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

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

Have you ever followed a bad recipe?   Maybe it was a recipe for cookies you found that sounded good, but when you made them, they were gross.  

 There is a bad recipe for taking your kids to church.  The ingredients of this recipe that will likely lead your kids to feel that they were forced to go to church are the following:

  • Stay home and kick back while your spouse takes the kids to church.
  • Argue with your spouse about going to church so your kids hear all the “good” reasons for doing something else besides going to church.
  • Drop your kids off at Sunday School while you head out for breakfast.
  • Go to church infrequently enough that, when you do decide to go, your kids understandably resist, and going becomes a big ordeal they resent.
  • Make sure that time spent around the Word of God is just one hour on a Sunday.  Don’t read the Bible with your kids at home or pray with them, don’t bring up God and his Word in conversations with your kids, and don’t connect God’s Word to how the family treats each other and operates day to day.

Parents, your example matters.  When your attitudes and actions make the statement, “The Word of God is not exactly something I consider vital for myself and my own daily life,” your kids have every reason to wonder, “Then why are you making ME hear and learn it?”  They are much more likely to conclude that they were made to go to church, and for that reason, to stop coming to hear God’s Word when they are adults.

The Bible is clear on the importance of modeling, and often encourages us to follow good role models.  The apostle Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1), and “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (Philippians 3:17)  The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us,“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7) Parents, your own genuine gratitude for God’s Word and obvious daily reliance on it goes a long way toward showing your children that hearing and learning God’s Word is not merely a pious obligation, not a mere mandatory religious requirement for kids, but a life-long blessing.

Do you have a lot of guilt about not being the best role model when it comes to love for and devotion to God’s Word?  I do too.  But isn’t the biggest reason to love God’s Word that it tells us that God does not hold our guilt against us but forgives it all for Jesus’ sake?  What can inspire and empower us to genuine devotion to the Word of God more than its central message that God loves us and sent his Son to pay for our sins and set us free from their hold on our hearts and lives?

With hearts set free by Jesus, let’s show genuine love for God’s Word and eagerness to follow it in our own use of the Word and practice of it.  Our kids will notice.