COVID has thrown everyone’s life into disarray to at least some extent. All of those months at home changed patterns and habits. Many Christians had only online church as an option on Sundays for several months and other families were forced to extend beyond that or rotate from in person to online worship every time there was another spike. And let’s be honest. There was a certain ease to rolling out of bed and watching church as you ate your breakfast. Your kids could act anyway they wanted and you didn’t feel the need to correct them. In fact, many parents began to wonder if getting kids dressed and to a church building early on a Sunday morning was really necessary.
It’s an understandable question. Parenting is tough. It can be exhausting at times. The last thing any parent needs is one more obligation. Especially if there is an easier way to accomplish the task. Why not take a short cut if it’s available? The short answer? Because this particular short cut does not keep your kids on the road you want them to travel.
Your kids (and you) miss out on some crucial benefits available only when you are in person at your congregation on Sunday. One of the most obvious, perhaps, is the age appropriate Bible class. To be clear, Bible classes as they are today were not part of the Sunday experience in the first century church. That doesn’t mean they aren’t useful or helpful as you parent your children. I also understand some churches provide more effective learning environments than others. That was the main reason we created Teach One Reach One Ministries – to make every church’s educational environment for kids and teens the best it can be. But even if the Bible classes aren’t the very best, they still give you some parenting assistance.
Age appropriate Bible classes introduce your kids to other adults who will reinforce what you are teaching your kids about God at home. It gives them an opportunity to develop relationships with potential Christian mentors. It gives your kids safe adults to help them process the things they are facing through the lens of what God wants them to do. It introduces your children to at least a few peers who are being raised to make the same choices you are raising yours to make.
Bible classes that are taught using best practices can provide even more benefits for your kids. Great Bible classes can make reading and understanding the Bible independently easier for your kids. It can encourage them to memorize scriptures to help them make good choices in the moment. It can teach them and help them practice Christian life skills to make it easier for them to do the things God wants them to do. Great Bible classes can help your kids spot logical fallacies that can be used to persuade them to disobey God. They can teach apologetics so your kids can better understand why they believe what they believe. They can teach them how to take what’s in the Bible and actually apply it to their lives.
There is a lot your kids can learn from the worship service, too. They can see generations of people worshipping God together. They can create relationships with Christians of all ages. They can experience love in action from those around them and be encouraged by Christians of all ages who keep up with their lives – helping during times of struggle and celebrating times of success. They can see others putting God and the needs of others before themselves. They can see models of people living godly lives and making good choices. They can see Christians can have fun and obey God at the same time. Who knows? They may even learn a thing or two from the sermon, too!
Worship and Bible class only provide 2-3 hours of the 14 hours a week your kids need in contact with God. However, those hours provide you support that you desperately need in your Christian parenting – whether or not it always feels like it. Don’t give up those helpful hours and take the online short cut when you can avoid it. Nothing will help you more than the “real thing”.