Saturday, July 21, 2012

Is This Kids Church Coloring Page More Tragic or Funny?

This is an actual children's coloring page my wife found online (she leads children's ministry for our church). It's title: Resisting Temptation.

I'm not sure if it's more tragic or funny. This drawing warns our children of the evil path in life, which includes swimming pools and swing sets. And it encourages them to  live as a true Christian: avoiding fun and attending services at your local church.

Note 1: This children's ministry website has provided many other wonderful coloring pages for us. How this one slipped in, I don't know, but the rest of the site is great.

Note 2: There's no special significance in the "Baptist" title of that church. I've seen this mentality (if not this coloring page) in many, many denominations.

Note 3: Though you probably just laughed at the absurdity of this picture, you may have reinforced this same message with your kids. If you've ever required that your family attend church, no matter how tired you are or busy you've been, because that's what good Christians do--and if in that same week you did nothing else with your faith (talk about the Bible, pray for each other, serve someone less fortunate, worship God together, etc)--then you gave the message that the heart of the Christian life is attending services. You inadvertently passed on the message that despite all our rhetoric on Sunday about making a difference in the world, the fundamental Christian duty is attending services (and if you're very committed, tithing 10% to that church, of course). The other items are icing on the cake.

I'm not against attending services. The Bible does challenge us to "not forsake gathering together" (Hebrews 10:24-25). And I'm not saying that skipping church during a busy week helps your kids. I'm concerned about how our focus on church services has dominated our concept Christian living. We've become comfortable with a Christian life that includes only service attendance.

Hold on, Scott. Better a little something than nothing at all, right? At least we're going to church regularly. Actually, Jesus said to the church in Revelation 3:15-16:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

God would rather you be cold than be comfortable with a passive Christian routine. He might prefer you stop attending altogether and face the fact that your relationship with Him isn't a real priority in your life. He might be disturbed to see you keep coming to church week after week, doing nothing else, and patting yourself on the back.

We find this coloring page funny precisely because it hits close to home. (There's a nugget of truth in every joke that works--that's what makes them funny.)

Is your church inoculating you from real engagement by implying that Sunday services are the primary responsibility you have as a Christian? (Think about what they do as much as what they say from the pulpit.)

If you'd like to learn more about what a totally different approach to Christian living can look like (and it's not about being more busy at more church services or giving more money to missionaries) check out my book at Amazon or email me for a free e-book copy at

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