Why Bringing Your Kids to Church Is Not Enough

The conversation goes like this. A well meaning parent comes up to me, expressing their desire to get involved with the church. Always curious, I ask why, and the answer I typically get is this: “I want my child to grow up in church.” Though certainly we should want our children to grow up in church, I’m gravely concerned with what is often meant by this innocent statement. Usually what people really mean is this: “I want my children to be raised with some sort of faith, preferably the Christian faith, because it was so important to my moral upbringing. Since I am either unwilling or unable to provide it myself, I’ve come to the church to get them to take care of the spiritual life of my child while I’ll take care of everything else.” To put it more simply, parents want to outsource the spiritual nurturement of their child to the church. 8483660163_3fd14630eb_z

Though I certainly welcome any family and any child into the community of the saints, I do want to challenge the idea of outsourcing the spiritual care of your children to the church. Unfortunately the church has only reinforced this mindset within many people through our programs and ministry methodology. We have taught parents to come and drop off their children where paid professionals stand by to handle the tenacious work of discipleship. As a former youth pastor, I’m fully aware that ministry to teens without the parents simply doesn’t work. The responsibility for the spiritual care of our little ones cannot be placed upon the church entirely, but rather the full weight of responsibility rests on the shoulders of daddy and mommy. God has called the parents to evangelize and disciple their children. The church then exists to come alongside mom and dad to equip them for their task and supplement what is already taking place at home.

So if you are a Christian parent, please bring your children to church, but you must do *more* than that. As any experienced parent will tell you, more is caught than taught. Therefore, in addition to just dropping your child off at church, we must model the Gospel to our children. We must live out what it means for Christ to be our greatest love and greatest treasure. We must display what it means to submit our lives to king Jesus and his authoritative word. If you take seriously your job as a parent, you must live out your faith to those little eyes who are always watching.

Here is the main point: In addition to bringing our kids to church, we must model a life of devotion to Jesus.

Though we certainly never do it for the show, our children should see our devotion to Jesus in action. Our children watch us in the most private and mundane of moments and they should see our professed love for Christ on display. They should see us pray and read the Bible, growing in our relationship with Jesus. Our children should be able to look to us as example of what the Christian life is. Sadly, for far too many families, Jesus only comes up on Sunday mornings and is ignored the rest of the week. When you tell your children to follow Jesus on Sundays, but ignore him every other day, chances are your kids will follow Jesus none of the days. Why? Because your own spiritual life screams hypocrisy.

How can mom or dad tell me Jesus is worthy of my devotion when they show no evidence of that devotion themselves? Why make Jesus the Lord of my life when he isn’t the Lord of theirs?

I’m afraid many parents do more harm than good by forcing their kids to go to church, teaching them that church is like broccoli—nobody likes to eat it, but you have to eat it because it's good for you.

I’ve talked with many parents who struggle with their children who don’t want to come to church, particularly in the teenage years. Every Christian parent encounters this at some point in their parenting, and parents should indeed require their children to come to church, whether they want to or not. Though what is most likely happening behind the scenes is something much bigger than just refusing to come to church; the teen calls the bluff on the parent’s hypocrisy, reacting against the parent who speaks out of the both sides of the mouth.

We must repent of our Janus-faced parenting and confess our hypocritical compartmentalization. After all, the goal of our parenting is not to produce well-behaved, moral little monsters, but contrite sinners, redeemed by the blood of the Christ. If we hope our children will join the redeemed, we must not cast doubt on the truth Gospel by our hypocritical life. Parents must authentically live out their faith before their children. Though we may have the rest of our church fooled, our children are not. Our rehearsed play-acting will only put a bitter taste of Christianity into our children’s mouths. We need less Christian thespians, and more parents who authentically, consistently, and genuinely live their lives in devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

So bring your kids to church, but you better demonstrate devotion to Christ in your private life. If not, your legalistic requirement of church attendance and your hypocrisy could very well estrange your children from the Christ you profess to love.

How Moms Change the World

Mothers are a gift from the Lord. Yet, our society tends to treat motherhood as a pretty worthless task. Many seem to think that motherhood should be on the back burner to personal ambition. Children are often seen as burdens who hold back women from true fulfillment and success. This just goes to show us how twisted our culture's definition of success truly is. What is the measure of a woman? Is it the position in her corporation or the amount on the paycheck? Is it the degrees she has attained or influence she possesses? Is motherhood a waste of a good intellect and a sound education? I would say most assuredly not. Motherhood is one of the most glorious callings a woman can attain in this life. There is no task more urgent, demanding, and eternally significant than the calling of a mother. Companies will go bankrupt and money will be spent, but the legacy of investing into the next generation has ramifications that ripple into eternity. Here is how Moms change the world.

1. Mothers Disciple the Next Generation

Motherhood is in essence a lifelong discipleship with children. From infancy to adulthood, moms teach and train the next generation to function in the world. Moms not only do this in a practical sense, but the Christian mom does this in a spiritual sense. She is not only working to send out productive, responsible adults from her nest, she is also seeking to send out faithful, reproducing disciples of Jesus.

A Christian mom spends her life praying for her children, teaching them the Bible, singing spiritual truths, and counseling in scriptural wisdom. Motherhood is a 24/7 discipleship journey. Motherhood is one of the most fruitful ways for a woman to fulfill the Great Commission given to us by Jesus.

2. Mothers Demonstrate the Love of Christ

Mothers tangibly show their children the love of Christ. Before a child can even speak, a faithful mom has already shown the love of Christ. True love is a sacrificial love that has others best interest at heart. Jesus did this for us by going to the cross on our behalf, sacrificing his life so we could be forgiven of our sins. So to do Moms sacrifice and give to their children through blood, sweat, and tears.

If you desire to see true love lived out, watch a godly mom with her children. She is tender in kindness, compassionate in disappointments, fierce in rebuke, gentle in hurt. She sacrifices and gives until she has nothing left. She is hard working, never seeking any praise or pay check for her efforts. With a smile on her face she does the menial tasks no one in the family wants to do. She gladly count herself as loss for the good of he family. She gives and gives to the expense of herself.

As children watch the life of their mom, they are able to better comprehend the love of Christ as they see that loved lived out through their moms.

3. Mothers Create a Legacy

Yes, mothers do change the world in a way even the most powerful executive never could. The legacy of raising and discipling children makes an eternal impact, not only on the souls of your children but for generations to come. As mothers pass the baton of the Gospel from one generation to the next, the mission of God spreads as more and more disciples are made. The world is changed through Jesus Christ as disciples are made and His glory spreads. Motherhood is often the front lines of the Great Commission.

So even though society might seem to devalue motherhood as an insignificant or menial task, do not believe those lies. Motherhood is a glorious task and calling from God to change the world through the discipleship of your children. There is no task more urgent, important, or significant that your work as a mom.

Thank You Moms for Changing the World

To all you moms who sacrifice and give to your children and who seek to raise them in the Lord, I thank you. On this mother's day I want to especially thank my own mother, Ginny Deeter, who so faithfully lived out these three truths. I also want to thank my wife Kaitlyn for her dedication and commitment to the glory of God in the discipleship of our son Jude and any other future Deeter children.

Moms, may the Lord find you faithful in this weighty task he has given you, and may He receive all glory, honor, and praise through your life.  As you faithfully serve as a mother you are in fact changing the world for the glory of God.