A significant number of teens who grow up in church will go through phases in which they do not want to attend worship with you. This is a significant moment in your role as Trainer, as you seek to balance the importance of building such habits and not embittering him or her to church in the future. My recommendation is to make church attendance a mandatory part of life as a family. There are two important principles to remember in the process:
- First, help them understand the why behind the attendance. It’s your sincere desire that your children become passionate followers of Jesus, but you can acknowledge to them that you cannot force them to believe what you do. You can enforce, however, the value you place on this part of life for your family. In other words, even if they are not excited about the Lord (or at least, worship in the context of your local church), they can still come in order to honor you and the core values of your household. By attending worship, you are addressing the Walls of Isolation and Misplaced Priorities in the life of your child. Of course, once you arrive there you are addressing every unhealthy mindset you can imagine!
- Second, as your children grow into their teen years (or even as young adults who are living in your home), they may contend that they are too old to be “forced” to go. I would recommend in this case that you acknowledge that it would be counterproductive to do so, but share that if they are unwilling to attend worship with you in order to honor the household boundaries, they will be expected to use that time to contribute to your household in other ways – with extra chores, etc. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are; you have every right to set the expectations as long as they are living under your roof.
When you clearly explain the “why” of worship attendance – acknowledging that not every moment of every service will be for their entertainment, but that this is a value you hold dear that you wish to share with them – you pave the way to instill a lifestyle of worship in your child’s life.