It starts almost immediately............
Right after we pull out of our beloved family camp in Dunkirk, New York.........
The conversation begins about WHAT WILL WE DO FOR TALENT SHOW NEXT YEAR?!?
And it continues throughout the year.
Just yesterday we were in the car on the way to school and Francesca was saying that HER talent is art......and if you know Francesca you know and love the way she says "aaarrrrt" - her accent as dramatic as her personality.
She wants to stand on stage and paint a picture and then bestow it upon a lucky audience member.
Fia is singing and dancing at this time.
Nico MIGHT dance but he also might burp. He might do a skit. At one point he wanted to play the lego flute.
What's amazing is that these are the same children that are HORRIFIED when any attention is paid to them by most adults. They shun the spotlight, they get embarrassed easily. They are quiet and well mannered at school. We've been trying to encourage their participation. The teachers all believe that FRANCESCA is serious and shy and quiet.
But, yes, it's true.
So why is it different at camp?
How can these same children get up in front of a 100 or so people at camp and display their talents so proudly?
It's because it's a FAMILY camp.
It's a place where you walk onto the grounds and you are home. You are with family. Your entire family - all 100 or so people. These are people that hoot and holler when ANY child takes the stage - whether burping the abcs, singing a song off tune, free dancing or performing a skit.
I think we underestimate FAMILY.
We don't fully comprehend the power of FAMILY.
The expanded definition and capacity of FAMILY.
The healing nature of FAMILY.
The ability of FAMILY to empower, to bring out the best in people.
The changing love that FAMILY gives to people.
How when we are with FAMILY we are free.
And when I think of the Church?
I think of FAMILY.
When I read on blogs or in articles all the things we need to change and think about and do in order to GET people to come to church and that the church is dying and we need this type of worship music and make sure your service is this and your preaching is this and you have this and that and all that............OH MY WORD, IT IS OVERWHELMING.
And I get it.
I like worship.
I love to hear a good message and I like to preach a good message.
I want my kids to know Jesus and I value what they do at church.
BUT, PEOPLE, if we can't offer FAMILY what are we offering?
We are offering a band-aid.
We are offering a Sunday morning experience not a daily walk.
We are offering a mere shadow of what the Church is supposed to be.
We are to be God's FAMILY.
We are to be brothers and sisters and mamas and papas in CHRIST.
We are to be FAMILY - wholly and dearly loved, clothed with compassion and kindness and gentleness.
I don't know about you but I want a Church where people are free and empowered and loved and changed and the best is brought out because they are with FAMILY.
I don't want to welcome people into church.
I want to welcome them HOME......................to their FAMILY.