I’ve had this one stirring in my heart for some time now, because I love the local church, I am so thankful that my parents raised me in the local church, and I really do believe that it’s vitally important that all Christians raise their children in the local church as well. However, I haven’t hit “post”, and there’s a few reasons for that. First, my heart is not at all to come across as a parenting “know it all”. I know little to nothing about parenting; in fact, most days, I’m figuring it out as I go. Raising our children in church is one of the few decisions I don’t question. Second, going to church is important, but it doesn’t save you. Your children will not receive the gift of salvation simply because they were raised in church. Salvation only comes from believing in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and trusting in Him for the forgiveness of sins. There are many people who did not grow up in church but are now following Jesus, and vice versa, there are many people who did grow up in church who are not following Jesus. Taking them to church isn’t some kind of special formula. We must remember that the Holy Spirit is the One who works to bring about salvation. Third, it’s not the church’s job to disciple your children. As parents, we must never forget that the Lord has commanded us to be the main ones who disciple our children. The church is an important aspect of that, but we must teach them the love of Christ as we go about our daily lives as well (Deuteronomy 6:7-9), not just on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Goodness! Now, with all of that said, let me pose this question: Does it matter that you take your kids to church?
If your kids are anything like mine, your newborn probably sleeps through everything and your toddler probably thinks church is the ultimate Goldfish factory. Wouldn’t it just be easier to just stay home? After all, getting kids ready for church can be exhausting. I mean, let’s be honest, if someone is going to ruin an outfit, be extra difficult, etc. it’s going to be on a Sunday morning when you’re trying to get everyone out the door for church.
So, does it matter that you take your kids to church? Yes. It matters more than you know.
Even though your babies are little, by taking them to church, you’re laying a foundation for what is truly important. You’re setting a precedent for what your family’s priorities will be. One day, your sleeping newborn and Goldfish loving toddler will grow up. They’ll grow up to be first graders who learn about worship through the children’s music ministry, fifth graders who learn to memorize Scripture in Sunday school, eighth graders who find other Jesus-loving friends to get them through those awkward middle school years, and high school seniors who know theology and can defend their faith as they head into adulthood. Your children will grow up knowing that being a part of and serving in the local church is an essential part to following Jesus. They’ll grow up learning to love Jesus and His people.
Another reason why it matters that you take your kids to church? It takes a village to raise children, and there’s no better village than the local church. I have always loved the local church, but I love it even more now that I have children. My heart overflows with joy when I see my two year old’s face light up when he sees his friends, our students, and his teachers. “Thank you” isn’t enough to express how grateful I am to the people who are already teaching my toddler that Jesus loves him or to the sweet people who will show my newborn the love of Jesus by rocking and loving on him. This village will also pray for your children. Many people have heard about how one week my son was diagnosed with craniosynostosis and was scheduled for skull surgery, and then the next week, his diagnosis was changed and the surgery was no longer needed. Our entire church (and many others) was praying for Isaac. It is so sweet to know that your babies have other believers praying to the Father for them.
So, yes, right now, to my children, church means napping and Goldfish, but I am praying that one day it will mean worshipping their Savior, learning from His Word, serving Jesus, and fellowshipping with His people. The body of Christ and the local church is a beautiful thing; start sowing that seed in your sweet babies now.