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What does the Bible teach about making kids go to church with their parents?

After raising our children in church, at the age of 14 & 16 now, they do not want to go! We have always held the idea that we're just all going until you are grown, on your own, and can make that decision for yourself. As parents, are we wrong? 

Ephesians 6:1 - 4

ESV - 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise).

Clarify Share Report Asked May 21 2017 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Ideally, children should want to go to church, especially if their parents have set an example of church attendance for them. However, I would suggest that, from a Biblical standpoint, the point at which children should be able to make (and be accountable for) that decision on their own does not necessarily correspond with secular "milestones", such as the age when they are legally able to drive, vote, or drink alcohol, but occurs at a younger point, prior to the ages of the individuals mentioned in the question (even if they are still living at home under their parents' care).

The account of Jesus going with His parents to Jerusalem for the Passover at the age of twelve (Luke 2:41-42) indicates to me that He was, by that point, considered an adult male Jew from a religious standpoint, even though He was still living at home. From a personal perspective, I was accepted into full communicant membership in a Lutheran church at the age of fourteen, but still lived at home for another four years, when I went off to college.

As I said earlier, children still living at home should ideally want to go to church with parents who go, but (in my opinion) parents forcing or insisting on this point past a certain age (for example, once the children are in high school) might have an effect opposite to the one that the parents are seeking (Ephesians 6:4). If the parents have been conscientious in their Christian walk to that point, I would say that they have fulfilled their Biblical obligation to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6), and should then "let go and let God" by trusting in the promise of that same verse ("...and when he is old, he will not depart from it.")

Parents (even those who attend church) might also want to consider whether they might be conveying to their children by their own attitudes that church is somewhere that people "have to" go, rather than a welcomed, joyful opportunity to learn more about God, to give thanks to Him, and to meet with His people; and also whether the things that they as parents hear and learn about God in church are being reflected in their own words and conduct during the rest of the week. Children are experts at picking up on "disconnects" between what parents say and what they do.

May 22 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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