Observation: Both home school parents and parents who send their children to Christian schools often elect to keep their children out of church sponsored ministries. They reason that their children are getting enough input from the home and/or the school. Some say that the children aren’t challenged from what they learn at church. Some say their child is already learning memory verses and to add more is a strain for them. Some say spiritual training is the role of parents and not of the church.
Problem: The problem with this kind of an approach is that many of these children are growing up disconnected from their church family to whom they are to be intimately connected. When these children are entering Jr. & Sr. High parents are coming with great concern stating that their child doesn’t want to come to church. They aren’t connecting with anybody. What’s worse is when they go off to college, they are leaving the church altogether.
At the root of the problem is a misunderstanding of the church. The church isn’t a place we go to, it is fundamentally who we are. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13 “For we were all baptized by One Spirit into one body …and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” I gave a message one time at CBC entitled: Don’t go to church…Be the church! How you view the church (as a place I attend or as my identity) makes a huge difference in how you will parent your child in these matters. When you see your identity and your child’s identity as the church you will do everything possible to integrate your family’s life with the life of the church. You will work hard to build bonds of love with other families. You will prayerfully labor to encourage your child to build a peer group among the church family. Most teens find this very encouraging as they navigate their way through those sometimes turbulent teen years. And if by chance your child isn’t being challenged by the church group…challenge your child to make a difference. Encourage him/her to go and love the other students and urge them on to greater fullness in Christ. The truth is we can’t make “the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph 4:16) when we and our children aren’t vitally engaged in the lives of others.