1.21.2011

My Kids Don't Like to go to Church! Help!

Q: "My Kids don’t like to go to church. Can you help?"
Single Mom, Winder GA

If you are a parent, and you attend church on Sundays regularly, then this little counseling session will do you good. If it hasn’t already happened, the day will come when that precious child of yours will decided to look you in the eyes on a rushed Sunday morning and tell you that they ‘Don’t like church!’ , or ‘Think its boring.’ Etc.
What do you do?

Well, if you sat down in my office chair and asked the question, this is what I would say:
First, realize that its Sunday morning, a day where every Christian household in America is going through the same dilemma.  We are all fighting sin. The problem is that God has commanded us to worship Him, and children have a unique way of stating the obvious voices of our hearts. We would say the same thing as a justification to crawl back into the bed. We would argue with authority, but because we have a touch more sanctification in our lives we SHOULD know that this struggle is a weekly task. So, children are sinful creatures, they just say what we think.

Second, realize that you are the parent charged by God to teach the child the structure of worship. “You shall teach them [the law] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deut. 6:7. You are the authority to your children, as God is an authority to you. There are times where we all desire to reject this role as parents and lay blame on our children for our laziness to lead our children. A question I might ask: Do your children see you as this role? Or do you enjoy a more passive approach to your teaching them? Scriptures have placed the responsibility on you, not the child to teach themselves Scripture.

Third, realize your children may reflect your own behaviors about church. If you do not enjoy church, do you really think your children will? What is the conversation about church like on the way home on Sunday? Do you constantly give disparaging comments about music/sermon/temperature of the room/announcements/ or do you slander your fellow church members? Children have a great way of seeing and reading affections. They typically like what you like and hate what you hate.

Finally, church is to be enjoyed, but should leave us tired. Let me explain. Our culture of church now seems to constantly be focused on what ‘I got’ from the service. “I liked the music.”, “I got a lot out of the sermon.”; “Communion was nice.” [yes, I have heard ‘nice.’] When we attend church, we should be ready to worship. We should be desiring to ‘workout’ a little. We sing. We pray. We listen intently. We meditate. We confess. We share lives. At the end, we should be tired. Go to gym, run a couple of miles…it is tiring but also very rewarding. Thus the church should not be placed on the same par as, the Mall, the Movies, a trip to McDonalds, or Chucky Cheese. Children and Teenagers, need to be told and shown by parents that the joy of church looks and feels very different than the ‘lesser joys’ of this world.

THE BOTTOMLINE: Share with your child the difference of church and worldly pleasures. How is church like a good workout? Resolve in yourself to be the authority of your home, and teach your children.  Fight the urge to stay up late on Saturday. Plan ahead Sunday mornings, lay out clothes. Set out towels. Set your alarm. Prevent chaotic Sunday AM. This will put you at peace, and you might enjoy church more yourself. 

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