Parents Rely Too Heavily On Church!

I don’t have fancy stats to prove this one, but I do have experience. I have been a senior pastor now for almost 13 years (ouch)! I served as a youth pastor for almost 5 years. While in high school and college I worked on bus routes and served in children’s church. All of that experience has proven to me that parents rely too heavily on church.

Should church be a regular, vital part of parenting? I would contend that if church is not a regular part of your life then you are probably not born again. In the New Testament, a natural part of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit was gathering with other believers for fellowship, teaching, worship, ministry, and communion (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37). People who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit seek out people who are indwelt by the same Spirit. Therefore, we could say that if you are born again, and a parent, the church gathering WILL be a natural part of the parenting process.

Going to church benefits your children. In June 2007, the Christian Examiner published the results of a study by John P. Bartkowski that showed, “Young children of churchgoing parents fare better behaviorally, emotionally and cognitively than do children of parents who never attend church. In fact, the more often the parents attend, the better it is for the kids[1].” I would not dispute this is true. At the very least the church gives children a positive lesson about life, morality, and authority. More importantly, the church teaches children that they are valuable. They have been created by God and He has sent His Son into the world to save them.

While church is beneficial to children, if it is the ONLY source of Christian influence for a child, the results will be drastically diminished. The message being preached in a child’s home is the loudest and the most memorable. Let's test this theory.
Test Question #1: What did your preacher speak on three weeks ago?
Test Question # 2: Name three "rules of the house" when you were a child?
Test Question # 3: Which of the first two questions was easiest to answer?

Parents preach!

Think about this for a moment. The most committed church people spend between 4 and 6 hours at church in a week. I would say the majority of people reading this post spend between 1 and 3 hours in church per week. How does that span of time compare with the other 138 – 143 hours you have left over in the week? You spend 3 hours at church, 40 at work; your children 30+ at school. On average adults watch 15 – 20 hours of television per week. Sadly, I would say most children watch even more. How does that compare with the influence of your church? If you are measuring influence in merely hours, I would say that your television is speaking far more to your children than your pastor!

The church can support the message of the home or it can be a stark contrast, a litmus test of hypocrisy. Children know how their home relates to their church, hypocrisy or synergy. Your children are receiving messages from their home and their church, do they compliment or contradict? By the grace of God some children are saved despite the message of home, but for those who claim to be Christian parents we should convey a strong message of the gospel in our homes and seek to gather with a church that will support that message. However, if your version of Christian parenting is to allow the church to be the only Christian voice for your children, chances are, it will not work. Model Christ for your children. Take responsibility as a parent. Do not rely on the church to be the ONLY biblical voice for your children. The church is there to support you as a parent, not to replace you as a parent.


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