If your kids whine and complain about going to church, you’re not alone. Let’s face it. There are many distractions in our culture, and kids and teens just wanna have fun. Our culture screams, “Play more video games!” and “Go see a movie with your friends!” and “Scroll on social media!” and “Play with your new toy!”
The truth is, church can’t really compete with your child’s new video game or hanging out with friends. Those things sound way more fun than going to church. But this is where we need to step up and be the parent. When they complain about doing the dishes or taking out the trash, do you let them out of it? Of course not! Learning to serve the family and help with family chores is an important part of teaching them responsibility and selflessness.
Good parents do what’s best for their children despite the groaning and grumbling. It’s the same when it comes to church attendance. The good news is this: if you share with your family why going to church is important, the complaints might stop, and your children may have a better attitude about it.
Here are just a few of the best reasons why your family needs to go to church.
#1 Go to Church to Obey God’s Word
This is pretty straightforward. Be sure to explain to your family that the Bible tells us to attend church:
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near (Hebrews 10:24–25 nlt).
Clearly, the writer of Hebrews understood the tendency of people to get lax in attending church, so he spelled it out for us here. How are we supposed to “motivate one another” and “encourage one another” if we don’t see each other? We need to be committed to “meeting together” on a regular basis just like the early church did (Acts 2:46 nlt).Also, Jesus regularly attended the synagogue, even when He was a child (Luke 2:41–52 nlt). Jesus undoubtedly “grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people” because He regularly attended religious services as a youth. As an adult, He went to synagogue to learn from the religious leaders and later to teach about God’s Kingdom (Luke 4:16).
#2 Go to Church to Connect with Other Believers
God never intended for us to do life or faith alone; He wants us to connect with other believers so we can “encourage and comfort one another and build up one another” (I Thessalonians 5:11 amp) and “carry one another’s burdens [and] . . . fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 csb).
We need people in the church, and they need us. No one has everything figured out, but when we come alongside each other, we can help each other live more passionately for God, challenge each other, and hold each other accountable.
God wants us to minister to others using the gifts He has given us (Romans 12:3–8). It’s difficult to fulfill First Peter 4:10 (csb) when we don’t hang around other believers: “Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” God doesn’t give us gifts to keep to ourselves; He wants us to serve others with the gifts He’s given us.
If you’re a good cook, bring a meal to someone who is sick. If you’re good with children, offer to serve in the church nursery or kids’ church. If you’re a good at singing, join the worship team. If you’re super friendly and outgoing, become a greeter. No matter what your gift is, serve the Body of Christ—your church—with it. This blesses others and gives you purpose too—it’s a win win!
#3 Go to Church to Grow and Mature in Your Faith
We can only grow so much on our own. Proverbs 27:17 (niv) says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We need each other to grow and mature in our faith and to keep each other spiritually sharp.
Second Timothy 2:15 (niv) says “to present [ourselves] to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” God gave us “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service” (Ephesians 4:11–12 niv). Unless we stay in the Word and learn from preachers and teachers (who have often gone to Bible school and done extensive Bible study), we won’t grow up. If we don’t want to “be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming,” (Ephesians 4:14 niv), then we need to attend church, hear God’s Word preached, and learn from those who God has called to deliver His message.If we want to get stronger in our faith, we need to hear God’s Word. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17 (niv).
#4 Go to Church to Fulfill the Great Commission
After Jesus died, and before He went up to heaven, He gave His disciples the Great Commission. He charged them with reaching the whole world with His Kingdom message. This is no small task. That’s why it takes all of us to fulfill it.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:18–20 nkjv).
Each and every believer has a part to play in fulfilling this Great Commission, and we must all partner together to achieve it. This this one of the main reasons the Church exists—to come together and reach the world. Your family doesn’t want to miss out on this adventure!
Finally, while going to church is vital for families for all of the reasons above, remember that you are your family’s first teacher. It’s your responsibility to teach your children about God’s Word and ways so they will obey God and have a good, successful, long life (Deuteronomy 11:9). You should be teaching your children about the Lord (Deuteronomy 11:19–21), but they will learn even more about Him at church.
A final thought: your kids will enjoy church and get a lot more out of it when you attend a church that offers classes and services specifically for children. When kids can learn about Jesus in a way that makes sense to them at their level, they will be begging you to go to church—you won’t have to drag or force them.