A very serious problem exists among religious families: sometimes their children who have been brought up “in the church” are anxious to “get out of the house” so they won’t “have to go to church” anymore. This is a perplexing problem fraught with serious consequences. Why does a child want to “get away from” the church? What kind of children from what kind of families do so? I don’t know all the answers to questions like this, but let me suggest a few thoughts.
I believe that one real source of this attitude is that children are not taught to love the worship of the Lord. From the time they are infants the parents are yelling at them on Sundays to “hurry up and get up ‘cause we have to go to church” with the emphasis on “have.” Nothing is said about the joy of worship. Nothing is said about the wonderful privilege that is ours. Children are taught that “going to church” is a drudge. No wonder they want to get away from it.
When children are in the assembly, often they are allowed to play with all sorts of toys and games. This causes them to think that the assembly is some place to play games; and then when they are older and too big to play games, they are bored with what is going on. Many children are not taught to sing. They are allowed to play when worship to God in song is being rendered. If they are not taught to sing as tiny tots, then as they grow older they will not sing. Parents, do you teach your children the words to songs at home so they will know them and be able to join in the singing? It is a sad sight to see teenagers just sitting and looking around instead of singing. No wonder they have no interest. They are not taught reverence during prayer. They keep on playing instead of being taught to always bow their heads in reverence. If you took your child to the funeral of a loved one, would you give him games to play? Would you allow him to “do his own thing” or would you teach him reverence and respect for the dead? No, our worship is not a funeral, but it is holy and children need to be taught that it is.
They must be taught to study the Word. Are you studying the class lessons with your children every day? Are you teaching them to enjoy that part of the day and really look forward to it? If this is the environment of a child, you will seldom see him wander away from the Lord. Those who are taught to study the Bible are the ones who listen to sermons and lessons. They are the ones who will understand much more of the lessons that are being presented. (And, by the way, what happened to the teenagers all sitting at the front? What an inspiration that is to the whole congregation!) These are the ones who grow up to love the Lord and stay with Him.
Friend, what are you teaching your children? To love God and His worship, His word, and His people? What you teach your child, who is a tiny tot now, will determine where he will be when he is old. Seems like Solomon said something like that somewhere.
~ Forrest D. Moyer