9 Simple yet Powerful Tips to Help Your Kids Love Church

Author of Someplace to Be Somebody
9 Simple yet Powerful Tips to Help Your Kids Love Church

This scenario occurs in almost every city throughout the world where Christians are free to worship. Mom and Dad have to cajole their children to attend church services with them. Everything from promises of “after-church” treats to threats of fire and brimstone reach kids’ ears on Sunday mornings. So, what do you do when your kids don’t want to go to church services?

Foundational Practices

It makes sense that parents who desire their children to attend church services are themselves believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s important to tell your children what it means to be a Christian. Explain the whole Gospel to them, including sin and its penalty. Some would sugarcoat the Gospel and leave out sin. Don’t do it. Presented in a loving and compassionate way, the Gospel is compelling to children of all ages.

In general, the first and most important habit to form and continue is prayer for your children. Our knees may wear out, but God will provide joy that overtakes any physical wounds. The Bible tells us the prayers of the righteous avail much (James 5:16).

Make sure your children witness you and your spouse reading God’s Word and praying individually and together as a couple. Children are naturally curious, and when they see what you do on a consistent and reverent basis, they will usually follow your lead. Promoting a quiet time in your home displays the importance of the times you spend reading the Bible and praying (silently and aloud).

Daily devotions with your children is another way to introduce your children to God’s Word and give them comfort with hearing God’s Word read aloud and discussed. Another bonus is that as you help teach your child learn how to read, use the Bible in your instruction time. This habit will help your kids understand what is being taught by you and instructors in the church.

For Those with Young, School-Age Kids

For many children, attending church services is like going to a foreign country with unknown people and a strange language. Parents (and older siblings) can assuage this discomfort with a few simple activities.

Invite your pastor and his wife to your home for a time of fellowship and breaking bread together. Your kids can help prepare your home and the simpler food items (if they are of age). It’s always easier acting as a host because you are welcoming people into your home environment. This gives your younger children an introduction to the key people they will see as you gather with your church.

Another invitation you can extend is to families who have children of similar ages as your kids. When your kids have at least a few friends with whom they can interact in the church, they may actually look forward to Sundays and time spent with their acquaintances.

Tips for after Services

1. Start right after you leave your church service. Ask your kids what they enjoyed about the morning, and what they learned. When you pick them up from their classroom, take a moment to ask the teacher what he or she taught that day, so you are ready for a discussion. For instance, if they learned about Daniel that morning, you might add an interesting tidbit about Daniel that the teacher didn’t cover (Daniel was probably around fifteen when he was carried off to Babylon, or that Babylon was about 900 miles away, with a strange language and even stranger customs). It takes a lot of planning and work, but the discipling process is a key to your kids’ growth in the Christian life.

2. Create a culture in your home where church activities are the norm. We all know being the Church is more than attending Sunday services. In addition to our family time of Bible study and prayer, the church is called to serve each other and our communities. As your church body plans and implements times of fellowship and community outreach ministries, take an active part and include your children.

3. Plan a mid-week time where you can investigate some other truths about what your children learned the past Sunday. Start with an investigation into what the Bible says, and then add fun and engaging activities stemming from books, crafts, and even movies. The children can then share what they discovered with other children the following Sunday.

4. Prepare for Sunday on Saturday evening. The time you all take winding down after a day full of happenings can be a time to quiet yourselves and your children. You can pray together and ask the Lord to prepare your hearts for what He has for you Sunday morning.

5. As your children become more comfortable with the church’s environment and people, it’s probable they will be eager to join you each Sunday. And once they gain comfort, they may feel led to invite friends from school and from your neighborhood.

All these steps make it a healthy environment for God to work in your kids’ lives. Teaching them about the Lord and about His church is pre-discipleship, readying your kids for what the Lord may do.

For Those with Older Teenagers and Grown Children

By the time your children are into their developed teens and even adult years, your childhood and pre-teen efforts to ground them into a fervency for church attendance will either bear much fruit or a little. As their bodies mature physically, so does their independent spirit. Not every effort will succeed, but make sure your children have a firm foundation of the Gospel truth as taught by you and your pastor and their teachers.

1. The Bible tells us to not forsake gathering with the church (Hebrews 10:24-25). This admonition from Scripture becomes even more important for children as they mature. Hopefully, the church friends your children made as youngsters have been nurtured into lifelong friends, and the attendance of church services has been a joyful part of their friendships – one they plan to continue.

2. Make them know they are missing something huge if they are not going to church services with you. As your children mature, they are more prone to fear of missing out (FOMO). You can use that to their advantage, because missing out on what God is doing is to miss joy and growth in Christ.

3. Find a church that prioritizes the gospel message, not putting on a dramatic show on Sunday mornings. Some churches use these things to draw people in, but God’s Word is exciting enough. When your children have been raised with the wonders of God’s Word in action as written and as He works in your family’s life, His truth will cause them to know what a church service is to be, and not be. Seeing this will help them appreciate the transforming nature of the Scriptures.

4. Encourage your teens and older children to nurture relationships with younger Christians and disciple them. They can then begin the habit so lovingly begun by you when they were children.

Everything you do will involve time and effort, but as your child grows in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, their interest will also grow, and you may be blessed with an eager believer who hates to miss being with the church. Keep exemplifying Christ to them, no matter their age or station in life, and never stop sharing His goodness. 

RELATED PODCAST: In this episode, Host Catherine Segars talks about the wounds that can happen when we walk closely with other believers in the church. She also reveals the central role that the church plays in our lives as believers and in the world, because knowing that divine design helps us to stay planted when we are tempted to leave.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/zeljkosantrac

Lisa Baker 1200x1200Lisa Loraine Baker is the multiple award-winning author of Someplace to be Somebody. She writes fiction and nonfiction. In addition to writing for the Salem Web Network, Lisa serves as a Word Weavers’ mentor and is part of a critique group. She also is a member of BRRC. Lisa and her husband, Stephen, a pastor, live in a small Ohio village with their crazy cat, Lewis.