When Christ commanded, “Suffer the children, forbid them not, to come unto me,” He reacted to disciples who thought Christ was too important for children. Today, many parents don’t think bringing children to Christ is important enough. Sports activities, family reunions, mini-vacations, and more seem to keep families from consistent church attendance. For centuries it’s been a tradition for people of faith to attend church and people who are not committed to their faith to stay home or pursue some other interest. Today, it’s not uncommon to hear that people who consider themselves followers of God commonly follow their self-interests on the Lord’s Day – Sunday. If parents cannot find motivation to attend church for their own spiritual welfare, we’ll provide some reasons why every kid should be in church every Sunday.
1. Honoring God with the first day of the week teaches the proper priorities of life. When we consecrate the first day of the week to corporate worship, we take the first step toward consecrating the entire week toward personal worship. This concept applies to children just like adults, only on an elementary level. Why should children care about obeying God’s commands, like “Children obey your parents,” when He’s not important enough to worship on His day.
2. Church attendance teaches children dedication to something other than their self-interests. Unfortunately, the Lord’s Day has been replaced with a day off of work to do whatever families please. This sends the message that dedication to self exceeds the value of worship. It’s difficult enough teaching kids they are not the center of the universe. Self-esteem psychology has become America’s childhood religion. Everything marketed to kids preaches the idea that what they want matters more than anything else. When parents make church the family’s number one interest on Sunday, kids learn there’s a High Power whose interests overshadow any child’s or adult’s.
3. Church attendance teaches children a religious discipline that needs to be developed early. From a carnal perspective, who wouldn’t rather accept an invitation to a sporting event or feast at a backyard cookout on Sunday? No one has to be tempted to choose instant gratification over spiritual growth. Our flesh already desires that, but when we grab for things that offer instant gratification rather than Sunday worship, we forfeit something that counts for eternity. Likewise, we fail to teach our children habits that benefit them for years to come.
4. Church attendance teaches children what is important to mom and dad. Understand that church attendance does not stand alone as a spiritual issue. Spiritual issues rise and fall together. If someone cannot be faithful to church, it’s unlikely that they are solid in other areas of their spiritual life. If you want your children to believe you value other spiritual matters (e.g. purity, kindness, work ethic, honesty), show them by taking them to worship on Sunday. Mom and dad should be the worship leaders in the home, and their leadership starts with modeling.
5. Church attendance teaches children what types of associations benefit them. Children benefit from fellowship with other families and teaching from Christian leaders. As they observe the body of Christ engage in missions, benevolence, and service, children learn what Christian fellowship entails.
Nothing has been mentioned yet about all the reasons why adults should attend church. The command to attend the assemblies of believers (Heb. 10:25), to learn from God’s servants (Eph. 4:11), and to worship corporately (Eph. 5:19) should land every Christian adult in church on Sunday morning. And if there was not biblical command, the spiritual benefits abound. The same applies to our children. Jesus’s parents took Him to church, and He didn’t even need it. We have no excuse.