For me, God comes first. When I start my day, I start it right off in prayer and Bible reading. The choices and decisions I make I really try to base them off of the Word of God. The way I dress, the words I speak, the friends I keep, the things that I allow into my life are filtered through what God would think. Now I am far from a saint by any means, but I try to live a life worthy of the forgiveness given to me by my savior. This post is written in the mindset that you as a parent feel the same. If you have problems with your church, the church in general, and/or your own commitment to the house of God then there is another post, not yet written at least by me, for that.
This includes my church life. If the doors of our church are open for service I am there. There are very few things that keep me from church. Hebrews 10:25 admonishes us “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NKJV) To take me to every service (and we have A LOT) is one thing. That is the easy part. To take your kids is another. For the most part, our oldest two came along without much complaint. Honestly, that is all they know. We have been taking them since their births. Sometimes, however, they just played the part of a church kid and other times they rebelled and fought us.
We made them go. We made them sit quiet and still in service when there was no children’s church. While our kids were “drug” to church they knew that God came first. Sports, special school events, birthday parties, and the like took a back seat. We also explained to them why Mom and Dad went to church, why we raise our hands in worship, why we pray, etc. Both are now adults and are living for God. They have a relationship with God that stands even without Mom and Dad pushing them.
Our younger kids had no real knowledge of God other than the very basic of basics which most Americans know. I have to tell you when we brought them home it was a REAL struggle to even get to church. A bigger struggle to get them to sit through a service. The youngest in nursery at the time, the oldest seriously would sit next to me and repeat over and over in my ear, yet loud enough for those around us to hear, “When is it over?”, “I hate this.”, etc., all in one of those deep whiney type voices. This went on for weeks…felt like months. The other two were pretty much the same as the oldest. One so wiggly it was such a distraction. If one still had his way he’d turn and stare at anyone and everyone the entire time.
We’d sit in the back as to try to be a distraction to as few fellow church members as possible. We came service after service knowing that we wouldn’t hear much if any of the sermons due to the kids’ distractive and disruptive behaviors. Talking before or after service with our friends were out of the question as keeping the kids wrangled up and from running out the door took up all of our time. Even a year after getting the kids I remember when one of my closest friends sat down in the seat in front of me to chat, one of the kids deliberately stood in between her and me. This happened more than you’d think.
We still dragged them to church. Made them wear church-appropriate attire. (Still a struggle sometimes.) We pushed it through. The first time I tried to bring the kids into the prayer room so I could pray before service, none of them were having it. Our youngest literally threw such a fit I had to leave the room within a couple of minutes. I kept pushing through.
Church, God was what these kids needed most. I had to push it through. Today, 2 1/2 years down the road all can sit in the prayer room with few problems. Our daughter has recently taken to reading her Bible during prayer time. (This is HUGE!) The younger two still have trouble sitting still through the service. We divide and conquer. One wiggly child sits on one side of mom and the other wiggly child on the other. Much of this past year the youngest has spent more time on my lap than in his chair. When Dad comes we sit in between the wigglers. We continue to push it through. They will come around to sitting quietly through service. The oldest of the four looks like he doesn’t want to be there yet he takes it all in. He has such a strong moral compass. He is also getting close to surrendering his life to Jesus!!
When your kids don’t want to go to church, push it through. Keep going to the church you know God planted you. Keep dragging them to each service. Don’t compromise. The world is full of compromisers and our kids need to see Jesus is worth sacrificing for. They need to know why you go to church, why you believe what you believe. Don’t let them dictate where or when you go to church. Let God come first. He will get ahold of your kid’s heart and spirits.