Do you sometimes find that getting your kids to get up and go to church is a struggle? They have probably been going to church all of their lives, but for some reason they just don’t want to go to church.
If your childhood was anything like mine, going to church was not an option. If you lived in my parents house, you had to go to church, whether you liked it or not. Even though I didn’t go to the most kid friendly church, I was blessed enough to find a place of comfort where I could grow in the Lord.
Unfortunately, there are thousands of churches worldwide that just do not know how to effectively minister to children. Your church may be one of them. Here are 5 reasons why your children may hate going to church:
1. No Sunday Morning Ministry
It is interesting when you think about it. Church is the only learning environment where we expect a beginner to learn in the same environment as someone who is advanced. That is exactly what happens when a church doesn’t have a Sunday morning ministry for children. Why would any child want to go to a place where a bunch of adults sing and dance and discuss things that you have no idea about.
Imagine being a 10 year old and your biggest problem in life is dealing with another child at your school who consistently picks on you. When you go to church, they discuss adult issues. Mending a broken marriage or breaking down Matthew 10 really is not a big concern in your life. Why would you want to go to a place that wasn’t designed to address your issues. Yes, at 10 the child could sift through the information and try to relate it to their lives, but why do they have to be put through that?
2. The Children/Youth Ministry is Weak or Inconsistent
So maybe your church does not have a Sunday morning service or activities, but they have a youth ministry. Unfortunately, there are many youth ministries that are weak or inconsistent. They are supposed to meet once a week or a couple of times per month, but that doesn’t happen. Children are accustomed to having a routine. Whether they are willing to admit it or not inconsistency is a turn off.
3. They Are Not Engaged
It is not good enough to simply have ministries in place. It is important that the people serving in those ministries are effective. Ministry is a personal activity. An effective youth minister must be able to connect with the children. It is nice that they have activities and videos to watch. However, if the youth minister is not able to engage the children, the will not want to receive anything from him or her.
4. No Friends
Church is a very social environment. How long would you attend a church if you did not know anyone who went there? We all want to be able to have friends at our church, even if it is only one or two people. Children have the same needs that we do. Children want friends, especially at a place that they are required to attend every Sunday. Without friends, children will loose interest in going to church.
5. Somebody Hurt Them
Unfortunately, in our society, people say and do hurtful things. It is very possible that someone hurt your child physically or emotionally and now they don’t want to go back to church to get hurt again. Sometimes the hurt may have been unintentional, but nobody wants to be hurt whether you are a child or an adult.
What You Should Do
I suggest you sit down and have a serious talk with your children. Find out exactly why they don’t want to go to church. Let them know that you understand their concerns. There is a chance that your current church is not meeting the needs of your entire family. You must decide if this is important to you.
I appreciate the work being done by youth ministers around the world. However, when we treat children as an after thought and when we don’t make sure the ministry they are receiving is of a very high quality, we do a disservice to the body of Christ.
You may have a home where going to church is not an option. I can completely understand that. There is a chance that no matter where you go your children might find a reason to be unhappy. I strongly encourage you to pray first and let the Lord lead you from there.
Have you experienced your children not wanting to go to church? What did you do about it.