by Pastor Ben Holden
In my earlier years of ministry, I had a number of parents tell me that they didn’t want to force their kids to go to church.
Parents didn’t want their kids to grow up resenting it. As you might be able to guess, my thoughts on this are radically different. If your children never come to church the chances of them doing so when they are an adult are greatly diminished. To see and learn to worship as a FaithFamily and engage in the life of the community of faith is incredibly important. I think a far better approach is to teach your kids to love the church. You ought to help them to see it for what it was created and designed to be.
Here are few ways to help you to foster a love for the family of God in your child. I gleaned these from a breakout seminar at the Gospel-Shaped Family Conference taught by Pastor Marc Goodwin from Christ’s Covenant Church in Winona Lake, IN. I hope they are helpful for you.
Prize the church yourself
Take your kids to church with you, rather than just sending them to church. Let your experience and engagement with the church be as a family, not separated and disjointed. Your kids will learn so much from watching you and serving alongside of you.
Prioritize the church
Prioritize the people of the church. Show your kids that church is not a building or a time of the week. Help them to get to know other people of all different ages in the church. Help them to see the church as a body of believers who are mission together, love each other, challenge each other, and challenge one another in their faith in Jesus Christ.
Personalize the church
This is similar to number two. Help your kids get to know people within the church. Don’t settle at them just knowing names. Don’t settle for them only knowing people that are the same age as them. Help them to learn and know the different God-given strengths and gifts that others have as them express them through the local body.
Prepare them for church
There is a lot of value in structuring your weekend where you value the time with your church family on Sunday morning. You can help them to not be too tired on Sunday mornings by getting good rest the night before. You can also help to prepare them by teaching kids how to read well, how to process, how to pray, to be attentive, and how to properly listen to public instruction.
Practice serving the church
There are all kinds of ways that you can serve together with your kids in the church. I’m not talking about serving your kids and their friends, but actually having your kids serve alongside of you. If they are doing this with you as a child, they will know how to do it as an adult.