Why do we make sure our kids have their textbooks, notebooks, pencils, and supplies for school, but not for church? Which is more important: Your kids going to Heaven or college? Getting good grades or knowing more about Jesus? Improving test scores or overcoming life's hurdles?
I really only know one fact about my kids … they will stand before the one, true God. And when they stand before God, He's not going to ask them what their GPA was or whether or not they mastered their math facts. Did they know Jesus and did Jesus know them? It's my job to prepare them for that moment.
And church is a big part of that prep. I want to prioritize the things of God above everything else. If I let my kids sleep, solve a Rubik's cube, or play on their phones, what message am I sending? Am I saying that school is more important than God?
Our actions speak louder than our words. Kids can tell what's really important to their parents. Is it alright if I just play or sleep during church? No. So why is it acceptable for my kids? I believe one of the biggest lies from Satan to kids is that salvation is for grown-ups only. Satan wants kids to think they don't have to do anything concerning God till they are older. Sadly, I think many parents are buying into the lie as well. And we wonder why so many teens walk away from the church when they are 18.
I think another lie from Satan is that kids and teens can't get anything out of the sermon. It's too much for them. In the parable of the talents, Jesus gave his slaves His word according to their own abilities. It's the same Word given for us all, but each of us will get what we're able to handle.
I want my children to know how important Jesus is. Even with our busy everyday lives, one thing we can almost always count on is our children hearing the gospel message every week. Take full advantage of church!
If they are to get more out of church, how? It starts with prep. I've been doing this for a long time now. Here's how I help my kids get more out of church:
Each child, when they are old enough to start learning to read gets a backpack that's just for church. Here's what's in their backpack:
• A kid-friendly Bible
• A fun and engaging sermon notebook. This is very important. You can remember more of what you hear when you take notes. And even more if you review your notes afterward. How many times do we get home from church and completely forget what the sermon was about!
• Colored pencils, Bible highlighters, pencils, erasers, and a sharpener.
• Mints. Something small and quiet that they can eat throughout the sermon.
• Some optional items are fun stickers, a water bottle, or bookmarks.
It is also helpful to find time throughout the week to review the sermon as a family. During this time, you can answer any questions they had, or clarify any hard-to-understand words or meanings. This time is always fruitful and can lead to great family discussions around God's word.
One of the biggest reasons to help your kids get more out of church is to establish healthy Christian habits as early as possible. It starts with modeling good habits in your own life first, of course! Also, helping our children in church shows them just how important they are to God and to us as parents. Make these years count!
Be encouraged and be blessed, my friend!