You love your church, but that doesn’t guarantee your kids will, too. At one point or another, most kids need a bit of encouragement to attend and get involved at church. Here are ten suggestions to help parents raise children who love Christ’s body on earth.
- Remember your primary goal is not church involvement, it’s a relationship with Christ. You want your kids to love Christ’s church, but that comes as a result of loving Christ.
- Don’t let other people’s opinions dictate how you train your child related to church. You don’t answer to public opinion. You answer to God for your parenting.
- Make sure your church is safe spiritually, physically, and emotionally for your child. (Is the teaching Biblically sound? Are the teachers welcoming? Is there any kind of emotional abuse by teachers or bullying by other kids?)
If your church isn’t safe and supportive, step in. Get involved to instigate necessary changes. If, after doing your part, you can’t ensure your child’s safety, find a Bible teaching church that is safe.
- Give your kids an age appropriate voice in how they participate. Let older children have some decision making power, guided by your standards and ‘must-haves.’ For example, let them decide about attending the less important or less personally helpful events.
Some children hate noisy settings or large crowds. Keep individual needs and long-term goals in mind.
- On the other hand, don’t set aside your standards. Kids must learn that we don’t necessarily go to church to have fun. We don’t make every decision to participate based on personal preferences. I agree with a recent article written by Adam McClane: (adammclane.com) “We believe ultimately that it’s more important that the kids go to a church their parents love than one that the kids love and the parents tolerate.”
- Before Sunday comes, train your child about the reasons for church and the ways to get more out of it personally. Teach your children how to find the verse the pastor is using, how to take notes, and to listen for key ideas.
- Invest in the friendships your children develop with other kids at church. Take part in playdates or other activities to build constructive friendships.
- Help your child develop a vital relationship with Christ. Do home devotions using child appropriate tools like Family Time Activities. Involve them in the mission of every Christian to introduce others to Christ.
- Help your child learn that church is a community we serve, not a place we go to be served. This changes us from consumers to contributors who grow and build up the church body.
- Help your child see the glorious work of God in your church. Talk about the wonderful stories of redemption happening among your church members. Don’t allow your child to hear only about church squabbles. These may exist, but Christ’s church transcends human foibles.
Are you helping your child love church?
…but speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head,
even Christ, from whom the whole body …
causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
By James D. Dempsey, Ph.D.
Husband to Gail
Father of three
Grandfather of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Presenter for The National Center For Biblical Parenting
Author of Parenting Unchained
Host of the radio show, Parenting Unchained, at LOTOradio.com and AM630, KSLR Radio, San Antonio.
Click HERE for a link to Jim’s book, Parenting Unchained.