Don’t Do It for the Kids.
We went to both Disneyland and Disney World for the kids. We made multiple trips to the zoo, and for years we rode roller coasters at Six Flags Over Texas. We took in a wide variety of water parks, including one with a natural-fed spring that made us feel as if we were slipping into a slushy. We did all of this for our kids.
What we didn’t do was go to church for them. We went to church for us.
I visited with a woman recently who shared with me that she didn’t enjoy going to church. I think she said it was boring. When I asked her why they continued to go, she said, “We do it for the kids.” Hmm . . .
Going to church for the kids is like feeding them gummy bears and Kool-Aid while you sit and starve. Neither of you will get the nourishment you need.
When you choose to get nothing out of the sermon and fail to connect to the almighty God, you end up famished. If there’s anything positive about the experience for the kids, it’s likely just a sugarcoated shell.
To raise our children in a God-honoring Christian home, Steve and I had to feed our own souls first. We needed to attend a church that felt like home. We needed outstanding sermons that challenged us to learn. We needed music that moved us to worship. We needed a small group to hold us accountable and to connect us with other believers whom we in turn could love on. We needed teachers to guide us in our studies and show us how to apply what we learned.
We had to be intrigued. We had to be challenged—intellectually and spiritually. We needed to be in an environment where we could “open” ourselves to the Word of God.
To lead our children, we had to first be led.
As the kids grew older, youth programs and camps were important and kept them involved, but it was those sermons that we heard together as a family that were discussed over Sunday lunch. And it was those messages that built our foundation and insight into God’s faithful love that carried us all when we needed it the most.
The Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” Isaiah 29:13
Our children will not be able to vouch for us at the pearly gates. Worship from the heart, not just the lips. And don’t go to church for the kids.