Carl Lentz, senior pastor of Hillsong Church NYC, recently got candid with his 616,000 Instagram followers about his 9-year-old son’s struggles with going to church.
“In my feelings…” Lentz wrote. “My son recently told me ‘dad, I don’t feel like going to church. We are there ALL THE TIME.’ ”
The pastor’s response served a two-fold purpose as a teaching lesson to his son Roman as well as the Church at large.
While the father admitted his son’s tone was “very cute” and “sincere,” he recognized that his 9-year-old was facing a battle with feelings that [are] similar to one many adults still struggle with.
“Feelings are great. They are important,” stated Lentz. “But they are not the dominant factor in how we live our lives! If our feelings match our convictions? Fantastic. I’ve just found that it’s often that is the exception, not the norm.”
The Hillsong leader continued to explain that many of the things God calls us to do — including giving, forgiving, and church attendance — are not associated with feeling ‘good’, but we are commanded to take control of our feelings and be obedient nonetheless:
“Most of the incredible things God calls us to do? Do not come with an accompanying ‘good vibe.’ Loving your enemy, does not always feel good. Sacrificial giving, does not always feel good. Forgiving people who hurt you, almost NEVER ‘feels right.’ Going to church, doesnt always feel good! But these things are still RIGHT. When that day comes, when your feelings rage against your conviction, remember how blessed we are to control our feelings, rather than being controlled by them. It’s worth it every time!”
Thankfully, it didn’t take long for Lentz’s message about choosing ‘convictions’ over ‘feelings’ to bear fruit in Roman’s actions.
“Roman randomly asked me unprompted to ‘say hi to the church’ this past Sunday. So he did,” wrote the proud father. “He said ‘dad I didn’t really feel like it, but I’m glad I did, I think I helped people.’ He was right! ‘In my convictions’ is where I want to stay…and I pray the same for my son.”