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Editor's Journey

Recreational churches

SPRINGFIELD, MO. – One Sunday afternoon I accompanied a friend to a local country club. The golfers in our foursome were kind and generous, offering to buy me lunch and inviting me to join them next Sunday for another 18 holes. They made me feel welcome and accepted.

"I’d love to join the group," I replied, "but I’m involved in church on Sundays. Why don’t you guys come with me some week?"

One smiled, saying, "Really, I get all I need right here."

Another said he didn’t want to sacrifice his regular tee time.

While others opted to lift their hands in church each week, these men preferred to swing golf clubs. The country club had become their church – a sanctuary of fresh air and green fairways. It was a recreational church where they could forget their cares for a few hours and find fellowship around a table of beers.

Many fathers, week after week, spend Sundays at the recreational churches of their choice: sports arenas, lakes, ski slopes, hunting trails, campsites and more. Meanwhile their families suffer. Children fail to learn God’s Word. Teens don’t interact with young people who love God. Parents are disconnected from friends who could share their burdens. Most importantly, they sacrifice intimacy with a loving God for a few hours of rest and recreation.

Activities such as golfing and hiking are profitable for the mind and body. But nothing is as satisfying as spending time in a church service when the Holy Spirit is moving and ministering. It’s one thing to hear birds singing on a fairway; it’s another to hear the voice of God speaking to your heart.

Children should experience the thrill of watching a quarterback throw a touchdown pass and know the feeling of a brook trout biting a hook, but God wants to give them experiences in His house that will shape their lives and secure their future.

Sunday is more than a day of rest; it’s an opportu nity for the man of the house to demonstrate his priorities to God and his family.

— Hal Donaldson

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