5 Ways to Make your Kids Hate Church

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.



3 thoughts on “5 Ways to Make your Kids Hate Church

  1. Hey man, as one of the few who have raised kids (within our Sunday morning Bible studies group) I’d have to say you’ve nailed it. Kids need to be led, not given options. Who’d take their child to the doctor and ask them “do you want to get your shots today?”. We lead our children and reinforce what’s right and they will learn confidence and assurance that what they are learning is reliable and true. As the culmination of these beliefs become attitudes, the moral fibers are woven into their lives and they should continue in admonition of God and at the very least the morals learned in church will serve as their inner conscience through out their lives. Bring them to church when they are young and always view church as a positive and pleasant experience, focusing on what’s good, and not what’s wrong. Be always aware that the EARS in the back seat hear EVERYTHING you DON’T want them to hear and LITTLE of what you Do want them to hear, so it’s vital that you watch what you say to your spouse about your church / pastor / or what ever, in the presence of your kids and NEVER assume they aren’t listening or are too young to understand. Even if church was totally horrible, (and it never is at Edgewood), let the conversation on the ride home be about how nice it was to see our Christian friends, or plans for the day. One last point is to be engaged in your kids. After church, meet the kids with a SMILE, and ASK them what their teacher talked about. Show them that what they are learning interests you, and guess what, IT WILL INTEREST THEM! Another point about asking kids what they learned is… DON’T YOU WANT TO KNOW??? Don’t assume your kids are getting the gospel like you are, some churches provide nothing more than entertainment for kids, and they grow up not learning anything about God at all. What goes on upstairs isn’t always reflected downstairs, and if the whole family isn’t getting the spiritual bread and butter they need, make it your passion to change things. Before uprooting to find a new church, VOLUNTEER and see if YOU are the change GOD has sent to help ALL the kids. Don’t pray for someone else to do the work GOD has called YOU to do. If it is against church policy and you meet opposition to bringing Christ to the children, if all else fails, then and only then wash your hands of them and find a new flock. If the kids bring home something they made in Sunday School, praise them, and hang it up where all can see. Instruct, encourage, pray for, ask questions, and love your kids. Life is short, people are important; not jobs, money or our social status. Love GOD, Love your neighbor, and love your kids! When you have kids, you have but a short while to spend with them and love them, then they’re grown and gone. (Cat’s in the Cradle song playing in the background)… Word?!

    • Doug, I appreciate your thoughts. Respect is earned, but honor is freely given. If you have a disagreement with the pastor, honoring him might mean dealing with him directly about it respectfully, instead of gossiping behind his back to your own family. I like that you focused on talking about the positive, and I think that is an excellent idea. Thanks for contributing!

  2. Pingback: Brain-Wash your Kids | John Markum

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