TAKE YOUR CHILD TO CHURCH: IT'S A GOOD THING TO DO
Many parents had bad, or just plain boring, experiences in church as kids, and wonder if there's any point to taking their children through the same process. Knowing that it's the right thing to do, and convincing the child, are two different things.
Children need to know:
1 Going to church is something Christians do as a way to connect with God and God's people.
2 Explain to your child why it's important and the benefits of going to church. Your job isn't done until they understand why you're asking them to go to church. If you drag your children, and never let them see the purpose behind it, they'll find better things to do with their Sunday mornings when they're old enough to make the choice.
3 Explain that life isn't lived in isolation. A church provides a bigger family, a group of people to care about and who care for you.
4 Going to church helps parents in the spiritual teaching of children. When parents are the only teacher of God's principles and way of life, children may end up thinking that everything that has to do with God is just their parents' own personal hang-up.
5 Don't leave all spiritual teaching to Sunday school teachers and pastors. Teaching a child about God is a mutual support job of family and church.
6 Church is a place to learn about God and His principles for life. Show them the application of Biblical principles in YOUR life and the life of your family.
7 On the way to church, talk about how you're looking forward to learning more about God during the service and study hour.
8 On the way home, share what you learned and get your children talking about what they did, what songs they sang, what the lesson was about.
9 Talk to your children's teachers and find out what they're teaching. Help your child with memory verses, and reinforce the principles they learned in church to their weekday life.
10 Make Sunday special, with the purpose of having your children always look forward to "church day." Take your children out to lunch afterward, have a family activity in the afternoon.
11 Make the process of getting ready and traveling to and from church a positive one. Bite your tongue if you are in a bad mood. Save your comments and discussions about problems until a time when your children are old enough to understand them in a broader context.
12 When your church schedules something extra - a party, a play, a midweek kid's club - make it a priority to get them there.
13 Build friendships and social relationships with other members in your church. Bring the life of the church into the life of your family.
14 Don't put on airs when you go to church. Let your children see that the church is a place for regular people, where joys, as well as hurts, can be shared.
15 Teach your children that faith is about knowing God; and about who they become and how they live as a result of that relationship.
Rick Osborne is the creator and co-author of the bestselling 101 Questions Children Ask About... series, author of Teaching Your Child How to Pray, and the online newsletter Tips and Tools for Spiritual Parenting; and co-author, with national radio talk show host Larry Burkett, of Financial Parenting.
From Talking to Your Children About God by Rick Osborne, copyright (c) 1998. Reprinted by permission of HarperSanFrancisco, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, San Francisco, Calif.