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We believe the Bible to be true. We believe it contains the answers to the keys of life. Believing it is the most important and best book on the planet, wouldn’t we want our kids to know it well? If I went to a great movie, I’d be telling my family and friends about it and encourage people to see it. If I believe the Bible has the most eternally significant teachings, it would be awfully selfish of me not to share the message. This message is a story of sin and forgiveness. It reveals the truth and grounds my kids in the security of a loving and holy God who wants to be in relationship with them. I need them to know this. I want to share the greatest gift I know with the people I love (and even the people I don’t even know), but I do want you to know faith didn’t come easy to me.
In ways I came to the faith kicking and screaming. There is, admittedly, still questions and doubts that I wrestle with at times. That said, I have chosen to put my faith in something that I see holds water. There are many more scientists, theologians, apologists and great thinkers who agree that the God of the Bible is worthy of our belief. After reading and listening to the arguments for and against Jesus, I choose Jesus. It’s been a journey, but I had to ask myself a variety of questions:
- Is there a God or did this universe just happen by chance?
- If there is a God, could there be a variety of religions and ways to get to the same God? (I encourage you to read Christianity, Cults & Religions to explore this thought)
- Surely I’ll get to heaven if I’m a good person!? (I encourage you to look How Good Is Good Enough?)
- Are the Christian God and the teachings of Jesus true? Is there Evidence of that? (I love The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict: Evidence I & II Fully Updated in One Volume To Answer The Questions Challenging Christians in the 21st Century, Mere Christianity, and The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Case for … Series) just to name a few of many that I have read. I also enjoy listening to PodCasts by Tim Keller (also the author of Reasons for God…a great DVD Bible study and book), Ravi Zacharias, and Dr. William Lane Craig. Some of this stuff is super heavy but all present great evidence that a thinking brain can put their faith in Christianity. I also have my own personal testimony on how God reached down to touch and change my life.
How to Get Kids to Want to Go to Church
Now that I’ve established why I have placed my faith in the God of the Bible and shown you why I would want to pass along that knowledge to my kids, I want to give you a few thoughts about how to make church meaningful for kids:
- Don’t rely on the church to educate your kids. You, the parents, are the number one educator of your children. That remains true whether we are talking about school or church. The church is a resource there to help, but it needs to start in the home.
- Make sure your lives are reflecting the truth. If your life doesn’t reflect Christ, they will know immediately that you are a hypocrite, and it will be hard for them to buy into faith. Jesus has to change your life, and church isn’t about Sunday. It’s about taking what you learn from church and making it applicable to daily living.
- Make Sunday special. Have a big lunch after you do after church. Pick up donuts before. Start a tradition that kids look forward too that is associated with church and the Sunday experience. Keep it a Sabbath, making the remaining part of the day about rest and play as a family.
- Remind kids that church isn’t about entertainment. We go not to gain, but to worship. We do gain, but the goal is to praise and honor God. Church is more about God than it is about us.
- Build anticipation. “We can’t miss church because God might want to use us or speak to us this morning.”
- Engage your kids conversationally about what goes on in church. Ask them what they learned? Get their perspective. Encourage their hard questions. Teach them to serve by collecting communion cups, helping with the babies or passing out cookies.
- Encourage them to be with you in “big church” too. Kids are leaving the church once they reach college age. Part of what contributes to that is they lack a sense that the main service is for them. I’m not against youth programs, but I do think kids can and should be integrated into the main service as well.
- Make sure church is a inter-generational experience. Maybe there are adults that can mentor your child. Maybe your child needs to mentor younger kids. Adopt a grandma at church. Help kids sees the value in people of all ages.
- Try and reach your children’s heart. It’s not about outward action, but it is about showing them the heart of Jesus and helping them fall in love with Him.
- Attend a Bible believing and preaching church. There are so many great churches out there breathing and living out the gospel truth. However, there are many that have strayed from the core teachings of the Bible. The trick is knowing your Bible well enough to be able to identify false teachers. It is about the fruit you see in the church, but it is also about going back to study the Bible as a whole to compare the teaching of your pastor to the word of God.
- Find a Church that Loves Your Kids. My kids are loved so well at our church. They experience both truth and grace by their teachers. Their friends are at church. They experience love by the people they encounter there, and it is like another home to them. One of the things that drew me into my church was the solid teaching and the heart of the people. Your kids will see the heart of Jesus shine through at a solid church.
I hope this post encourages you to explore faith, get involved in a solid Bible-believing church, live out faith in your home and engage with your kids in both dialogue and excitement for the relationship God wants to have with them.
Thank you, Pritchards, for help with this content. This was re-vamped and republished. It was originally written in December of 2012.