Warning: this will be rant-ish.
Know how churches don’t like that families and church no longer come first? How it is hard to get the typical family to church more than once a month?
The socio-economics of the situation are tricky, with little national health care and extremely expensive daycare it is difficult to have the time/money to invest in church. Either you are a stay at home mother/father with no extra funds or time or your one of two full time working parents who don’t have enough time to see your children and take them to all the extra-curriculars they “should” be doing.
The socio-economics are crazy, because most people can’t work a regular 9-5 job and are in and out of the house at crazy times working crazy hours.
Plus who knows if you’ll have that job or even be able to live in that city in 1 or 2 or 3 years from now.
Not to mention that most young families can barely afford to have a house or to not put in crazy extra hours or to work multiple jobs including babysitting or whatever other odd jobs they can find.
This is the reality.
So…understand, when churches do not support their staff taking care of their family. Whether it be to go to a family funeral, take care of a personal illness or to take maternity/paternity leave, that we are contributing to the very socio-economic problem we complain about day in and day out. Families who cannot take the time to take care of one another, who have to work instead of putting their family first, will have trouble making it to church.
Pastors are one of such staff…pastors are always on call, do not work 9-5, oft have to make meetings that cause delays of or missing of putting their children to bed. The hours are haphazardly put together depending on the congregation’s needs. Its a flexible job in some ways and very stringent in others.
Some typical (although not absolute) examples: if someone is ill, dying or in extremis you must be there…you may take sick days…as long as they are never when you are scheduled to preach
I know churches can ill-afford pastors, maybe its time to borrow other pastors, pay the choir director a little more or use a lay leader. Maybe its time to do a daily prayer service instead of a formal “traditional” service.
But if we can ill-afford pastors we absolutely CANNOT afford to not take care of those in need in our church…Think about that for a minute…the church claiming they can’t afford to take care of children and ill-ones…..
Thus: We can’t say we want more families to come to church–and then not support our families. We can’t claim to be choosing God’s path and then not take care of our sick and our little ones.
(feel free to read paragraph above a couple of times)
Do we need an act of Congress to do the right thing?
I think we can do better.