I remember my dad being asked once how he raised us so well and he answered that he kept us in church. I was contacted yesterday by a previous multi-housing ministry student saying she wants her daughter to grow up knowing Jesus loves her no matter what. She asked if she can come to church.
The children I’ve raised and am raising weren’t in church in their younger years. They lived lives of survival and suffering. I’ve had foster kids who only ate with their hands. Most of them would stab a piece of meat and hold it up in the air and take bites like it’s on a stick. I had to throw out a dresser that was ravaged from only 8 months of use it was scratched and damaged so bad! I don’t even know how you do that! These children weren’t taught table manners. They weren’t taught how to take care of what we had because they never stayed in one place for very long. They weren’t trying to be rude.
When you’re not taught certain things as a young child it’s much harder to change those things later in life after habits are developed. Teaching our children they have a spiritual life is essential for their mental and emotional health. I used to tell my kids they have to go to church but they don’t have to believe a word that’s being said. It’s what we do as a family. I do not push my faith on my kids but each one I’ve adopted had chosen a life of faith and I’m grateful.
Most children will gain most of their faith by watching their parents. Can my kids see God by the way I live my life? Am I pointing my kids to Jesus? It really does matter. I believe a parent has much greater influence than the church in the life of a child.
We’ve all heard the saying, “do as I say, not as I do.” Our kids are very likely to do as we do.
I had a conversation with a dear friend last Sunday about how it’s so easy to not show up at church, especially if I’m feeling sad that day. We talked about how on those days if we just show up we feel like we get a blessing. We’re around people of faith who encourage us. God can speak to us powerfully through Christian community. Christian community is essential. If I don’t have a church community I don’t even understand what I’m missing. I’ve heard people tell me they had no idea how different and amazing life can be until they plugged into a group.
It’s worth a fight even later in life to get your kids in church regularly. I’d say it takes consistent attendance for a few months before you’ll feel like you belong in a church. Relationships take time.
Let’s raise our children in God’s ways in our homes and in our churches. This is our superpower that has the ability to change the world!