10 Ways to Help Your Children Love the Church

10 Ways to Help Your Children Love the Church

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” - Proverbs 22:6

Our parental responsibility to our children is to lead them to the feet of their Savior. With passion and commitment in obedience to the Lord’s command to “Let the little children come to me,” we can lead them in the right direction as the verse in Proverbs directs. It’s not a guarantee that they won’t see a season of rebellion, but there is power in praying for our children, and providing a healthy church environment to plant and water good seeds of God’s Truth.

Within and beyond the four walls of our homes, children can learn how to find God, talk to Him, and know that He will meet them where they are at their whole lives. When Church is like that for kids, they love it. Here are ten ways to help find and form a love of church in our children. 

  • 1. Pray that Your Children Would Love the Church

    1. Pray that Your Children Would Love the Church

    Taking our desires and worries to the Lord in prayer is powerful. He hears every prayer, and lovingly desires to meet with us daily. “Never stop praying,” says 1 Thessalonians 5:17. We serve a God who has good plans for us. As parents, we don’t have to have all the answers, or teach our kids all of the lessons. A good church family and kid’s ministry can be a giant connector in the points we are trying to get across to our kids, and the path we are trying to merge onto as their parents. God is faithful to answer our prayers, and I believe if we pray fervently with great faith, He will show us how to instill a love of church in our hearts, and those of our children. Let’s pray now:

    Father, We praise You for our children. We praise You for our family. We praise You for the Body of Christ, Your Church. Thank You for the growing faith of those that attend our local churches, and serve in children’s ministry. Father, bless those called to serve this generation and the next. The ones called to teach them how to talk to you, how to find you, and how much You love them. Soften the hearts of our children to hear Your message, and feel Your love. Help them to find their place in the body of Christ. To hear Your call early and always. Bless us with a church family and children’s ministry that speaks to Your plans for our kids. Help us to find or form the programs that You will us to participate in and become a part of. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

  • 2. Go to Church and Don’t Be Flaky about It

    2. Go to Church and Don’t Be Flaky about It

    We can’t be surprised that church doesn’t stick to our kids, if it doesn’t stick to us. If we don’t make going to church a priority, then they might not either. Hebrews 10:24-25 states: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

    The early church was persecuted. Even gathering in homes had become a suspicious activity to a government threatened by what they stood for. It would be easy to give up meeting together. We, too, have much that we could choose to fear in the modern world. It’s hard to predict where tragedy will strike next, but we were not called to live in fear. Jesus promises us that he came to give us life to the full. (John 10:10) If it’s just sleeping in that we’d rather do, we should embrace the “hard” task of rolling out of bed and drifting through the church doors each Sunday. Setting an example of privilege, to walk in and have the freedom to worship our great God, who promises to meet us there, no matter what we’ve had to fight to get there. 

  • 3. Let Your Kids Be an Active Part of Children’s Ministry

    3. Let Your Kids Be an Active Part of Children’s Ministry

    “Mom!!!” My littles clamored for my attention as we checked out of the kids ministry. “Can we PLEASE come back here EVERY WEEK?!” It was an easy yes. God calls and tasks specific people with a passion for children’s ministry. One of those people was the late Art Rorheim, co-founder of the worldwide Awana after school ministry. “If you’re to win kids to the Lord, they’ve got to have fun,” he said, “You know, kids are the same the world over – they respond to those who love them.”

    The call my children heard came from similarly committed lives in my own church’s children’s ministry. Their passion to meet children where they are at, and bring them one step closer to God, is evident in the fruit of my daughters’ lives already. I can only imagine what the remainder of the seeds that have been folded over in love will grow into as they continued to be watered in His love and His Word through each stage and phase of their youth. A good children’s ministry helps our children love church.

  • 4. Be a Daily Example of What it Looks Like to Be a Disciple of Jesus

    4. Be a Daily Example of What it Looks Like to Be a Disciple of Jesus

    Making church a priority starts by our individual relationship with God. When we seek Him daily, we will desire His presence. Matthew 18:20 reminds us, “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

    Following the example Jesus taught when He rose early in the dark hours of the morning to pray to His Father, starting our day with the nourishment of God’s Word builds a strong foundation for the rest of our day. This affects our parenting, and our kids. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 Reading God’s Word on our own helps us instill that habit in our children. Going over a page of a children’s devotional book with our kids each day, in the morning or at bedtime, helps them to form a solid foundation, too. Some children’s ministry programs send home material to help carry the message they heard at church through their lives the following week. Be sure to follow up with your kids and talk to them about the lesson they learned in Sunday school. In time, they will have the opportunity to feel God’s presence. Getting to church is important, and being in the Word allows us to understand how He moves through our lives all week long. Learning God’s Word helps our children love church.

  • 5. Get Together with Other Parents

    5. Get Together with Other Parents

    Parents need a good support system, and we can often find one right within our church family. Having a group to come together in prayer for each other and our children while seeking God’s authority over our lives and our children’s lives has a huge impact for the kingdom. When our church friends become our weeklong friends, our children start to get a better picture of the church that God intended us to be. We become a family and a support system who gather on Sundays and come together on their own to seek more from His Word. When families join together and their children become friends, church becomes a place they love.

    Whether in small or large congregations, finding or forming a group committed to gather and study the Word and spend time in prayer for each other during the week can be hard. We live in a world where our schedules are pressed in and packed on all sides. But God does something amazing with the time we sacrifice from other things to devote to His church. “When can we all get together again?!” my daughters asked of our newly formed “small group.” God has a way of encouraging our honest steps to move closer to Him and form God-honoring friendships. 

  • 6. Sing Worship Songs with Your Children

    6. Sing Worship Songs with Your Children

    Worship plays a huge part in most church services. Many of us turn to music in our everyday lives as a source of expression. Exposing our children to worship music can play a huge role in how they feel about church on Sundays. Children that walk into children’s ministry to the tune of a song that they jam to in the car on the way to school is a huge ice breaker, especially to the kid that doesn’t want to leave their parents on a sleepy Sunday morning.

    The church my family attends now has an amazing kid’s ministry program, with a team of kids that get up on stage and sing the worship songs for the other kids. It’s a powerful example in leadership! Kids leading kids in worship! Each ministry has a slightly different way they worship, growing with kids over time but never losing touch with the importance of worshipping God. It’s powerful, and it’s important. Find the current Christian chart toppers and play them at home or in the car. Go to a Christian concert. Pass on the traditional hymns that we love the most. There’s a reason that there is an entire book of songs in the Bible! It’s an important piece of expression created by our creative God. Engaging kids in worship helps them form a love for church.

    Image Credit: Thinkstock.com/didesign021

  • 7. Let Them Be Kids.

    7. Let Them Be Kids.

    Children want to bring stuff with them wherever they go, and our instincts are to tell them to leave at home, leave it in the car, or leave it in their coat pockets. But letting them tote a thing or two gives them the freedom of expression and the comfort of taking a piece of home with them. When they are little bit freer to be themselves, they are a little more apt to venture out of their comfort zones. Let’s face it; God takes us out of our comfort zones! Eventually, we move from dragging our teddy around to carrying His Word on our hearts.

    Children will move out of their comfort zones when they are ready. If taking something with them, or even wearing their PJs to church, makes them feel more comfortable about going, let them be. God doesn’t care what we look like when we show up on Sunday. He’s going to meet us there no matter how we present ourselves. It’s a sweet lesson to teach a child - they are welcome for who they are, right now, always. That’s how Jesus loves us.

  • 8. Start a Tradition to Talk about the Sunday Lesson after Church

    8. Start a Tradition to Talk about the Sunday Lesson after Church

    Kids are reward oriented. Before they can talk or walk, they know that new tricks are rewarded by excited parents who can’t wait to celebrate their efforts. Their first step, first word, first day of school. They look for that approving smile. How do we get them to start looking upward for approval?

    Parenting is hard because we are imperfect. We will inevitably fail them at some point, whether minor or major. Getting them to church, and fostering their love of that community, helps them experience the support and encouragement that reaches beyond what one or two imperfect people can provide for them. Church points us to the One who will never let us down.

    Make a point to come together as a family to talk about what was shared and learned after Sunday service, rather than just dropping back into the busyness of life after the service is dismissed. Looking forward to lunch with friends or special trips to the park for donuts after Sunday service can help children have something to look forward to. Over time, the reward for going to church will be going to church. In the meantime, something to look forward to afterwards can help children love going to church.

  • 9. Volunteer for Your Church and Let Your Kids Join You in Helping

    9. Volunteer for Your Church and Let Your Kids Join You in Helping

    When we raise our hands looking for an assignment, we find the pocket of influence that God has set aside for us. Investing our time in our church sets an important example for an often-entitled generation. Church isn’t about sitting down and absorbing encouragement, and then getting up and walking back out into the world unchanged. Church is about coming together to reach out into our communities to encourage those who don’t know Christ. Sharing the gospel is the mission, and that takes a lot of volunteers. From the people that smile and open the door for someone for the first time to the ones who cuddle the little babies while tired parents get a cup of coffee and stand in worship. We are the arms of Christ, and are not meant to sit with them crossed in a seat every Sunday.

    Children may love when we volunteer with their age group in children’s ministry, or they might want to keep their distance as they join the junior high ministry and we pour the coffee. No matter where we choose to serve, or where God puts us, they see. Children mimic the behavior that they witness. They look up at us and smile. They hold out a hand to welcome a new kid to church, and they start wanting to help, too. They learn to love church because they, too, are invested in their church family.

  • 10 . Encourage Them.

    10 . Encourage Them.

    Parents can help children love church by asking them questions, and engaging in conversation with them about church and about God’s Word. The more we are enthralled with the Word, ourselves, the easier it is to find something to talk about. Apply daily and weekly lessons to everyday situations. Pray for God’s guidance and wisdom to recall and understand His Word and His will for our lives, and our children’s.

    Let me encourage you today. If you are reading this article, you are already on the right track. God will honor every effort of your heart to instill a love of church in your child/children. Whether you are a single parent or married, divorced or widowed, young or old, God has placed you purposely in your child’s life. A love of church doesn’t begin or end with the actual building. It’s becoming a moving and acting part of the body of Christ, on Sundays and every day. Walking with Him, and taking our children’s hand and gripping it tight, doing our best to guide them to His feet.

    Meg encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emoti-moms Weekly Bible Study, and leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org.