wife who knew the Word and had wisdom.

See, this is the linchpin: my sister and I were taught about the Word in our home; my parents didn’t rely on the church to do that job for them. Because of that, if we missed six weeks of Wednesday night church, it wasn’t detrimental. Why? Because our parents taught us that our relationship with Jesus was deeper and broader than a church service or a gathering place.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Church was important in my upbringing, and I will forever be grateful for that. It framed so much of who I am and who I will always be. It’s still important; corporate worship can’t be replicated. But, devotions at home and turning off the TV to play worship music at home are also lessons my Mama taught me that I’ll never forget. Getting the Word into your heart and your soul is not only done in the four walls of a church. Learning about who Jesus is as a young child can’t be contained to Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study.

When I decided to do this series, I asked my friend Neal Jackson to weigh in on these topics with me for two reasons:
1. He’s knowledgeable in the Word.
2. He has a Kingdom mindset.

Here’s his take.

[We are] 2000 years removed from the cross of Christ and we Christians still hold onto the belief that God is limited to a building once a week. An interesting thing happened when Christ was going to the cross that I’d like to share, though it’s interpretation may seem controversial to some. Jesus, on His way to the cross, told His disciples, “I am going to prepare a place for you that where I AM, you may be also.” Of course that’s often relegated to a future heaven, but I believe Jesus spoke in the present tense for a special reason. Those that are in Christ are always in Christ. We are where He is because He prepared a place for us in the house of His Father. It may not be popular to say, but contrary to what this [ideology] implies, If we deify the church building at the expense of time with our family, we’ve missed the reason for our calling in a big way, and yes, even if that time spent was during the Superbowl.

My point, in case it got lost, was that we are the church, the ones in whom the Spirit of God lives, so providing our eyes are on Him in everything we do, we never actually miss church.

N. Jackson

I’d follow that up, but what else is there?

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