Helping Children to Esteem the Church

By Mike McHugh, August 5, 2011 2:38 pm

A great deal has been written in recent years regarding the need to re-unite the family and the church. This plea should come as no surprise to anyone who has taken the effort to notice how much the modern church has been influenced by secular culture, and how little time is spent by parents to give young people a biblical view of the church. Leaders in the home education community such as Doug Phillips, as well as popular Christian speakers like Ken Ham, have openly addressed the fact that an unprecedented number of children from God-fearing households are electing to leave the church. The growing problem of young people from Christian homes feeling alienated from the body of Christ is indeed real, and this negative development must be addressed by parents as well as church leaders without delay.

As a father involved with home education, I have taught my children to view the Bride of Christ as a glorious habitation of God in the Spirit. On a regular basis, I will remind my family members that God Himself loves His church, and so must every true believer, regardless of how those in the world may regard this holy institution at a particular season. It remains my conviction, that those who have been given the spiritual eyes to see the church as God does, will have a high regard for the body of Christ.

I have often encouraged my family to view the Church of Jesus Christ (i.e. the covenant community of believers) as a type of divinely appointed orchestra; one that is truly unique and peculiar. The conductor is the Lord Jesus Christ, the composer is God the Father, and the arranger is God the Holy Spirit. I have used this analogy, as imperfect as it may be, because I want to try to help my children to understand more clearly the marvelous creation that God has made in His church, and how it is that believers can properly discern their place as members of this assembly.  Almighty God is using His people, the visible church, to send a message or sound to a world made deaf by sin, and I want my children to discern how they can best contribute to this glorious work.

The information that follows will explain, at least in some degree, how the church is like an orchestra. It is hoped that this material will be useful to parents who wish to give their children a positive view of the Church.

1. A true orchestra, like a true church, cannot function as it was designed unless all members are in attendance and participate. God will not be content until all of His lost sheep are brought into the church, and so each child of God must maintain a sense of holy urgency to seek the wandering sheep. A study of John 10:14-30, as well as the story of Zacchaeus from Luke chapter 19, remind us that Almighty God is intent on seeking and saving all of His elect children. For this reason, all of God’s people must embrace the heavenly perspective and policy of “no child left behind.”

2. An orchestra, as well as the Church, are both designed to function with people who have a diversity of callings and talents. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 helps Christians to understand that they are members within a very diverse body or community. The members of a local church, just like those who serve in a particular orchestra, must not despise their fellow laborers just because they have a different set of skills or priorities. It is God Himself, after all, who sets or fits each person into the Church as He pleases. Romans 12: 1-13 provides further instruction regarding why a holy God desires His instruments of righteousness to function in a harmonious manner with each other.

3. A Church, just like an orchestra, will only succeed as it functions in a unified manner. God has not merely ordained that His people overcome the world as individuals, rather, He intends that they succeed together. John 17: 1-23 teaches, in part, about the great mystery of the “one and the many.” In other words, the glorious truth regarding how the church exists as one body of Christ, yet having many members. Just as the Trinity or Godhead exhibits both unity and diversity without conflict or confusion, so the church is to mirror God’s nature.

4. An orchestra, just like a church, must follow the plan of its composer, and the direction of its conductor with carefulness and precision. No orchestra will ever achieve greatness, unless every member is committed to following the musical score that is set before him. In a similar manner, members of the Christian church must be willing to respect the genius of their heavenly Composer/Conductor’s plans, or they will cease to be instruments of righteousness. A study of 2 Thessalonians 3: 1-15, will help to underscore this point, as well as to explain how God the Holy Spirit, acting as the heavenly arranger, places each member of the church in their proper place.

5. An orchestra looks peculiar, just as a typical church fellowship often looks rather awkward; yet they both have the potential to send forth a beautiful sound. The church is a wonderful example of how God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. 1 Peter 2: 1-10 provides followers of Christ with a solid understanding of how the church is God’s special and peculiar creation, a building not made with hands. This passage, and others, help all of God’s children to recognize that God is intent on using His meek and peculiar people to overcome the world to the glory of King Jesus. The duty of Christian parents is, therefore, to prepare their children to be able to contribute a sound each day as the messengers of God that harmonizes well with the Gospel.

What we as parents teach our children about the church is important, for it will greatly influence their attitudes and actions regarding Christ’s Kingdom for generations to come. If we fail to raise children who can esteem the vital work of the Christian church, we will be guilty of raising up people who are only capable of sending forth a noise for the Master that is as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor. 13:1).

May Almighty God be pleased to use the message contained in this article to encourage home educators to take the time to give their youngsters a Christ-honoring view of the church. Certainly, few subjects are of greater importance to the cause of Christ at this point in the twenty-first century.

Michael McHugh
Copyright 2011

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