by Art Kohl
Less children today are attending Sunday School and church regularly in America than ever in our history as a nation. In respect to population, of course. Many parents don’t believe that regular church attendance is necessary for their children anymore. This is tragic! Moms and Dads, do we make our children brush their teeth? Do we make them wash? Do we make them eat? Sleep? Do we make them go to school, etc? WELL, YES, OF COURSE! Why? Because it’s important.
Let me ask you this, “Is church important for a child?” Yes or No? Before you say no, may I remind you that 95% of confined criminals in our jails have received no REGULAR religious training during their childhood? Now answer the question.
I. Why Kids Don’t Want To Go To Church
Having a church which puts much emphasis on children ministries, as a Pastor, I’ve observed 3 major reasons why children don’t want to attend church. With the reasons, I’ll try to present some solutions.
1. Entertainment- The church cannot compete with the entertainment world today. Kids are being brought up today by TV, movies, VCRs, computers, sports, etc. Hollywood has millions of dollars to produce fast-paced entertainment. As a result, being entertained has become life-style. Our children are lacking the character and discipline today to sit still, listen and learn, whether it be in the schoolroom or church. If they are not entertained, they are bored.
The tragic result is this: If a child has the option to quit something he is bored with, he will always quit. Why? He does not have the discipline to stick it out. His character has been trained to only do things that are entertaining. What will happen to that child when he becomes bored with high school? or his job? or marriage, etc? He’ll quit!
Parents should teach their children that life isn’t all entertainment. TV has brought about the slow death of the mind. It has dulled our senses and robbed us of the ability to think. It’s easier to allow someone else to do our thinking for us. Restrain it! Also, parents should make their children go to church. Ah, you say, “I’m not going to force my children to go to church like I was” Did you really turn out so bad? Are your morals, standards and convictions higher than your children? Are your parent’s higher than yours? Are our grandparents’ morals higher than ours? Do you remember how moral your great-grandparents were? Where were these morals taught? Why did this country receive this heritage? FROM THE CHURCH! FROM THE BIBLE!
If you don’t make your children go to church, what will their children be like? MORALS ARE PRESERVED BY PEOPLE PROPERLY TAUGHT!
2. Peer Pressure- “I’ll let my children decide for themselves what they believe,” declare many parents. Friends, there is no such thing! ALL of us are the product of the influences of people around us. I believe Abe Lincoln once said, “You’ll be the same person you are a year from now except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Of course today is different because we have more than books influencing us through the eye-gate.
It doesn’t take much peer pressure before children bow to it. Nobody wants to be different. Even adults are controlled by peer pressure to some extent. We call it “keeping up with the Joneses” or “being sociable” or “the good old American way.” No one wants to be an oddball.
Children are controlled by children. Look at the way they want to dress or the way they eat, or the music they listen to, or the shows they watch. Parents, did you teach them to like these things? No. Who did? THEIR PEERS.
Because most children do not attend church, the pressure is put on children to believe that it is “normal” practice by their peers. No one, not even a child, wants to be abnormal. Children need to be taught that peer pressure is not a good basis to make decisions on. If this is the foundation of their decision making, they will follow the crowd into premarital or illicit sex, drugs, drunkenness, etc. Don’t allow what other children do to be the guide for what you allow your children to do! Especially concerning church attendance.
3. Hypocrisy- Nothing has harmed the message or the power of the church as hypocrisy has. I’m talking about people who go to church for 1 hour a week and act “religious” and then live like the devil the rest of the week. CHILDREN CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH HYPOCRITES, so can everyone else.
There is nothing that has turned children away from the church more than hypocrisy! Friends, it is the power of our example that gives power to what we are trying to teach. “Do as I say, not as I do” NEVER WORKS! Kids hate that! Many parents I’ve heard say, “well, my children don’t want to go to church anymore.” And I’ll say, “I bet if you started coming, they would keep coming.” Usually the only teenagers we can keep coming to our church are the ones whose parents come all the time themselves and are honestly trying to live by God’s Word. Parents, let’s start being GOOD examples again for our children’s sake!
II. Biblical Responsibilities of Parents
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in shine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25. Enough said.
III. So What Is The Church Anyways?
I Timothy 3:16 says that the church is the “pillar and ground of the truth.” The truth is the Word of God and what it says. Get yourself AND YOUR CHILDREN into a Bible believing, preaching AND PRACTICING CHURCH, where truth is taught without apology or compromise.
Moms and Dads, you have a knowledge of God. Your children have less. Will the next generation have any?