When Should you start taking a child to Church?


The family is under attack! Make no mistake in this. The ideals of the home, the structure, the leadership have all being separated and diminished. While there are many factors that have led to this situation we should not dwell on why or how; but rather what can we do now?

Parents need to ask themselves:

  • Is my child a spiritual person?
  • Am I a spiritual person?
  • Am I raising my kids for the Lord?
  • Are there issues that need to be deal with?

No amount of information will matter if a parent does not recognize that there is a problem and desires to get a solution.

We will deal with several different topics and aspects as we move through these lessons. This lesson will concentrate on the understanding that the Church plays a pivotal part in the raising of children. Let’s look at a few verses about parents responsibilities:

Deuteronomy 6:4  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
[6] And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
[7] And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
[8] And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
[9] And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

If we are to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord it need to be in church. This is a necessary part of growing up in a Christian home. There is a movement today of home churches where small groups share their collective ignorance rather than working through the man of God as the Bible lays out. While you can find groups meeting in a home in the Bible it is never identified as a God called assembly or a church. The Church can/will play a vital roll in your child’s growth and development spiritually and socially.

Making this decision; consider these points:

1. We should start young… and when I say young I mean the first Church Service when mom comes out of the hospital. I’ve heard too many horror stories of parents that waited until the children were 5 years old or older and then take them to church. Then they realize the child has not learned yet how to sit.. the parents yell at the child for weeks to sit still and so at an early age you now have a child that associates the church with anger, frustration and embarrassment. For those parents that wait until the teen years the struggle becomes amplified as it is a constant struggle because they see the parents as a hypocrite trying to correct years of poor instruction and a parent who wants the child to be “spiritual” in a short time.  Again the child can resent the church because of this rapid, forced change. When we start the children young, show them and teach them to sit still… you will find that by 5 years old they are hearing and learning from the word of God in ways you can’t imagine… until you see the results.

2. Children need to learn to be still and know that He is God. I don’t understand why parents will get children in a habit to draw and play in church. This is not only a distraction to them… but all that are around them.

3. Children need to recognize the fear of the Lord… they learn that by the way from their parents.

4. Children hear and process information very effectively, they can form opinions and determine a course of action as early as 4. When a child hears a parent say something that they would not allow the child to say.. like when people bad mouthing the preacher, it begin to process that information and determine a course of action based of of available information. When they see parents act one way at church and another at home or in the car… they can loose respect for you and the church. Remember children are impressionable… so make a good impression.

5. Children enjoy what their parents do… whatever hobbies and activities that mom and dad enjoy, children naturally want to be apart of that. Church is no different. When parents enjoy going to church… so will the children. When parents treat church like a chore… so will the children.

6. Never expect more from your children that you expect from yourself.  Most churches meet for 3 services a week for a maximum of 1.5 hours of learning about God… but what about the other 166.5 hours in the week. That is where the Parent takes the lead. I have spoken with so many parents that have their children read their Bibles and pray everyday.. but have not cracked a Bible or prayed themselves since the last church service. Parents must take an aggressive role in their own spiritual growth, the child will naturally follow your lead.

Child patterns can be broken down by age span.

  • Ages1-5 – These children are impressionable, hungering for knowledge. This is the age that it is easiest to establish habits and patterns. The lessons taught in church must be magnified in the home at this age otherwise it will create mixed messages that will cause to child to act out. This is also the age that it is good to instill the basics of the fear of the Lord and to respect of God’s house.
  • Ages 6-10 – This age is when children here begin to practice those principles and foundations that they were introduced to at the ages 1-5. They are curious, but also seek to test boundaries. In doing so they will exceed the comfort zone and watch the reaction of those who established the boundary. If the parent here does not re-enforce the established set of rules and punishment for exceeding the boundaries the child will forge their own. This is also the age when children learn to manipulate the circumstances to work to their end. They will observe those things that aggravate a situation and judge responses. Make no mistake, children at this age are crafty and observant.
  • Ages 11-16 – Children in this age group are most susceptible to emotion whims. A parent must be at their best in their consistency. The world around this age is changing daily as they deal with social issues, responsibility, internal emotional changes and rapid changes to their bodies… they need a parent that is extremely consistent and is unwavering… you must be their stability. This will also be the time when you find out how you did for the first 10 years because the foundations you have built will be tested. Oft times this is the age when parents seek external assistance to cope with their child because they have not raised their child in a Godly home… I have seen so many destroyed homes because a parent begins forcing a child to be something that they are not… spiritual. Forcing a child to go to church expecting the church to fix the problems you have created CAN NOT WORK. There is a formula for this that will work and will be discussed in a later lesson.
  • Ages 17-19 – This is a child who will practice what they have been taught. Good or bad. Dealing with this age is simply trial by example. No longer is it, because I said so, but rather why. This age must understand why things are the way they are and how things work so they they can learn and make correct decisions. A child of this age must also be allowed to make mistakes, under guidance and with understanding. They have relied on the parent for 17 years and need to know that actions have consequences, yet in all, you will be there.

So in this lesson we have determine that the first, best option is to start with the child as a newborn so to allow you both to grow in Christ through the local church… however.. what if you child is already older. Future lessons, which I will link later below, will deal with each age group listed and what to do if you are seeking God’s guidance later in a child’s development.