How to Teach Your Kids About the Body of Christ

October 25, 2022

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Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello, friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast, where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the kids that God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and I'm thrilled that you've joined me for another episode today. Now, today's question says, how do we explain and help our children engage with the Body of Christ who at the moment is failing to keep its eyes on Jesus? How can we make a difference and turn this around? Well, that's a lot of questions packed into one asking how we explain this to our children when the Body of Christ might not be where we think it should be. How do we make a difference and turn this around?

So the first thing I want to say is I think it's really easy in today's world of social media and YouTube and TikTok, where there's just so much noise online from people that we may never even have met or we may know but we don't know that well in person, it's so easy just to get caught up in what's going on online and to become very overwhelmed and to think that the Body of Christ at this moment is failing to keep its eyes on Jesus. This reminds me of the narrative of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 right after he has the big battle with the prophets of Baal in chapter 18 and God shows up in a huge way. Nothing happens to the prophets of Baal, to their altar, and to the bull that's on their altar. And then Elijah soaks his altar and bull with water so that all the wood is soaked and God just comes down with fire that consumes everything on the altar.

And so there's this huge victory, and then Elijah is chased by Jezebel and he just has this moment where he's just exhausted and depressed and he just wants to die, and he just says, "I alone am left. I'm the only faithful prophet in Israel." And God explains to him very graciously, God reveals himself to Elijah and explains what he's going to do, how he is going to come in judgment. And he says, "I will leave 7,000 in Israel, everyone who has not bowed the knee to Baal." And so God is showing that he's coming in judgment, but He also is reminding Elijah that, Elijah, his claim that he was the only one left, that he was the only one faithful to God left in Israel, was not true, that there were 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. And I just think that this is pertinent to our situation when we might be really discouraged by what we see online, maybe even what we see in our community, and just think, "Oh, the Body of Christ is failing to keep its eyes on Jesus."

Well, one thing we need to remember is we need to remember that the Body of Christ is the Bride of Christ and that Christ loves His bride and that He is sanctifying her. And so just as we'd never walk up to a man who is engaged to a woman or a man who is married to a woman and start just talking negatively about that person's fiance or wife, we don't want to just have this negative view of the Body of Christ. Are there some, even sometimes many, who claim the name of Christ but are not living in a way that aligns with scripture? Yes, that is true, but that is not true for everyone who claims the name of Christ. And so I would say, first, in our own hearts, we need to make sure that we don't have this attitude that the Body of Christ is failing. It's hopeless. What can we do to help it? Because you know what. We are not the savior of the Body of Christ. Jesus is the savior of the Body of Christ.

And we need to also remember that there are a lot of good things going on that we might just not be recognizing. So if we want to explain the Body of Christ to our children, what do we need to do? We need to be part of the Body of Christ. So my encouragement is if you're in a position where you're just thinking, "Oh, the church is not being the church. Are there any faithful Christians left?" find a church where the body is not failing to keep its eyes on Jesus. Find a church like this, become covenant members there, and stay committed to that Body of Christ through the good and the bad. Because one thing that we know from a distinctly biblical worldview is that there's going to be conflict within the Body of Christ. If we think that the Body of Christ is just going to be holding hands and singing kumbaya and praises to the Lord, we do not actually have a biblical view of the Body of Christ.

Read any of Paul's letters and see just the mountain of problems that were going on within the Body of Christ in the First Century. The different local bodies continually needed correction. But Paul's encouragement was not just to give up, abandon it, just focus on your own personal relationship with Jesus. No, he had corrections to tell those who were in leadership at the church what to do and those who were part of the body what to do. So if we want our children to understand the Body of Christ, we need to find a local Body of Christ that is keeping its eyes on Jesus, that, yes, it has its issues, but it handles those issues biblically. And you may be thinking, "Elizabeth, where am I going to find a Body of Christ like that around me?" Well, I don't know. I don't know what area of the country or the world you're living in, but I would say one thing that we don't do a good job of, especially here in the United States, is actually making finding a local Body of Christ a priority when we consider where we live.

Now, for someone like me, who is single, it's much easier to actually feel the weight and the necessity of becoming part of the Body of Christ. Just a little over a year ago, I lived just outside of Chicago where last year I moved down to the South, and it was very clear that the Lord was opening up the doors for me to move. But before I moved, I didn't look for a house. I didn't look for close friends. I didn't look for my favorite grocery store chain. What I looked for was a Body of Christ and said, "Where can I find a local body who is faithfully preaching God's word and sitting under that teaching weekly, who's actually being the body where in the Body of Christ, Jesus makes clear in the Gospels that the family of God trumps blood relationships, that those who are connected by the blood of the lamb are more intimately intertwined than those who are connected by physical blood and similar DNA?"

And so I waited until I found a church that I knew that I could be part of that would actually be functioning as the Body of Christ. And then once I found that church, then I looked for a house in that area. And I think sometimes when people are married with children, sometimes the need for the Body of Christ is just the same as with a single person like myself, but that need might not be felt as heavily just because you have people in your households who are meeting different relational needs on a daily basis. But even if you are married and you have children, you need the Body of Christ in the same deep and intimate way that I as a single person do. I was just having a conversation at church with someone yesterday. I was singing on the Worship Team, and as a team, we were having a conversation, and our worship leader was saying, "Oh, it is so good to be back at church."

And I said, "Well, what do you mean by that?" And he and his family had been on vacation for the week before and they had missed two Sundays, and he's like, "We just need the Body of Christ. We need believers speaking into our life. We need believers speaking into our marriage. We need believers encouraging us and admonishing us in the Word." And I thought, "Wow, what a gift to be part of a Body of Christ where the believers understand their need for one another, that we're not just these lone ranger Christians or these lone ranger families who happen to come together to praise and worship the Lord and sit under the teaching of His word on a Sunday, that we're actually a body that understands we need one another in a really deep and daily way." Now, if you're thinking, I have never been part of a church community like this and I would have no idea how to even go about looking for a church community like this, I would encourage you to read the book, Nine Marks Of A Healthy Church.

It's a really good book that just outlines when you're looking at a church, how do you tell if this church is healthy? How do you tell if this church is actually being the body? Because a lot of times what happens is we'll go to a church and we'll "try it out" see if it seems healthy. We'll read their statement of faith. We'll get involved. And then six months in we realize, ooh, I didn't see that, or I didn't see this, or I didn't understand this. The Nine Marks book really just goes through nine checklists of, how do you tell if a church is a healthy church? I also recommend the book, The Gospel Comes With A House Key. In that book, Rosaria Butterfield just really outlines what biblical hospitality looks like, what it looks like to be the Body of Christ. And if you're interested in more information about that, a couple months ago, Rosario Butterfield was actually on a Foundation Worldview webinar where we talked about raising kids in a home with biblical hospitality, so highly recommend you check that out.

But just be very intentional about the church that you are involved in, that you are actually in a church that is being the body. And if you are convicted that the church you're currently part of is not being the body and God has called you to stay there and help change things, I would just admonish you, just be the body even if no one else around you is. Be the body even if no one else around you is because, as you start doing that, other people are going to notice. And I just had this conversation with my small group leader and his wife. We call small groups "missional communities" at my church. And my missional community leader is actually one of the elders at our church. And I was just talking with him and his wife, who's a really good friend of mine, just about their journey of joining this church. And they just do such a great job of fostering genuine biblical community.

They're just there for everyone in the church who needs them in real life ways. And I know that there's so many people at our church who depend on them and who just love them because of the way that they're intentionally investing in others. Their home is always open, They're constantly serving. They're constantly giving of themselves. And I was talking with them, and I was really almost shocked to find out that when they got married that this was not their typical MO, that they just went to a church where they could come in on a Sunday morning and they spend an hour in the worship service and then they grab their kids and they leave and never really have anything else to do with that church again. Maybe going to a Wednesday evening service or programming, but weren't really actively involved. And then just learning about how when they became part of our church, the church that we now attend, how they were really shocked by the way others in the church were just intentional about being the Body of Christ.

And they said, at first, it annoyed them because they didn't want responsibilities other than Sunday morning and maybe an occasional Wednesday evening. But as the Body of Christ around them was just consistently functioning as the Body of Christ, that the Holy Spirit started to convict them of just how they weren't viewing the Body of Christ in a biblical way. And I mean, now, four or five years later, there's no way that I would know unless they told me that this hasn't just been their typical daily life of just investing in the body. And I know it's not easy, and I know there's times where it's really, really difficult for them and times where they probably just wish they could have their lives to themselves a little bit more, but, honestly, it is just the most beautiful thing to watch.

And I've even been challenged just to look at, how do I view the Body of Christ? How am I laying down my life on a daily basis for the brothers and sisters who I'm in fellowship with? And I have been challenged and encouraged, and I've grown a lot just by their example. So be the Body of Christ even if no one else around you is. I mean, just some practical thoughts, have people over for dinner at least twice a month. Sit down with your spouse and say, "Okay, we want to practice being the Body of Christ. Who can we have over for dinner?" And just start that habit where you're consistently having people over until it just becomes a regular part of life. I know another couple in my church, the wife grew up in a home where her parents were consistently practicing biblical hospitality and her husband did not, and her husband is more of an introvert.

And so in the beginning when she was like, "Let's have this couple over, let's have that couple over," her husband was like, "Oh, I don't know. I'm kind of tired after I come home from work." But as they continued to practice hospitality, soon her husband started being the one to recommend, "Hey, what if we had them over? We haven't met them. What if we invited them over?" Okay, so start opening up your home. Just make a goal twice a month. Maybe one day it'll turn into once a week or even twice a week. Just another practical thing, babysit. Find a young mom in your church who's just tired. Find a couple with multiple kids who really just needs a date night. Invite those kids over to your house. Whether you have kids of your own or whether you're single or you're married without kids, just be intentional about babysitting.

That's one of my favorite things to do, is after church on a Sunday, to just take some people's kids with me home and I'll feed them lunch, we'll play for a while, and then after a couple hours, I'll bring them home when it's nap time so that their parents can have time just to connect, to relax, to get stuff done around the house. Be intentional about babysitting. Bring lunch over weekly to a mom of littles. Find someone who has kids a similar age as you and might be lonely or might be struggling. Find a mom who just had a baby and is struggling with postpartum depression, and just once a week set up time to just bring lunch over. It doesn't need to be fancy. I do this with one of my friends at church who has a little one and can't get out much. Once a week, it's not fancy. Just make a salad, make a sandwich, and bring it over, and just spend time together.

Mow someone's a lawn. I'm really not that great at yard work, and I travel a lot, I'm on the road, and there's a family in my church that sometimes they'll just come over without me even knowing it and they'll mow the lawn for me. I'll come home from a trip and it will be such a blessing that instead of coming home to overgrown grass, I'm like, "Oh my goodness, my lawn has just been mowed." Find someone in your church who's sick, make a meal for them. And just be the Body of Christ even if no one else around you is. And as you do these things, as they become a regular part of your family's life, your eyes will naturally be fixed on Jesus and your children will understand what it means to be part of the Body of Christ. And this is what helps them understand the truth and the goodness and the beauty of the biblical worldview.

Well, that's a wrap for today. But as always, as we leave our time together, my prayer for you is that God would bless you as you continue to intentionally disciple the children that He's placed in your care. I'll see you next time.

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