Bible Topics In The Christian Library

Where did our kids go? This is a continual question that many brethren ask. It seems like so often we have lots of small kids and slowly, as they grow older the number becomes less and less. Suddenly we look around and we have just a handful of teens and young adults. Where did all the kids go? 

Who is to blame? Almost universally the church is blamed. "If the church had only had a good youth program my kids would be faithful today." Or, "we just donít do enough for the kids." I am not against having a strong youth program for our teens/pre-teens, provided we keep it on a spiritual level. I am also not against Christian youths getting together to enjoy one another and doing fun things. But listen very closely, the church does not have a responsibility to provide entertainment for our kids, neither does it have a responsibility to raise them and make sure they remain faithful. 

Letís put the responsibility squarely where it belongs. Parents are responsible for teaching and training their children. "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4) The church cannot serve as a surrogate parent for parents too busy with work, recreation, etc. to do their jobs as parents. I do not write this without any feeling toward todayís parents. I am not an old man who has never raised a child, or raised one so long ago that he is not in touch with reality. My wife and I have raised a 21 year old and have a 14 year old daughter. We know the pressure of modern living. There doesnít seem to be time enough for everything that you want to do. But brethren, the time invested in our children will reap huge benefits later, just as we will reap a bitter harvest later if we simply leave our children to fend for themselves. 

Here are some suggestions for parents with children, whether small or older. Itís not too late for any of us to make an impact on our kids. 

  1. Put the Lord first in your life. We cannot expect our kids to grow up to become faithful, active Christians when they see their parents living like the church is just one more activity on their list (and usually behind several activities). Put the church and itís assemblies ahead of the myriad of other activities that we usually plan. Jesus still says that we are to put him first (Matthew 6:33). 
  2. Try to live as a Christian 24 hours a day. This means that we must seek to put love, kindness, gentleness, etc. into our lives at home as well as at the church building. While our kids will generally be understanding of our mistakes and shortcomings, especially if we admit them and seek forgiveness, they will not tolerate blatant hypocrisy. They will grow up thinking that the church is just a place for hypocrisy (1 Peter 2:1-2). 
  3. Spend time with your kids. Nothing can take the place of time spent with our children. There has to be that time for bonding together, growing together, and becoming a real family. When we are together as a family we can take time to speak of spiritual matters. When was the last time you canceled something that you had planned for yourself just to be with your kids? 
  4. Treat Church activities as more important than School activities. Many parents are just great at making sure that their kids are involved in sports, band, choir, cheerleading, and a whole host of activities that they simply donít have time for church functions. Many times teens do not go to youth events because they are taking part in school extra-curricular activities. What is more important, whether our children are popular at school or grow up to be faithful Christians and go to Heaven? I would like to hear just once from someone, "My child canít go to a ball game, they have a church activity on that night." If we set a policy from the start that school activities will not interfere with church activities it will never be difficult to choose.
Brethren letís stop blaming the church, or childrenís friends, other family members, or society at large, for our shortcomings. While all of these things play a part in the problem, the primary responsibility for training our children still lies with us. Let us as parents take our responsibilities seriously. Our children will be eternally grateful. 

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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