It’s supposed to be a safe place for our children to learn about Christ, about His Word, about faith, about love, and about what living for the Lord looks like.
But sometimes the lessons they learn aren’t words of wisdom that will ground them for life. Instead they are lessons that leave scars on their hearts and undermine their faith.
Here are 10 things we don’t want our children to learn from church…
1. To think church is a place to hide themselves from the world
God calls us to be salt and light in a dark world. Our children will never change the world if they won’t leave the four walls of the church. (Matt 5:13-16)
2. To become judgmental and critical of those who aren’t like them
While the Bible tells us to judge with righteous judgement, it also tells us that God is the Judge. Judgement about what is right and wrong is essential. But judging others is God’s job. We need to teach our children that our job is to love people to Christ and leave the judging up to God – and to refrain from criticizing fellow believers who struggle with things they may never have struggled with. (Matthew 7:1)
3. To confuse preferences with doctrine
Music is a preference, not a biblical doctrine. The style of the way a church functions is a preference, not a biblical doctrine. The message is our purpose. The method is the means by which we share our message. The message can never change, but the methods should consistently be changing as our culture changes if we are going to meet people where they are and reach reach them for Christ. (Matthew 23:23-24)
4. To stay stuck in Status Quo and think traditions rule and things can’t change
Churches begin to die out when they start saying, “We’ve never done that before. Why would we change now?” Traditions are important but they shouldn’t prevent us from being current or missional. The Church has to be willing to change because the culture changes, the needs of the community change, the way we reach people today is very different than the way we were able to reach people in the 80’s. Jesus was relevant. He met people where they were. We need to do the same. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)
5. To argue about the insignificant instead of focusing on what really matters most
Too many churches have split over the color of the carpet, whether to use chairs or pews, or whether to call their class a small group or a Sunday School class. The Word of God calls us to focus on the eternal, not get caught up in the frivolous. (Colossians 3:2)
6. To be a hypocrite or think that everyone who goes to church is a Christian
Too many have been hurt by those who say they are Christians yet live as if they don’t know God. How often do we meet people at church who appear to be godly, who seem to know the Bible, who even hold teaching or leadership positions in the church, but they are vicious, backbiting, lying, and unloving people who have an obvious disparity between what they know, what they say and how they live? God help us teach our children to live what we say we believe and to be who we say we are. (2 Timothy 2:4)
7. To look at church as a protective Christian bubble and have a misconception of what the Church is and what the Church does
We are called to live on mission – to be missional – to be the church in the community, not just go to church once or twice a week. The Bible says we are the church… the called out ones. What we call the church is actually the building where the Church gathers together and worships the Living God. May we teach our children that we are the church and we go to worship. May we teach our children that, as the called out ones, God calls us to escape the Christian bubble and impact our communities and this culture for Christ. (Acts 1:8)
8. To think there are positions, power and Christian stars in the church
Bond servants. That’s what we all are. Every Christian has submitted their lives to God to become a servant. In a day when there seems to be Christian celebrities, it’s important to teach our children that Jesus is the only One we worship – that we can’t make an idol out of those who serve Christ along side of us. We honor our pastors and leaders because they have specific roles of service in the body… but Jesus is the star of this eternal show and He is the One who is who gets glory. (Acts 10:34)
9. To get used to being saved and become complacent, comfortable or callous – or to substitute serving God for knowing Him
The church is an amazing, wonderful forever family and when we meet together, it’s beautiful. But it’s easy to grow weary in the work if we don’t focus on Christ. It’s easy to allow ourselves to begin looking at our personal time with God as something we check off our to-do list. It’s easy to try to fill every need and then find ourselves burnt out because we aren’t functioning in the area of our giftedness or doing what the Lord is calling us to do. It’s easy to substitute serving God for knowing Him.
May we teach our children that greater than God’s call on our lives to serve Him is His call on our lives to know Him. (Matthew 22:36-40)
10. To think that the church is divided because of denominations, color or culture
The church is not a denomination… it is comprised of those who have been born again and become part of the family of God. Denominations exists for a variety of reasons. Some try hard to stand strong on what they believe the Bible teaches, others hold fast to traditions or family ties… ultimately, none of us can say we are infallible or that we have perfect understanding about every doctrine. And the church is not a divided entity, it is one church and Jesus is the head of the church. Some Christians worship in a specific church because the culture is familiar and comfortable… but color or culture should never divide those who Christ died to make one. (John 17:21)
There are a million and one things I want my children to learn at church – but there are some things I don’t want them to learn.
Do you agree or disagree? Have you seen any of these things that ought not be in the church?
This article originally appeared at The Mom Initiative.