Answers For the Heart!
I find it fascinating (and somewhat disturbing) that such a question would even have to be asked. It would seem to me that the answer would be obvious. But what appears obvious to some, is a complete mystery to others. Allow me to share with you some personal experience on this subject.
My parents were both saved when I was about 5 years old. After getting saved, they were convinced (and rightly so) that regular church attendance was extremely important to the development of their new lives as Christians. We began going to church; and from that day until the day I left my parent’s home, our whole family always attended church regularly, Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.
I have been going to church now for 49 years, and it has been a rare occasion when I have had to miss a service. I love going to church meetings and fellowshipping with God's people. I believe it is the right thing to do. I have been a member of 7 different churches over these years. Memberships in these churches have ranged from about 3 to over 3000. It is now my great privilege to be the pastor of a church. The very first pastor that I ever had (when we started going to church years ago) remained a close friend to me until he passed away a few years ago..
I say this from the depths of my heart….I thank God for parents that took me to church! My parents did not send me to church…they took me. Dad and mom in the front seat and us kids (a brother and a sister) in the back. They put us in the family car, and we all rode together to the House of God. Such wonderful memories are these! If parents did what was right, there would not be any need for a Sunday School bus ministry anywhere in America.
I have worked with children and young people off and on for over 40 years. I see a very disturbing trend, which seems to be getting worse. Parents are not taking the leadership role in matters of spirituality for their families. They are allowing children to “make up their own minds” and “do their own thing.” Many do not seem to really care whether their child grows up with or without a knowledge of God or a strong moral influence. May I say this kindly and yet forcefully? Children are a gift from God (Psalms 127:3), and it is the God given responsibility of every parent to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:6,7; Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6). This necessitates, of course, that the parents know God too. Please parents, do not abdicate or forsake this parental duty. It is too important to be left to chance. Joshua (the great warrior / statesman) said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Even worse, I am now starting to see more parents who not only do not bring their children to church, but they even discourage them from going. Parent’s allow sleep-overs on Saturday which they know will interfere with church on Sunday. They take day trips on Sunday, which keeps them and their children away from God’s house. They engage in sports activities which interferes with church attendance. Other parents act as though church is a treat or an award. If the child is good during the week they can go to church. If they misbehave during the week, the parents punish them by not letting them go to church. This is indeed strange behavior!
It is not enough to send your child to church. You must set the example for them. They are watching you carefully. It has broken my heart many times to see a child start out excited about God, and church, and then slowly lose that excitement and take on the parent’s negative, neglectful, and negligent attitudes. They get discouraged when they have no encouragement to live for God at home, and often give up. If parents don’t see the importance of God and the church, it is going to be rare that their children will see it. And if they do see it, careless and pessimistic parental influences can hinder them in their desire to follow God. You are doing damage to your child’s future happiness and welfare when you do not lead the way.
Start today parents. Make a difference. Even your grown children need to see you setting the example. Your grandchildren need you to lead the way!