Thursday, October 29, 2009


I was recently asked to respond to the following concern:

“Our two teens are not attending church with us and we are not making them. I don't want to turn them off of the church, but want them to go. I thought about actually making them go every other week or once a month so that we can go as a family. My husband is hesitant to do this. What do you suggest? I am praying about it...but when we are at church all I can think of is how the kids would really enjoy it if they just would give it a try.”

Because I am a proponent of an organic community church, this is somewhat difficult for me to respond to without going into details about my opinions regarding “choosing” and “going to” church. I’ll make every effort to be sensitive to and stay focused on your concerns.

Allow me to begin my response with a caution: As parents we have a tendency to attempt to manipulate our children into doing what we want. Although this may be subconscious on our part, our children are most often able to read through our controlling efforts. Before taking any action, ask God to show you your true heart. Honestly consider if you are truly concerned for your children’s best interest or seeking to meet personal needs in this situation.

It is so important to openly and honestly communicate with your children about your concerns. Express your desire for them to go, as well as your fear of forcing them. Ask them why they aren’t interested in going. Make every effort to listen with a genuine attitude of caring about what's in their hearts. A negative response on your part will alert your children that you are seeking your desire rather than truly being concerned for them. In fact, such a negative reaction toward them is a good litmus test for you of where your heart truly is.

Ask them if it would help to have a leader from the church come to visit with your family. In fact, it may be helpful if a few teens could come along and visit with your family about their experience at that church.

Your teens need to know that you sincerely need their input regarding whether or not this is even a good church to attend. Be sincere when you ask for their input. Teens are often more aware that "something's not right here" than we adults who have been raised in the institution. In fact, teens’ lack of interest in “going to church” is often because they have been turned-off by the institutional system. Whether they realize it or not, they are looking for the organic life which Jesus desires for His people.

Sometimes it seems more helpful to teens to start them out working with a project that the youth are involved in rather than dragging them to a “church service”. For example; while helping the homeless downtown, they will become acquainted with other teens and adults from the church and get a feel for whether or not there is life-giving water flowing out of those people. This may be the best place to start.

I hope my response has been helpful. I’m honored that you've included me. I will surely be praying for your family. Keep me updated.


No comments:

Post a Comment