God has no grandchildren.Getting Your Kids Through Church Without Them Ending Up Hating God,
BLUF: Kids come have to come to faith on their own. Parents guide them, but must get out of the way.
We’ve decided to divide and conquer today. Steve and the kids are upstairs about to start Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m downstairs about to load the dishwasher and sweep the pet fur and do other cool and interesting things like that. This is all fine with me, by the way. By sheer volume of hours, I spend a lot more time with the kids than Steve does. I even have time to goof off with them during the week. So I’ll let them enjoy their movie. I’m glad I’m not staring down a work week.
It turns out that virtual church has been just as hard to gain momentum around as normal church had been. Just before Coronavirus, the last time we attempted church we had arrived so late, that the kids refused to go into the kids’ worship service. Steve and I brought them into the sanctuary where they squirmed and made noise and we ended up leaving early. Of note, my kids are not little! They are capable of sitting still for entire school days. What I’m dealing with is some kind of philosophical church parenting problem.
In the book quoted above (an on-the-nose title, I know), the author’s main point is to stress the role of parents in developing their kids’ faith—specifically the limits of parents’ influence. He emphasizes that parents cannot bear full responsibility for their kids’ spiritual journey. Kids have to come to faith for themselves. There are a lot of ways to model and help kids along (he makes a big point of the value of youth groups) but forcing Christianity could do more harm than good. I 100% believe this.
So where does this leave me? Today, I invited them. I appealed to their desire to make me happy (“Please just come sit with me while I watch,”). It worked last weekend (Easter!), not so much today. I guess I just keep trying. Maybe I get creative and bring in donuts and park them in front of the TV. I guess this works for normal churches. There is something to persistence and perseverance and continuing to try. Maybe this is the point the author is really trying to make.