I was having a conversation this morning with my wife, Andrea, and one of our worship team leaders, Jessica. We were talking about how it's a struggle for young families to get to church sometimes, especially during the baby and toddler seasons of life. And when you're leading a team, leading a church, or leading a family, it can make church feel more like an obligation and a task rather than an opportunity and a joy.
As the leader of a fast-growing church where numbers seem to be a big deal - and they are, because every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God - I want you, our Afreshers, to hear me say to you that I see you, I hear you, I love you, and I believe in you.
Our church is filled with young (and older) families, and we have a large percentage of single parents and families with small children. I know church attendance is most of the time a burden for you. I know that it's a struggle to chase a child around and attempt to keep them from screaming if they didn't want to go to kids church that day. I know it's easier to just stay at home during this season and come back when the children are a little older. I know you can feel guilty from not attending every time you're able on Sundays. I see you (even when you're not there), I hear you (even though you're struggling to express it), I love you (especially in this season), and I believe in you (and what you're accomplishing at home).
I want you to hear me say to you: It's ok that you are not at church during this season. Don't feel guilty; feel chosen by God to take on the task of raising children and empowered to accomplish it, supported by your church, especially when you're at home. We are dedicated to providing a solid live stream experience that auto-archives itself on YouTube and Facebook so that you can catch it at your convenience, even if it's Friday afternoon during nap time - especially if it's Friday afternoon during nap time. We even take an extra step to create an audio podcast version so you can just listen while you're multi-tasking. As much as we value your presence, we value you as a person even more. So whether you are in-house, tuning in live online, or just tuning in on a Thursday morning for 10 minutes of audio, we value you and thank you for being a part of our church family. Thank you for those few minutes, and thank you for giving to your family first. You are the perfect representation of Who Jesus is and why Afresh exists. You matter to God, you are valued by Afresh, and you belong here.
So although you may not be included in the official numbers of the weekend attendance count, you are the very heart of Afresh, and we count it an honor to have you in our family.