I came across this series of letters to parents the other day and found them insightful and helpful. Here is letter #4:
You attend church, and all of us that work to prepare exciting environments for your children are thrilled that you do. It’s obvious to us that you value what the Body of Christ can bring to your life, and to your familie’s life by attending together. For that be commended. However, please allow me to humbly remind you that church attendance is only the first part of spiritually leading your family. This letter is written to encourage you to talk about your experience at church with your children. Do you ever ask what they really learned? Not just if they had fun (which is an equally valid question, just not the most important information to get from them.) Do you ever tell your kids what you learned? Do you ever think to fall back on what your kid has learned when the situation arises during the week?
Here what can happen if you fail to talk about what happened at church this weekend.
- First, you can communicate that what we do at church is separate from the rest of our lives. // As parents we should be teaching our kids that God is the center of our lives and worthy of organizing all that we do around glorifying Him. But when we fail to talk about what happens at church, we are quietly telling them that what happens at church stays at church. This isn’t Vegas; it’s important to live out what we learn at church outside of the church walls! Work to destroy the walls between church attendance and real life.
- Second, you’re telling them that you didn’t learn anything. // You did learn something right? You are grateful for your experience in worship, right? You should be learning something, or being encouraged in some way with each encounter (and if you’re not please talk to someone.) Share with your children what you are learning, and how thankful you are for what God has showed you.
- Third, to not talk about church is to miss a key step in spiritually leading your children. // That’s a daunting phrase right there, isn’t it? “Spiritually leading your children.” Throw out all those images of nightly devotionals, and long family prayer services. You might get to that point eventually, but right now we are talking about just taking a small but deliberate next step toward nurturing their spirituality. When you fail to ask children what they’ve learned at church you are missing the easiest of easy times to talk to your kid about spiritual things. Take advantage of the awesome team of volunteers and leaders that teach your kids each weekend, and just use what they’ve already taught your children to start conversations. I bet some of them will even put things in your hands to help this happen!
It’s not too late to start talking with you kids today about what happened at church. Please don’t miss the opportunity that you have each time you attend church to start spiritual conversations at home with your children.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Children’s Pastor