We know that artificially taking your kids to church neither bestows salvation nor guarantees it. External religious acts without heart worship obviously do not honor God. This type of legalism isn’t the subject of this discussion about church attendance.
This is about the weight of responsibility behind how parents prioritize their family’s time and lifestyle choices.
1. This is definitely a heart issue.
Maybe the reason our children have no love for Christ is because we as parents show no love or passion for Christ. That’s evidenced by how we prioritize our time both on Sundays and during the week. When we elevate TV, sports, school, hobbies, and even family itself to a place of idolatry and replace the vital Christian responsibilities? Then we tell our children that Christ is secondary to all these things.
By skipping church, we tell our children several things. We tell them it isn’t necessary to take up your cross and die to yourself daily to follow Christ. We tell them you can live for Christ only when it’s convenient for you. And we tell them it’s okay to sacrifice time with your all-satisfying Savior if something “more fun” or “more important” comes along. (Sarcasm indicated by quotation marks, if you didn’t catch that.) This sounds like a clear path to apostasy.
2. Parents are in charge.
Parents makes choices all the time for their families. As they decide what takes priority in the family, children carefully observe every choice and take it to heart. Yes, they’re watching you and learning from you. Skipping church speaks volumes to kids.
3. Let’s evaluate where our hearts are by observing our choices.
Do you prioritize the local church? Do you prioritize worshiping Christ at home and on Sundays? And do you prioritize serving and worshiping Him in the contexts of school and work?
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever miss a Sunday or have any extracurricular activities. Instead, it’s a sobering reminder that we shouldn’t put the things of God at the bottom of the priority list. That tells our children that Christ is at the bottom of our priority list. And the God of this universe doesn’t belong there.
My prayer is that we all improve in this area. But beware! Maybe we don’t see this as an issue because Christ isn’t a priority in our lives. And if He isn’t a priority in our lives, then our children will know and follow suit.
This article about skipping church originally appeared here.