“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.”

Like virtually every other family I know, we have wrestled with the concept of church (small “c”) and church attendance.  It has been one of the more discouraging journeys over the last decade or so.  Several of the people I work with are working through the same challenges in their families.

I am working on the vision for a client’s business.  I met first with him and his wife to get the vision for their family.

  • Leadership clarity leads to organizational clarity.
  • Organizational vision should serve your personal vision.

It takes long into the conversation before we are tiptoeing through this minefield.

What I found was beautiful alignment and a deep desire for similar things.  There was a clear picture of what they wanted the life of God to look like for their family, ministry, culture, community, generational alignment, and the heart of their children.  The challenge rested entirely on how they would find that life.

In particular, it had to do with the role that church would play in fulfilling that life of God in their family.  I feel like the Father brought powerful discernment as I was preparing for that conversation and as we worked through the issue.

Church is simply one of the ingredients.

Finding the recipe that produces a great meal, often involves a lot of trial and error and includes varying amounts of different ingredients.  For every taste, the perfect meal requires a differing amount of sweet, savory, and acidity.  So does combining the right recipe of inputs to result in the life God intended for your family.

The way you approach this issue is determined by every day you have lived and everything you have experienced in your life up to that point.  And it is different for EVERYONE.  We all approach this weighty issue with a set of biases, needs, concerns, prejudices, etc.

As we started to connect the desire of he and his wife’s heart with all the incredible ingredients already in the recipe of the life of God in their family, it did several things:

  • They realized that they were walking with God in significant ways already
  • What they were hoping for from the ingredient of “church” was not realistic
  • That unrealistic expectation of church was driving a lot of disappointment
  • Traditional Sunday church attendance would likely be part of the solution, but not the entire solution
  • The tremendous amount of guilt they were carrying around in relation to this issue was not from the heart of God

He and I met for a follow-up meeting to start constructing his company’s vision (a clear picture of the future).  He was lighter and easier.  He said all the anxiousness around that issue had been diffused.  They had attended a church, accepted the ingredient it offered, had appropriated it in their recipe, and had a really great experience.

Church is simply one of the ingredients.


  • Are you satisfied with your “church” experience?
  • Are your expectations unrealistic for what that simple weekly gathering should offer?
  • Are you clear about the life of God you want your family or business to have?
  • Have you appropriated church as simply one of the ingredients and not the only one?