Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Kids and Church
Most parents want their children to come along with them to church with a good attitude. But how do we as parents encourage this to happen? I have been thinking a lot about this as I see many families struggle with children not wanting to come. Obviously, there is a huge spiritual dimension that we have limited control over (other than prayer). However, many of our own attitudes and life choices have a big influence on our children.
Here are a few of my own observations...
Make church attendance a top priority! If it is optional then kids pick up on this quickly and choose to opt out. Anything that we skip church for, has a higher priority than church. We tell our children a lot about our values by what we deem more important than going to church. I remember as a child growing up and now in our own family, that we planned our trips/vacations around getting to meeting. Whether it was getting to our own church or one on the road while traveling. Church shouldn't be a club that you can choose to go to or not depending on your mood. We obey God when we gather together with other believers.
Parents need to go to church with a good attitude. You need to want to be there if you expect your children to feel that way. Be careful of what you say about the meeting and the people there outside of church. Children are quick to identify hypocritical attitudes in their parents and other adults.
Help your children to 'own' the church. By this I mean, give them responsibilities and help them to feel a part of the meeting. It can be helping around the building or taking part in the meeting. Encourage them to reach out to other children and families at the church. Help them to get to know other families at church. Have them sit in the meetings for adults. Most teaching is not over the average third graders head.
Hospitality is a great way to get to know others at church. Hospitality should be a characteristic of those in leadership, but it also should be practiced by all Christians. When we invite others to our home we give our children an opportunity to get to know other families better as well as to serve them.
Live your faith out at home. It is not the church's responsibility to teach your child about God. It is yours! Teach your children Scripture and pray together every day! When you run into problems get on your knees with your children! When you receive blessings in your life, thank God with them. They need to see that your faith is central to your life. It should be more important than sports, electronic media, your hobbies or whatever else you spend your time on. Prayer should be a priority also. Bring them to prayer meeting! Let them hear the heart of those who are praying for them. If you don't bring your children to prayer meeting, at what age do you think they will start to go?
There are no guarantees that your children will want to go to church and to follow the Lord, but by practicing these things you will greatly increase the likelihood that they will want to.