We all have been there. It’s seven in the morning on Sunday and your two young children are screaming and crying about having to get ready and dressed for church. They want to stay home so they can watch cartoons and run around in the yard. You almost let them, because the thought of having to keep them both quiet in the middle of a sermon sounds impossible. What will the rest of the congregation think when your children start getting antsy?
Church for children can be a boring place, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are other opportunities for kids to get involved in church that is not only exciting and fun, but educational as well. Taking your children to church is such an important part of their spiritual journey, so it’s vital you do what you can to make it something they want to be a part of. Here are some ways to get your children excited about Jesus.
Show them your own passion.
Children look up to their parents, there is no changing that. Therefore, when a parent is grumpy, tired, and unenthusiastic it rubs off on the kids. Have you ever gotten up early on Sunday and immediately start complaining about how you have to get ready? This will only make your children annoyed as well.
Instead, set the tone by always showing an excitement and passion about Jesus. Whenever you are about to head to church, explain to your kids why it is important. Tell them why you wear nice clothes and that it shows that you are trying your best for God. This will help them understand why they are going.
Enroll them in Sunday School.
Most sermons are built for adults, not children. This makes it hard for your kids to not only understand God but to want to get excited about Him. They need to learn about God in a way that is in simple terms and on their page.
Sunday School is one of the best places for that. Almost all churches offer it in some form, and have teachers that are able to share Jesus in way that make sense to their age group. This can include watching educational videos like Veggie Tales for the young kids, and having discussions about God and high school for the older teens. After Sunday School, sit down with your children and talk to them about what they learned and how they can apply it during the upcoming week.
Take them to special events.
Sunday morning doesn't have to be the only time that your kids step foot in church doors. Most churches will host fun events around the holidays that are perfect for children to attend, for example. They might host a fun Christmas pageant or a trick or treat fall festival. Check your church bulletin for a listing of upcoming events.
Even when it’s not the holidays, churches are hosting events to get people inside the doors and excited about faith. Take a look at churches all around your city that might be hosting things like hayrides, movie nights, game nights or funny skits. Your children can also make some new friends this way that have parents with similar values as yours.
Pray as a family.
A relationship with Jesus Christ is not one that stops when you leave the building of the church. Children might have a hard time understanding this because God isn't someone they "see" all the time. It's important to keep their focus on Christianity during the week as well, and one of the best ways to do this is by praying together.
As a family, make it a habit to pray a few times a week. This could be a quick prayer before a meal, a protection prayer before bedtime, or a long-form prayer that speaks about your children's hopes and dreams. As a parent, make it a habit to talk to your kids about their opinions, life satisfaction, and the like. What your child thinks and feels matters, and can be lifted up in prayer to the Lord.
Help them make church friends.
While offering Sunday School is one way churches can make themselves more appealing and accessible to children, it doesn’t always guarantee that your kids will want to go. If there’s nothing wrong with the kids’ or teens’ program and its leaders but your child is still uninterested, helping them make friends can help. After all, what kid doesn’t want to hang out with their friends on a regular basis?
Help your child make friends by encouraging your child to invite other children over to hang out, or by inviting other parents with kids your child’s age over for dinner if your child is shy. Instead of just bringing your child to Sunday School, let them participate in more activities so they have time to get to know everyone and fit in.
Ask for God’s help.
If you have tried just about everything you can think of and your children still aren't excited about going to church, do not be afraid to reach out for help. Talk with God and pray to Him that your children will one day find Him. Put all your worries, stress, and fear on His plate so that you can have a clear mind to lead your family.
You can also reach out to close church friends or leadership, and ask for their opinions on how to get your children passionate. God may work through them to help come up with a solution that is perfect for your family. God works in amazing ways and may just surprise you.
Discover their spiritual interests.
Your child is a special gift from God and each has a unique personality and set of special skills. Your child might love helping others, for example, so taking them to a church volunteer event will help them feel involved and closer to Christ. Your child might also be a great actress, so getting involved in church plays is a way to honor the Lord.
Take time to discover your child’s interests. If your child loves action, love, drama and adventure, the bible provides all those elements and more. Once you learn their interests, encourage them to find ways to incorporate the church into their hobbies.