I Don’t Want To Force My Kids To Go To Church: Part Four

I Don’t Want To Force My Kids To Go To Church: Part Four


Child: “I don’t like going to church (or Sunday School).  It’s boring.”

Parent: “It doesn’t matter. We’re going.”

Child: “Why do I have to go to Catechism Class every week?  It’s boring.”

Parent: “Listen, if you don’t go, you won’t get confirmed. And it’s just for two years.  It’s not like it’s a life sentence.”

Look carefully at those responses.  They actually affirm the child’s assertion that hearing and learning God’s Word is boring.  Maybe this is where many of us can cringe and think “Ouch!” because sometimes our responses have been that spiritually lame.

How about this for a better response?  “Let me try to understand what you are saying.  Are you saying that it is boring for you to hear again that your God loves you and sacrificed his life at the cross to rescue you from the hell you deserve because of your sins against him?  Are you saying that it is tedious to listen to your God, who so obviously loves you and has your best interests at heart, tell you what you need to know to live the most fulfilling and happy life possible, and speak words of comfort to you to encourage you in all your struggles?  Are you saying that you can think of better uses for an hour or two of your time each week than to gather with fellow believers to encourage each other in the faith and hear the Word of God Jesus himself called “the one thing needed”?” (Luke 10:42)

A response like that doesn’t let our kids get away with reaching a conclusion that clearly comes from their sinful nature and not from faith.  The idea that church is boring comes naturally to ALL of us, because all of us have sinful natures that rebel against everything good that God tells us to do, Bible says, “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:7)  The Bible also says that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”  (Jeremiah 17:9)  In other words, my inner nature, corrupted by sin, is a big liar.  That is why it is so easy for me to justify my rebellion against God’s commands with the most ridiculous conclusions- like the conclusion that hearing the Word of the God who loved me and gave his life for me is boring.

I should go to hell for my wicked conclusion that God’s Word is boring.  My kids should go to hell for their wicked resistance to the very thing- the Word of God- that is the greatest source of blessing in life and the only source of eternal life.  And when my kids express rebellious sentiments like that, it is my responsibility as a parent to tell them that in no uncertain terms, and then comfort them with the assurance of God’s forgiveness in Jesus in no uncertain terms.

We call that “applying the law (the truth about our sin and its consequences that my hard-headed sinful nature needs to hear) and the gospel (the good news of Jesus’ forgiving love that my faith finds comforting and inspiring).”  My children need the hammer of the law to smash their evil and arrogant notions, and the comfort of the gospel to assure them of forgiveness and move them to do what is right, from a heart made willing by the love of God in Christ.  We want those conversations that start with how boring church is to always end with how wonderful Jesus is, so that we all view going to church to hear our Savior speak to us as a joyful privilege, and not a tedious requirement.

As an aside, we may also want to talk to our kids about evaluating church fairly.  “Church” is never going to register on the stimulating entertainment meter like a college football game or new video game.  That’s because we don’t go to church to be entertained, but to be convicted of our sin, comforted with the gospel, and empowered and guided to live a life of faith for the glory of Jesus Christ, who loves us and is our Savior.  Faith gets that, and answers the objections of my sinful nature with, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’” (Psalm 122:1)