Churchgoing parents generally assume that their children will attend with them and eventually join them as their own expression of faith. This is what parents pray for and plan for. But, what do you do when your child does not want to attend church anymore?
Many parents know exactly how this works. The child reaches the age where they start to have their own thoughts about the family weekend. The child wants to sleep in, play sports, or do something other than go to church. What should a parent do when their child does not want to go to church?
If you push the child to go, you could embitter them and harden their heart.
If you let the child start to dictate their life decisions, where does it stop? After all, many children would also like to stop attending school and frequently ask their parents if they can do that very thing. If most children got to make their life choices, they would eat junk food, drink nothing but pop, watch bad things on screens, stay up all night, not do chores, drop out of school, and create a bedtime routine that looked a lot like a prison riot complete with mattresses on fire.
Some people will bristle in fear of “indoctrinating” their children. But, kids do not enter the world knowing anything. Instead, they need to be taught everything. We call this education, and it includes school, church, and the home environment. Every parent needs to decide what is best for their child and do their best to help that child grow into a responsible and healthy adult.
How about you? Did you grow up going to church? Did your parents drag you to church? Do you wish they had dragged you to church?
My wife Grace and I have been married for twenty-five years and have five children (three boys and two girls). Grace grew up going to church a lot since her daddy was a pastor. My church attendance was spotty at our family’s Catholic church until my teen years. At that age, I largely hit the eject button and ceased attending church. I had little interest in church and cared a lot more about working a job and playing baseball.
While teaching a series called Parenting on Point at our church, Grace and I took questions and did our best to provide impromptu answers. One of the questions we received was, “Should Christian parents make their kids go to church?”. Watch this video to hear our comments.
Lastly, if you have a question I might be able to answer in a future Ask Pastor Mark video clip, send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Most likely, you are not the only person with your question, and it might be used of God to help others wondering the same thing.