Do We Have To Go To Church?
Most parents have either already heard this from their kids, or will hear it in the future. Seems most children go through a phase in which they question the need for faithful attendance at all of the assemblies. When this happens, what's a parent to do? Here are some suggestions:
- Set a good example. Never let your children see you compromise your commitment to the Lord for any other thing. This means, in particular, never let them see you miss the assemblies for the activities of this world. Be careful not to allow recreational pursuits to come between you and God. If you do, you'll be teaching your kids a lesson that you don't want them to learn! Ballgames and golf, hunting and fishing, even vacations, can't begin to compare in importance to serving God. Use caution, too, in regards to your work. Too often Christians let their jobs interfere with their spiritual service. And NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let them observe you staying home simply because you "don't feel like" attending the services. In other words, be sure that you have your own priorities in order!
- Teach them to love God. Really, there's something wrong with the "do we have to" mentality. Anything we do for God should be done out of deep and sincere love for Him. "We love Him, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Work hard to instill this attitude in your children. Any other motivation will ultimately fail. Again, be sure that you have this attitude firmly fixed in your own mind. They are watching you, and imitating what they see!
- Bottom line: Be sure that they are present at all the assemblies — no matter what! Kids are kids — they need to be taught. They do not naturally understand all the things that are in their own best interest. For that reason we MAKE them do some things that they don't always want to do (i.e., take baths, go to school, etc.). Learning to love and serve God is the most important lesson of all. Therefore, any parent who really wants what's best for his child will make sure he's present even when that means forcing the situation a little. Keep working, of course, at developing the right attitudes in your kids — but get them here one way or the other!
Remember parents, it is your job to "…provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).