I recently read an article talking about why you are seeing less and less play places in McDonald’s. There are a lot of reasons for this. Obviously, safety issues are a huge concern. Those both real and unreal. Like the one where a three-year-old child was stuck with a syringe full of heroin in a McDonald’s play place and died. Yes, that turned out to be untrue. Believe it or not the real reason that McDonald’s play places are disappearing is because of technology. Walk into a McDonald’s now and you will see children playing on iPhones and iPads and not even using the playground. This just shows us how time changes things.
As a believer, one thing that has not changed is the importance of having our children in church. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 “train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Jesus set a precedent on the importance of children when he said in Matthew 19:14 “suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven”. Obviously, Jesus loved little children. He also understood the battle for the hearts and minds of little ones that would go on between Him and Satan. If you are a parent and you are raising your children in a Christ like home, does it really matter whether they consistently attend church? The answer is a resounding yes. Let me give you a few reasons why having your children faithfully attend church is important.
First, it is commanded. In the Old Testament the Lord told us to set aside one day a week for rest. A day for Him. Hebrews 10:25 tells us “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.” This is not a commandment for only adults but children as well.
Second, is influence, both positive and negative. On the positive side we should desire our children to be around other believers who can help them in their walk, encourage them in hard times, and help them find God’s purpose for their life. There is also the fact of the negative influence of the world. The world is not going to help lead your children to a better life. If your child is in public school, most of their time during the week will be around those who are not believers. Even if your child has a Christian teacher, their influence is limited by the rules and regulations of the school. A few hours a week in church, while not the only thing that will strengthen their walk, can go a long way to helping them have a strong biblical foundation.
Third, children need to learn how to worship with other believers. Yes, it is true that we don’t have to be at church to worship or even with someone to worship, but it is clear from scripture that God intended much of our worship to be done together. When children see adults singing, praying, giving to the Lord, as well as listening to God’s word being proclaimed, they will have a greater understanding of the greatness of God, and a greater desire to stay around the people of God.
Finally, children should be taken to church to learn more about Christ. No, taking your child to church won’t save them, but taking your child to church will show the greatness of God and the greatness of his love for them. They will not get that from Hollywood, ESPN, or the school system.
Let me close by saying this. I have often heard people say that I don’t won’t my children to grow up disliking church because I always drug them to it. I’ll let them make their own decisions about coming to church. I must remind parents of this truth. We are not responsible for what your children will feel about church ten or fifteen years from now. We are only responsible for the present. I am commanded to train up my children. The greatest gift and responsibility we have is to train up our children to love a God who loved them so much he gave Himself for them.
In my over 20 years of teaching and more than ten years of pastoring, I have talked to a lot of parents who children have gone down a wrong path and broke their heart. In the midst of all these conversations I have never had one say to me, “If I only hadn’t taken them to church so much, this wouldn’t have happened”.