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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Members of Christ's body

Parents & adults model what that means

How do youth stay interested and active in a church environment? They have plenty of competing interests with myriad sporting events, school clubs, family responsibilities and social functions. That question has interested me in recent years, so I've observed families. One stands out.

The children, now 20, 23 and 25, were all quite active in the congregation growing up. They participated in just about every church function, from tag sales to serving dinner at the local soup kitchen. As young children they helped their parents at these events. As they got older they found their own avenues for involvement, whether it was singing in a choir, playing an instrument, baking cookies for a bake sale, chatting with the elderly or washing tables after a potluck dinner. When the daughters grew too old for the children's choir, they moved to the adult choir even though there were years between them and the youngest adult member.

One evening when my husband and I served dinner at the soup kitchen with the family, I told the mother how impressed I was with her children and their involvement. I asked her what she'd done to foster such commitment. Her answer was modest and simple: "I think it's because we, as parents, have always done these things beside our children. We've never required them to do something that we wouldn't also do."


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