“No, we can’t do that we have to go to church in the morning.”
“Just sit quietly through church and I will buy you a toy.”
“If you learn your memory verse I will give you some candy.”
Sound familiar – the subtle intonation of a parent’s voice speaks volumes.
The most powerful lessons that children learn are not in our formal teaching plan. Despite our good intentions, children learn more from our attitudes. This can be a powerful tool for the good – or it can erode the foundations of their faith. These unintended lessons form an unwritten curriculum that will shape our children for the rest of their lives.
Our attitudes about church are not lost on our children. If church attendance has become a necessary duty of your Christian life, be sure your kid will notice. This cold-hearted approach to corporate worship is a direct contrast with God's design for the church.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth. (1 Timothy 3:15 ESV)
The community of Christ is a blessing – not a burden. It is not a building but a people. Can your kids perceive the importance of the church from your attitude?
I have often heard well-meaning people say, “If we make church fun (entertaining) for the kids, then they might keep coming as adults.” This subtle shift makes fun by itself an acceptable reason to participate in a church body. It assumes that church according to God’s design is boring. This attitude is unspoken. But your kids will pick it up.
We must point children toward God. By His grace, they will begin to delight (enjoy, desire, want) in His glory. Then the proper function of the church will become compelling – the display of God’s glory. It is the household of God. It is the pure and spotless bride of Christ. The church is a place for love and encouragement toward godliness. As we grow in the body God provides for our perseverance.
So ask yourself - what lessons am I teaching?
Will The Next Generation Treasure Christ? is a dialog on reforming children’s ministry and equipping parents - for the glory of Christ and the joy of our children.