I have served in full-time ministry for over 6 years now. I’ve been a children’s pastor at one church, and the college pastor at Edgewood and leading pastor for our Saturday night service. Having seen kids growing up in church as well as the aftermath of kids who have grown up in church, here are a few ways to make sure your kids will one day hate church as adults, if not sooner…
- Give them a choice. Yeah, yeah, I know. Your kids should want to go to church on their own. But do you give them the choice to go to school or not? NO?! You make them go whether they feel like it or not?!? How dare you force your educational values on those poor kids! Of course I’m simply making a point here. You are suppose to parent your kids. If you hope they will want to go to church as young adults you will have to make them go now. You have to lead them to good behaviors, not simply expect them to decide it on their own.
- Bad-mouth the preacher. If you don’t honor the pastors and leaders of your church, why should your kids? They will pick up your attitudes.
- Be a hypocrite. My generation is full of adults who grew up out of “good Christian homes” and everyone is stunned at why they left church at 19 and never looked back. For many of them, the reason is that the people their parents were at church was different fro the people they were at home. Be two-faced and you’re sure to run your kids far from a place where they feel like everyone there is a liar.
- Christian school. Here me out… I came from a Christian school. I loved my Christian school. But a good Christian school will never compensate for poor parenting. As a former children’s pastor, my wife and I observed kids who were sent to public schools, Christian schools, private non-Christian schools, and home schooled. While there were some distinguishing characteristics, no particular schooling produced kids who were better behaved, more spiritually inclined, or intellectually superior. What we did notice, however, was that the kids who made good choices, were spiritually growing, and had good grades all had parents who were training their children to be that way. Some of the most impressive young people I’ve ever met had only been in public schools. Conversely, some of the most rebellious I’ve known had always been in Christian schools. You still have to be the parent.
- Be inconsistent. Nothing says, “this isn’t that important” to a kid like being a CEO church attender (Christmas and Easter Only). My kids never question attending church on Easter and Christmas. Why? Because they’ve attended every weekend for the past year, not just last Easter. It’s part of who we are as a family. And not just because I’m a pastor. My home growing up was the same way. And my Dad was in the Army. We moved every 3 years. But we always found a new church home and stayed connected to it. And we never left that church until my Dad got relocated by Uncle Sam. Your kids will determine what you believe by what you do. Don’t tell your kids that God, faith, and church are important and then attend church once a month or twice a year. Your actions have already told them differently.
You are the best person to teach your children spiritual morals and life values. Don’t you dare back away or chicken-out on the holy anointing God has called you to as a parent! You and I are in the best position to raise a generation of godly men and women. As parents.