4 Ways You May Be Teaching Your Kids That Christianity Is a Spectator “Sport”

If you’ve ever known a really serious sports fan, you know they often talk as if they actually play on the team – or at least coach it! In reality, they have absolutely no impact on the game with their cheering and backseat coaching from home and only a minimal impact in the stands. It may be a spectator sport, but the real players are the ones on the field, participating in the action.

Unfortunately, many Christian families have turned Christianity into a spectator sport. They want to claim participation in hopes of getting any benefits from identifying with it, but don’t really want to get all sweaty and dirty actually living the Christian life.

Unfortunately, God does not condone spectator Christianity. Rather, He calls Christians to a life filled with obedience, service and activity. It doesn’t earn us a spot in Heaven, but active, full participation is necessary to meet God’s expectations of how we are to live our lives.

Parents may unknowingly be teaching their children Christianity is a spectator sport by their choices. Here are the four most common ways.

  1. Attending church online instead of in person. Nothing screams spectator more loudly than watching it on a screen. While there are times when virtual worship and classes can be a blessing, fellowship is a key part of the design of church created by God. Your kids need to be in the building with other Christians as often as possible.
  2. Skipping church for more important things. Do you allow your kids to skip Sundays for sports or other activities? Does your family skip on vacation? Every time you skip, you are implying worshipping and obeying God is optional and only if you don’t have something better to do.
  3. Acting like a professional critic after worship or classes. It’s one thing to discuss theological differences and quite another to constantly critique song choice, appearance, flower arrangements and all of the other elements as if you were a professional paid to do so. When you constantly criticize, you are implying worship and classes are for your entertainment and should meet your expectations for what that means, not for humbly worshipping God.
  4. Not living your faith and failing to teach your kids about God at home. Does your Christianity stay at the church building? Then you may be teaching your kids that it is a social club and not a lifestyle with everything that encompasses as far as God is concerned.

Don’t raise spectator Christians. Raise children who are active, productive Christians.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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