Church attendance is as basic to the Christian life as brushing teeth is to hygiene and cavity prevention. If we don’t brush, our teeth will decay. If we skip out on church, our faith will rot.
So what are a few things we can do at home to help our kids understand and appreciate the value of church? How can we practically go about passing on the Christian faith that we have onto our children?
1. Practice Parts of the Service Together
One of the easiest ways to reinforce what happens in church at home is to practice different parts of the service throughout the day with your kids.
At our church, we sing the Gloria Patri ("Glory Be to the Father"). So at home, before our kids go down for a nap, we will sing them the Gloria Patri. If your church prays the Lord’s Prayer, be sure to tuck them in at night after reciting the Lord’s Prayer together.
If your church does not use a liturgy, you can still pray together and practice parts of the service at home. Go over the passage in the Bible that your pastor preached last week. Whatever you do, be sure to do it together as a family.
2. Pray for Your Pastor
Praying for our pastor helps our children recognize the power of God working through prayer in the ministry of the Word and the life of the congregation. Before bed, my son and I choose a few people to pray for.
One person that always makes the list is our pastor. By praying for the pastor, we also instill in our kids the priority the church has over our lives. We prepare each week for the next, and the climax of our preparation is the ministry of the Word on Sundays.
3. Pray for Your Church Family
Our kids love church right now. This is largely because they have playmates at church, and they look forward to seeing them each week. Ask your children to pray for one of their best friends.
I like to ask my son whom he wants me to pray for, and he always mentions his favorite people first. Teach them about how the church is our first family. Water—through baptism—is thicker than blood. They will learn this through regular, daily prayer for their church family.
4. Sing What Your Church Sings
Pick a song from your worship service each month and, when everyone is finished with dinner, sing it together. By singing the songs of the church, you will teach your children to memorize songs that they will remember for the rest of their lives. There is a reason Psalm 23 has been the most frequently recited psalm at funerals. This psalm was so familiar to an entire generation of people who were raised singing it that, as they have gone to their deathbeds, the song has gone with them.
5. Talk to Your Children and Let Them Ask Questions
It’s important to be honest with your kids, and always let them be honest with you. Sometimes it’s good to let them interrupt the routine in order to have them ask something that will help them mature.
Be authentic in your answers—if you don’t know the answer, tell them that. They will appreciate your honesty and will learn more from how you act than from what you say during this time.
6. Model Forgiveness in Your Home
Forgive them as God in Christ forgave you. When we sin in front of or against our own children, we should be the first to admit it and be quick to ask for forgiveness from them. When they sin against us, we should have them own what they did wrong and forgive them for it.
Only by modeling the grace of God in Christ in this way will they see the wonder of the gospel and the sweetest news of Christianity. God shows steadfast love to thousands of those who love him and keep his commandments (Exod. 20:6; Dan. 9:4).