I’ve got to be honest. I totally chose this blog topic, because I needed some help with my own kids. This one is written as much personal as it is professional. We are members of a church that is traditional in terms of when the doors are open. Our church offers opportunities to worship and learn about God on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening.
A couple of years ago, we made the decision that we would use Sunday afternoons and evenings as rest and family time, so we don’t go to church on Sunday night. We are, however, faithful attenders on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Our boys love to go to church on Sunday mornings. All of their friends are there and they have wonderful leaders.
The story is completely different, however, on Wednesday evenings. We haven’t made it to gnashing of teeth, but we have certainly been witness to weeping. Our boys just don’t want to go and I really struggle with this. I want my kids to love to go to church. I love to go to church on Wednesday evenings. Since my wife and I both teach children’s Sunday School classes on Sunday morning, Wednesday evenings are our chance to be with adults at church. I go to choir and she leads a Bible Study. We love seeing our friends and eating with them at our fellowship dinner. So, why don’t my boys want to go and what should I do?
I’ve asked several friends and here are some things that I considered to be reasons why my kids don’t want to go on Wednesday nights. Are these issues effecting your church?
- Different class structure. Wednesday evening is a difficult time for our children’s minister to find volunteers to teach, so we have larger, more broadly graded classrooms. It is harder to offer a more personal and engaging Bible study. Our Sunday morning classes are totally different—smaller classes, age graded, and wonderful volunteers.
- Need more activity. I’ve begun to wonder if our boys would respond better to a more active curriculum, like TeamKID, than the one that we are currently using. My sons love to run and play, and so being cooped up in a classroom on Wednesday evening after being cooped up in a classroom all day is hard for them. This, again, goes back to the need for volunteers.
- They are busy kids. Our family is so blessed. We have a lot of fun, but man are we busy. Especially during the height of soccer season. We have to make sure that we are providing our kids (who are definitely more interested in being at home than I ever was) a chance to be at home and be kids. Sometimes, I think their desire not to go to church is fueled by their need to just chill out.
- Do the leaders want to be there? This isn’t the issue at our church, but I think it is one to consider. Are the volunteers in your church just showing up, or do they prepare and want to be there? A prepared leader is key to keeping kids engaged at church.
Ultimately, you are the parent. We’ve had to choose that approach with our boys and Wednesday nights. Your kids will have times in their lives when they don’t want to do things. We know that they are loved, cared for, and learning about God when they are there so as often as possible (even though it’s not always easy) we’re choosing to be at church.
Jeff Land is Publishing Team Leader for Bible Studies For Life: Kids. He holds a BSW from Mississippi College and a MACE from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jeff has served as children’s pastor and currently teaches second graders each week at his church. Jeff, his wife Abbey, and their four sons live in Coopertown, TN.