Years ago I heard a preacher say this:
When I was a young pastor–before I was married with children–I used to preach a series called, “Ten Sure Fire Ways to Get Your Kids to Live for God.” Now that I’m older and have kids of my own I changed it to, “Here’s a Few Things You Might Want to Try When Raising Your Kids. They Might Work and They Might Not.”
I can appreciate the sentiment.
After quite a number of years pastoring a few different churches I think that approach, though humorous, sees the issue from the wrong direction. Perhaps a question we could ask is, “What can I do to ensure my kids will have little interest in following God?” Though the question sounds backwards and unproductive, it will lead us to a number of truths.
If you want to make sure your kids do not follow Christ, I recommend the following:1. Never even attempt to apply what the pastor teaches week after week. Your kids will readily pick up that it is not that important. They will eventually wonder why you bother to go, and, when old enough, will not go themselves.
2. Pick apart the pastor’s sermon every week. Your kids will soon figure out that you are not expecting God to speak to you. They’ll soon conclude that the message probably does not apply to them either.
3. Fight and argue all morning, and in the vehicle all the way to the service. But, when you get to the service be all smiles and laughter. Act as if the morning fighting never happened. Repeat this ritual every week.
4. Pay more attention to what people in attendance are wearing, how they look, how they smell, etc, than to the message, music and mission. Doing this will train your kids to be distracted from God’s activity by focusing on trivial matters.
5. Be more concerned with making good citizens of your kids, but not so much with making disciples of them. Teach them to be good, to mind their manners, make good grades, etc, but never about walking with God.
6. Make Sunday is the only important day in the religious ritual. Never pray before meals, never pray together as a family, never pray with your kids about issues they face: tests, romances, jobs, life decisions. Let them learn to handle things just like their unbelieving friends.
7. Talk about God’s power, but worry about everything as if He has none. Make sure to express uncertainty about the future as if God has turned His back on you.
8. Never participate in the mission of God apart from church attendance, and hinder your kids from the same. Complain about the cost of mission trips, ministry events, or the difficulty of getting them to service opportunities.
If you do these things you will doing more than enough to assist the evil one in his efforts to destroy the spiritual lives of your children and keep them from serving God.