Monday, January 26, 2015

Why not to distract your kids in worship.

One Sunday night I was watching TV with my family after church and received a message via Facebook Messenger. A young man in our church sent me a message saying he had heard in the service on Sunday about how I had helped people in need through the NC Baptist Men and jokingly said he needed my help rebuilding a house that burnt down on Minecraft. At first I thought it was funny that he sent me the message but then I started thinking about how much he must have picked up during the service. Our service focused on the mission efforts of the NC Baptist Men and included disaster relief and other areas of ministry. Here this young guy picked up on what was said during the service and many times we discount what kids will learn from worship at church.

Parenting kids at church is different today than it was 10 years ago much less 25 years ago. In today's society we tend to think that children won't understand what the pastor is talking about or it's not on their level. But before you give the kid your phone, tablet, or something else to distract them lets think about what we're doing here. We are telling our kids that the songs we're singing or the pastors message doesn't apply to them so they don't need to pay attention to it. It's important that from an early age we start training our kids to participate in worship. Like discipline, routines, and respect, if church participation isn't taught early it won't be picked up later. I can't tell you the number of times I've watched as children, who weren't taught to participate in church as young children, don't know how to act or participate in worship as teenagers and eventually lose interest in church altogether. Many don't make it much past the start of jobs, cars, and dating.

My desire is for the generation that is dying out in our churches to not be the last great Christian generation. I believe that there is hope for the church and I believe that the gospel message of the church is the only hope for the world. But we have to train our children to worship God and participate in corporate worship, whether that is children's church or regular worship. I'm not under some delusion that my own young boys understand and retain every part of my message any more than I believe that every adult retains it. But just like I don't remember the menu from every meal my wife has fed me over the years, I know that without them I would have died a long time ago. If we want to sustain the spiritual life of our children far into the future we need to feed them with a regular diet of worship.

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