Thursday, October 27, 2011

Train Up A Child Day 7

So just how important is it to drag your children to church even if it be while they are kicking and screaming- pouting and stomping- grumpy and hateful...

Train Up A Child Day Seven

7.  Train them to habits of diligence, and regularity about public means of grace.
Tell them of the duty and privilege of going to the house of God, and joining in the prayers of the congregation.  Tell them that wherever the Lord’s people are gathered together, there the Lord Jesus is present in an especial manner, and that those who absent themselves must expect, like the Apostle Thomas, to miss a blessing.  Tell them of the importance of hearing the Word preached, and that it is God’s ordinance for converting, sanctifying, and building up the souls of men.  Tell them how the Apostle Paul enjoins us not "to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is" (Heb. 10:25); but to exhort one another, to stir one another up to it, and so much the more as we see the day approaching.
I call it a sad sight in a church when nobody comes up to the Lord’s table but the elderly people, and the young men and the young women all turn away.  But I call it a sadder sight still when no children are to be seen in a church, excepting those who come to the Sunday School, and are obliged to attend.  Let none of this guilt lie at your doors.  There are many boys and girls in every parish, besides those who come to school, and you who are their parents and friends should see to it that they come with you to church.
Do not allow them to grow up with a habit of making vain excuses for not coming.  Give them plainly to understand, that so long as they are under your roof it is the rule of your house for every one in health to honour the Lord’s house upon the Lord’s day, and that you reckon the Sabbath-breaker to be a murderer of his own soul.
See to it too, if it can be so arranged, that your children go with you to church, and sit near you when they are there.  To go to church is one thing, but to behave well at church is quite another.  And believe me, there is no security for good behaviour like that of having them under your own eye.
The minds of young people are easily drawn aside, and their attention lost, and every possible means should be used to counteract this.  I do not like to see them coming to church by themselves, — they often get into bad company by the way, and so learn more evil on the Lord’s day than in all the rest of the week. 

Neither do I like to see what I call "a young people’s corner" in a church.  They often catch habits of inattention and irreverence there, which it takes years to unlearn, if ever they are unlearned at all.  What I like to see is a whole family sitting together, old and young, side by side, — men, women, and children, serving God according to their households.
But there are some who say that it is useless to urge children to attend means of grace, because they cannot understand them.
I would not have you listen to such reasoning.  I find no such doctrine in the Old Testament.  When Moses goes before Pharaoh (Ex. 10:9), I observe he says, "We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters: for we must hold a feast unto the Lord."

When Joshua read the law (Josh. 8:35), I observe, "There was not a word which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them." "Thrice in the year," says Ex. 34:23, "shall all your men-children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel."

And when I turn to the New Testament, I find children mentioned there as partaking in public acts of religion as well as in the Old.  When Paul was leaving the disciples at Tyre for the last time, I find it said (Acts 21:5)," They all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed."
Samuel, in the days of his childhood, appears to have ministered unto the Lord some time before he really knew Him. "Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him" (1 Sam. 3:7).  The Apostles themselves do not seem to have understood all that our Lord said at the time that it was spoken: "These things understood not His disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him" (John 12:16).
Parents, comfort your minds with these examples.  Be not cast down because your children see not the full value of the means of grace now.  Only train them up to a habit of regular attendance. Set it before their minds as a high, holy, and solemn duty, and believe me, the day will very likely come when they will bless you for your deed.


My husband and I have been blessed to have girls who have never fought us on church attendance. They have always loved to go to church and they always look forward to going.

Even my girls who are up there almost every day while I work in various areas, our church is as much home to them as our house. They help clean it, they help move stuff, they know their way around it, they can tell guest where everything is at because they are intimately involved in the service of our church.

Yes my children are the ones that you will see roaming the halls barefoot because their socks and shoes are piled up in the middle of the gym floor somewhere, and they will be laughing and giggling while most likely they are found standing at white board in a room with a dry-erase marker teaching each other Sunday school lessons.

My girls love to be in the house of the Lord and I believe they love it because they know it's home. The people there- they love as they love their aunts and uncles and cousins. They are family because we raised them with them. Our church is not a place we show up to for an hour on Sunday and then leave... Our girls are growing up serving in the church, not just making an appearance.

"I do not like to see them coming to church by themselves" I also have to say that this is one of things that has began to disturb me much here lately. The division of families in the church. We seem to have decided that is okay for our children who still live in our home to attend elsewhere than we do just because "at least they are going somewhere".

My step-daughter moved in with us when she was around 13 years old, her mother and step-father lived in North Carolina. About a year later her mother and step-father moved back to Alabama. My husband and I extended an invite for them to check out our church. They were always welcome in our home as was their family and we wanted them to know that they were just as welcome in our church home. I truly believe that at that point in time, we could have served the Lord with them within the same assembly of believers had they chose to buy a home in our area. Being a family united is just that important to us.    

I also used to teach children's church that occurred during Sunday morning worship and I truly believed the children needed to have this time to learn. However, I have grown to believe that they need this time... just not during Sunday morning worship. It's fun and they love it and it's so much easier as a parent of little ones to enjoy the service without having to hush or control little ones... but all of this is part of training them up... is it not?

"Neither do I like to see what I call "a young people’s corner" in a church." I have to admit that this is the first time that I have really thought about the youth corner...

So as for the youth corner, maybe we would not look over to see so much whispering, so much texting, if every once a while parents said, "No, honey, sorry but you are sitting with me... What your friend comes alone becasue their parents refuse to come? Well bring them to sit with us as well, and hopefully we can be an example to them for the family that they themselves will have one day..."

So parents let us be diligent to teach our children to not forsake the assembly.
Let us first teach by example.
Then let us teach by making it important enough to discipline them over.
"You go because I said go... period"

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