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Are you concerned about your kids not going to church? You should be. If your children absent themselves from the assembly (Heb 10:25) and cut themselves off from the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:21), they condemn themselves to isolation and powerlessness. Don't resign yourself to your children not knowing the Lord and not going to church. Throughout the 2000 years of Christianity, in all cultures, children have been discipled successfully by their parents. The failure to disciple children in the contemporary American church is unusual in the light of world history.
But the issue is much greater than church attendance. Parents should be concerned about discipling their children into a fully committed, personal relationship with Jesus and into the life in the Spirit. Church is part of God's plan for your children, but our Father wants much more for them. Church doesn't always get you to Jesus, but Jesus always gets you to church, if you are committed to Him. You can go to church and go to hell. But you can't live for Jesus without going to heaven. You must not settle for anything less than everything the Lord has for you and your children. This pamphlet contains four truths which will help you lead your children into a total, personal relationship with Jesus and disciple them for His kingdom.
1) "The gift you have received, give as a gift." Matthew 10:8
A parent must have it to give it.
You must have a personal relationship with Jesus to share it with your children. Christianity must be a way of life and not just a Sunday obligation. Don' t expect your kids to follow you indefinitely in fulfilling Sunday obligations at church. They need to meet personally the Head of the Church, Jesus, Who will draw them into His body, the Church. Parents should frequently talk to their children about Jesus and point out what Jesus is doing in the family. As the children grow older, they should be presented with opportunities to make a personal decision to commit their lives to Jesus as Lord.
2) "Again I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by My Father in heaven. Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in their midst." Matthew 18:19-20
The family that prays together stays together.
Christian families should pray together daily. Pray as a married couple. Then, with the whole family, pray any way you can, even if only for a few moments. (Any prayer is better than no prayer.) One or both parents should also pray individually with each child, especially the older children. This may sound like a lot, but it may only take 5-10 minutes daily. Finally, going to Mass and Confession together as a family is one of the best things you can possibly do for your family.
3) "Fathers, do not anger your children. Bring them up with the training and instruction befitting the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
The father makes the difference whether the children continue to go to
Statistically, it has been proven that the father' s church attendance is by far the most significant factor in children continuing church attendance through adolescence. The mother may always go to church, but the kids often do not follow her. Biblically, the father names the child, that is, gives the child an identity (Mt 1:20-21). Church attendance is part of this. Therefore, Christian mothers need to keep the responsibility for the children's church attendance on the shoulders of their husbands. If their husbands are not strong in faith, their wives must lead them to a deep faith in Jesus. Wives do not necessarily have to say much to do this but can open their husbands to the Lord through the "hidden character of the heart, expressed in the unfading beauty of a calm and gentle disposition" (1 Pt 3:4).
4) "In support of his testimony he used many other arguments, and kept urging, 'Save yourselves from this generation which has gone astray.'" Acts 2:40
"Do not conform yourselves to this age." Romans 12:2
Parents, not peers, should be raising their children.
Biblically and really, parents are the primary educators of their children (Dt 6:6-7). Parents have a supernatural anointing with their children. They have more power than the most highly trained professional. Therefore, children should spend more time with their parents than with anyone else, including peers.
But if parents let a generation gap develop, their anointed influence over their children is undermined. Today kids are influenced by kids more than at any time in world history. To change this, parents, from their children' s infancy, should severely limit TV, magazines, and music that introduce children to a separate kids' and teens' world. Mass media generally alienate children from their parents. Schools also, knowingly or unknowingly, minimize parental influence by placing kids with their peers for 40-plus hours a week. Therefore, parents must limit extracurricular school activities. Let your children join things that are not school-oriented, especially things you can do with them. If possible, it's best to home-school your children and raise them in a Christian community, where other children will be more supportive of your parental influence, instead of subverting it.
Finally, each parent needs to spend quality time on a one-to-one basis, especially with the older children. If you want to spend time with them, even the most rebellious teenagers will eventually want to spend time with you. Everyone appreciates personal attention. The contemporary ascendancy of mass media and school activities combine to leave parents little time with their children. We must give kids back to their parents and turn "the hearts of the children to their fathers" (Mal 3:24).
These various recommendations may seem severe, but we must face reality that anything less will probably not work. Our culture is extremely anti-Christian and anti-family. Strong measures are necessary to do the job. "These are evil days. Do not continue in ignorance, but try to discern the will of the Lord" (Eph 5:16-17). Lead your children in the power of the Spirit.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Edward Gratsch, October 8,
Imprimatur: + Most Reverend James H. Garland, Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 13, 1988.
The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
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