How Skipping Church Affects Your Children

Carl Trueman: The church is losing its young people because the parents never taught their children that it was important.

How Skipping Church Affects Your Children

Could skipping church affect your children more than you realize? Should you let your kids skip? At what age is it appropriate to give them such choices?

Could Skipping Church Lead to Apostasy?

There is a compelling argument for not letting children skip church in the Question and Answer time after a panel discussion with Kent Hughes, Aimee Byrd, Todd Pruitt, and Carl Trueman at Westminster Theological Seminary in 2014.

In the Q&A, Carl Trueman was asked about why churches today are losing their young people. Typical answers to this question range from things like the temptations of this world or the irrelevance of the church—your typical answers. But Trueman makes a keen and convicting connection between our parenting and apostasy.

“The church is losing its young people because the parents never taught their children that it was important. I think that applies across the board. It applies to family worship, and it also applies to whether you are in church every Sunday and what priority you demonstrate to your children church has on a Sunday. If the sun shines out and their friends are going to the beach, do you decide to skip church and go to the beach? In which case, you send signals to your children that it is not important.” (Carl Trueman)

Watch the video here.


What Role Should Parents Play to Keep Kids From Skipping Church?

Now we know that artificially taking your kids to church neither bestows salvation nor guarantees it. God is obviously not honored by external religious acts without heart worship. This type of legalism is not the subject of this discussion. This is about parenting and the weight of the responsibility behind how they prioritize their time and lifestyle choices for their families.

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This is definitely a heart issue, according to Anglo. Maybe the reason why our children have no love for Christ is due to the fact that we as parents do not show any love or passion for Christ, evidenced by how we prioritize our time both on Sundays and during the week. When television, sports, school, hobbies even family itself are elevated to a place of idolatry and replace the vital Christian responsibilities, then we tell our children that Christ is secondary to all these things. We tell our children that it is not necessary to take up your cross and die to yourself daily in order to follow Christ. We tell them that you only have to live for Christ when it’s convenient for you. We tell them it is okay to sacrifice time with your all-satisfying Savior if something “more fun” or “more important” comes along (sarcasm indicated by quotation marks if you didn’t catch that). And this sounds like a clear path to apostasy if you ask me.

Parents are in charge. Parents makes choices all the time for their families. As they decide on what takes priority in family, every choice is carefully observed and taken into the heart of their children. Yes, they are watching you, and they are learning from you.

Let’s evaluate where our hearts are by observing our choices. Do you prioritize the local church? Do you prioritize the worship of Christ in your home and on Sundays? Do you prioritize serving Him and worshiping Him in the contexts of school and work? This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever miss a Sunday or that you can’t have any extracurricular activities. Instead, it is a sobering reminder that we shouldn’t put the things of God at the bottom of the priority list, because it tells our children that Christ is at the bottom of our priority list. And the God of this universe does not belong there.

My prayer is that we all would improve in this area. But beware, maybe we don’t see this because Christ isn’t a priority in our lives. And if He isn’t a priority in our lives, then our children will know and follow suit.

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My prayer is that we all would improve in this area. But beware, maybe we don’t see this because Christ isn’t a priority in our lives. And if He isn’t a priority in our lives, then our children will know and follow suit.

Micah Anglo
Micah Anglo is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary (M.Div.) and is also a pastor at SBCAC.
  • Dale Hopson

    22% of Americans don’t believe… and that number is growing.
    That’s not addressed here.

    • Chuck Macheca

      Likely because they are being raised to worship sports tournaments and other “more important things” on Sundays. I grew up as a non-believer mostly because my parents didn’t make it important for our family.

      • Dale Hopson

        No, they saw the hypocrisy and stopped going once no longer living with parents who did drag them. The hypocrisy rose this year with a character liked Donald J Trump being embraced by Christians…

        • Chuck Macheca

          Perhaps they saw the hypocrisy of parents who talked about religion but never actually did anything to show that they meant it. And perhaps parents shouldn’t be “dragging” kids to church. Maybe they need to teach them why church is important and take them to a church they don’t feel “dragged” to.

          Finally, I doubt Donald Trump has anything to do with this. This has been a trend for much longer than the last year or so. This is not a political issue, this is a societal issue.

          Thanks for the reply. I respect your opinions.

          • Dale Hopson

            I’ve a Staten Island friend who is a born again and believes that’s the only way to be a true Christian. Since he wasn’t he doesn’t under the concept of being raised under a certain religion ( like so many in the Midwest like me )… he thinks folks have to discover Christ as he did, not be taught it.
            That Christians would praise a Donald J Trump SHOWS the hypocrisy that turns folks off. The Catholic Church scandal had jumpstarted the exiting.

          • Chuck Macheca

            Many non-Christians also support Trump and many Christians support Clinton. Politics and religion are separate issues.

            Some are forced to find Christ on their own, yes. Some are raised to know him. In my mind, it’s not how you find Him, but that you did.

            My kids are raised to know and love Jesus. If they never stray from that, I don’t think their faith is any less genuine than mine, even though I found him later in life.

      • Martha Perry

        Sometimes my boys have a game Sunday and we miss a service. This does NOT mean we worship sports. I also don’t worship a building full of believers. I worship my Saviour. I worship my heavenly Father.

        • Chuck Macheca

          I certainly didn’t mean “sometimes” we miss a service. I know MANY families that miss church for 6-8 months in a row due to baseball tournaments. That is more of the folks I was mentioning. In that case, if you don’t attend church for most of the year due to sports, I would say priorities are not in order.

  • Jessica

    I have 2 YOUNG children who can’t stay quiet in church for the full 2+ hours and I get dirty looks for them crying and getting tired. Churches need to understand that young kids will make noise and stop giving moms like me dirty looks. So in my household it’s not that church is “not important” we can’t go where we feel comfortable. 3yr old and 8 month olds are NOT meant to stay quiet.

    • Ben

      You need to find a new church that can accept your children are there for the future of the church

      • Becky

        Ben is absolutely right….a pastor learns to deal with this……others can…AND WILL !!!

    • Aprin

      You would always be welcome in my church. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16

    • Teresa Thompson

      I am so sorry you have felt this way. children are the future of the church. You keep up the good work. Maybe find some quiet activities to take with you for them to do. When my children were little, my best friend’s mom would bring the candy smarties with her and would give them a few at a time. now mind you they were 1 and 4 at the time, and it wasn’t all the time, just when they got restless. Another thing to maybe check into is an attended nursery for the baby. Good luck to you and your family.

    • Chuck Macheca

      Find a church with children’s programming! You’re right, a 3 yr old and 8 mo old are NOT going to stay quiet. Many churches have classrooms for them. They learn age appropriate lessons and you can worship with other adults. These churches are out there, I promise.

    • Terrence Pilgrim

      I’m sorry that’s happened to you, but know that not all churches would look at you with a dirty look, and please don’t let that discourage you from finding a family church. One thing that people tend to forget is that church is not just a place to worship GOD but a family. This family may not be able to be there to solve your problems, and you may not invite them all over for Thanksgiving (be kinda awkward having 100+ people surrounding your table in your dining room), but a church needs to be a family for better or worse. I go to a church, though it’s been a short time, when kids start making noise it’s usually the parents that give dirty looks to the kids while most of us are laughing. I hope you find a church that can be your family.

    • David Morales

      You’re getting bad advice here, there are no churches like that. What we do is sit in the back in order to not interrupt the communion of the brethren sitting in front. We have four, 14,13,12 and 3 yrs old all gremlins before 12 midnight. If people sit in the back (Which usually are the prying in everybody’s business goats) Those are the one’s destined to ROB your blessing and will never receive theirs. Don’t permit this. This is a battle, outside and inside the temple also. It is shame that the angel of the church (pastor /reverend) doesn’t call attention to this, but how can they when their own sons and daughters are lost also because they know who their father (or mother) the pastor REALLY are. Stand your ground and serve The Lord Jesus Christ with all your spirit and strength, And you’ll see the Lord do awesome things.

      • Alien & Stranger

        That doesn’t sound like a very loving church, but a religious one, with hypocrites to boot. I’d find another church.

    • Chad W

      You’re right that some churches aren’t welcoming to young families. Not coincidentally, you’re not likely to find young families in those churches, which means those churches are also dying. Get to know some godly parents of toddlers and check out where they go to church. I am a pastor and also have 3 boys 5 and under. They love seem to love their church, and I know a big reason is because their church family loves them. Also, one tip that has helped us is to pack some activities for the little ones to do during the service. I encourage my older ones to color a picture based on what they hear the preacher talking about. Best wishes to you, Jessica.

    • Alien & Stranger

      Taking babies and young children to a formal or staid church can be an ordeal. The early years of motherhood are a season when one often has to mind one’s child/ren during the service, unless you and your husband can take turns with the littlies. It is simply good manners to take a crying baby out of the meeting, because it is distracting. The way you handle this will rub off on your children.
      In the churches I’ve attended since moving from a very staid, formal church many years ago, there is usually a room where mothers with babies can go to feed or change their babies nappies, and there is a video feed of the service. Find a church where children are welcome, where there is a good children’s church for different age-groups, from pre-school upwards – the children go out during or after worship.
      In less rigid (more informal) churches, children are included in the worship – are they learning the joy of worship? Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them.”
      As long as the teaching is Biblically sound, don’t be hide-bound by denominationalism and feel you must go to a specific denomination. There are no denominations in heaven – only believers in Jesus Christ.
      The next generation is important, and children should be as much a part of the church as the adults.

      • David Rubke

        We well understand the difficulty of taking young children to church. We had four. My wife brought them while. I led the service. Believe it or not, they usually sat in front so they could see what was going on. Others helped care for them to make it easier on my wife. And most of our congregations appreciated having children in worship, where they could learn how to behave in church. If we don’t start bringing them when they’re infants, it will only make it more difficult when they’re older. “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.”

    • Gazeroni

      A lot of churches do understand. My wife and I went to a church like the one you describe. Then we had kids…it was a church of older folk, and they didn’t like all the racket. So we just went to a church with lots of kids.

  • Matthew

    “The church which has no babies crying, has not future” St John Chrysostom – pray for us!

  • ZeitMike

    This is so far off the mark it makes me despair – what century was this written in?!! Sorry, Micah Anglo but you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

    1) Its not the parents fault – thats my generation, and it was already lost before they were parents. if anything its the grandparents fault

    2) A Christian IS the church, you literally can’t skip out on it! is you go tot he beach, you are the church at the beach

    3) attendance with church is not relevant to salvation, why is it even mentioned?!

    4) Maybe if adults involved their children in the process of decision making, they would need to do all the prioitzing on their behalf. Then the children might actually feel inclusive contributing members of the family/community

    5) Worship is not just for Sundays!!!!!!!!!!, There is way more to our lives than school or work!!!!!

    6) This article makes an idol of Church, thats why children are being “lost”, because its not adapting to relevancy in the 21st century.

    • Sharon McKee Profetto

      I would like to calmly respond to your post. I’ll go in order of your numbered points.
      1. It’s all our fault! Parents, grandparents, anyone who did NOT put Jesus Christ as the most important aspect of our lives. Jesus said “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God”. If we put ANYTHING before living and serving Jesus Christ and DOING what HE commanded us then we are not following Him the way we should.
      2. Yes, those who know Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior are PART of the church. What many fail to realize is that the church has many “members” and each member is vital to the church body as a whole. The head can’t live without the heart, etc. and Jesus tells us in His Word that each part of the body is very important. Without gathering together OFTEN, we can not and will not hold one another accountable, admonish one another in love, be fed theological truths by a devoted Bible Teacher, or lift up and encourage one another like the Bible tells us to do.
      3. While there is truth to your statement, how do you get around Hebrews 10:25? “24And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. 25Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 26If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins remains,…”
      4. Seriously? According to God’s Word, the MAN is the head of the household and it is his responsibility to lead, teach, and instruct and not the child’s. This mentality of involving children in decision making is part of the problem with today’s youth. If your child made the decision to leave home and ride off with some stranger….would you let them?! They NEED LEADERSHIP and DIRECTION and DISCIPLINE. My parents NEVER asked me if I wanted to attend church….I knew it was a priority and NOTHING stood in the way of our gathering together with other believers to worship. End of discussion in our home!
      5. Absolutely Agree 100%…..BUT….how many of us worship the other 6 days of the week and truthfully…how many of us worship at the beach? I know I do, and if possible will attend church there as well but I dare say, a good percentage of people don’t. If we are honest with ourselves…worship of God is not the priority in our lives.
      6. While it is true that some people can make “doing church” an idol, the only thing the church should “adapt” to is the WORD OF GOD. God has not and never will adapt to our way of life or our standards nor will it ever be conformed to be relevant to a certain period of time. It is the living, breathing, Word of God that is sharper than any 2 edged sword. The Word of God needs to be spoken and taught and LEARNED by those professing to know Jesus! What young people are looking for is AUTHENTICITY in Christians. The church is and has adapted to this worlds ways and actions and a lot of churched Christians show no difference in their lives and actions than the lost person. I’ve been a part of the church for decades and find it very difficult to enter discussions with professing Christians about what Jesus has done in their lives and hearts. I don’t see Christians out doing what Jesus Commanded in scripture. THAT my friend is why we are losing the battle for the hearts of not only young people but people in general.

      I hope you take what I’ve said in love as just that. God Bless You!

      • Laura Hudder Robertson

        I absolutely love God with all my heart. I don’t go to church … I work at 10pm every Sunday night. I have a son he’s 20 now. We talk a lot about God. I read my Bible… he doesn’t. He does love God but not intimately. Is it too late for me to make Sunday services a priority? I need to really seek God about this because even though I worship Him at home and have communion at home I miss church. 🙁

        • Mary

          Yes, go to church…it is NEVER too late.

        • Randy LeBlanc

          I worked grave yard (12 AM till 8 AM) for 11 years. Never missed a Sunday..It’s never to late to take your gifts and talents to church…it needs them and you need theirs.

    • kwaness

      YOU are not the church! The church is a body of believers; if you are born again, then you are a part of that body…

      • Mike

        Where is that in the Bible? To the Church at Corinth…..To the Church at Ephesus ….. To the church at Galatia ….. the 7 churches in Revelation? They are defined by a physical location.

        • Psimitar

          By that logic, where is the Temple Jesus claimed he would rebuild in three days (John 2:19.21)

    • Mike

      I don’t think any first century Christian would agree with #2. Or any second century Christian. Or third. Fourth. Etc. And the reason I know this is because we have thousands of historical writings from Christians who echo Paul’s words, that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. A quick question: do you have kids? Because if you do, you know that if you let your kids get involved in deciding anything, it will inevitably involve loud music, flashy images, and beverages. Hey, sounds like a non-denominational church…..

      • Tannim

        Skip the fraud Paul and focus on the Christ.

        • Psimitar

          Please do not disparage Paul. The Apostle Peter himself said that Paul’s letters were considered Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). Either the complete canon of Scripture is the inerrant Word of God or it’s not. But if we have an errant Bible, then we have an errant Christ who is then not a worthy sacrifice for the atonement of our sins.

    • Reney Mitchell

      Love this! Well said

    • Allan Brown

      YES! Thanks!!!

  • Baba Roy

    I beg to disagree with the author. The church has lost relevance in today’s world. Young people cannot cope with the make believe mind games played in church. The church has lost it’s ability to hear God’s voice and to walk in the spirit. We have resorted to theories and blame games to solve spiritual problems

  • Robert Wegner

    Great article!

  • Jae Smith

    It’s true, but the article doesn’t do a great job of calling out some of the short comings of the local church.

    I’ve been in Student/Young Adult ministry for about 10 years. When church is optional for the student, it becomes nearly nonexistent once the student leaves home because it hasn’t been prioritized. It’s heart breaking. We have a pretty good record of keeping students that have invested in the ministry and the students who have parents who push attendance.

    However, the church itself tries to remain relevant and safe for younger Christians.

    I’ve seen it said that this article is useless because, “We are the church, therefore we can’t skip it.” That is not true. According to 1 Corinthians 6:19 we are temples of the Holy Spirit. We are a part of the Body of Christ, which is the church (1 Corinthians 12:27).

  • Jae Smith

    Reading this thread, it’s amazing to me how many churches don’t have nursery and children’a church opportunities for parents to utilize. Pretty sad report.

    • Nate

      I’m glad they had these opportunities for the churches mentioned in the Scriptures. FYI we do have these at our church BUT they are there not as a necessity

  • Martha Perry

    Maybe the church should curb down on some nastiness too. I grew up in the church.. have spent almost 50 years in it. I take my kids and grandkids. I hear about unity and love and being there for each other… and we should be!!! Then I see the reality of bullying pastors, NASTY women and people being ticked off when someone leaves because the are “offended.”
    Well, I’m tired of people in the church being offensive and then guilting parishioners for forsaking the fellowship of believers. Yes, I go and there are some amazingly loving, caring people there but, and it’s a BIG BUT, why is it OK for some pastors and preachers to bully the congregation? No one stops it. The associations will always back the pastor and then the person who has been emotionally and spiritually abused is made to look like a troublemaker.
    Perhaps other churches are better… I haven’t seen one… and these articles could then be relevant.
    It’s not idolatry to have your child in a sport that may have you miss a morning service. I have yet to find a “Thou must be in church at 11 am Sunday morning” in Scripture. And I’ve checked the Book. It’s not there. So if we are going to lay the burden of attending church on believers, like a good Pharisee, let’s do a far sight better job of making church a safe and welcoming place to be where we can fellowship together, be convicted together, love each other and push each other towards holiness.
    If you can’t do that in your church, do NOT expect people to think it’s necessary to be there. And stop putting a guilt trip on athletes who play hockey. Christians love having Christian athletes on pro teams. How do you think they got there???

    • Nate

      I would be curious what is meant by pastor’s “bullying.” Aren’t we as believers to provoke to love and good works? Yes this is done through love and compassion, but often even when truth spoken in love to listener in sin it will come across as “bullying.” How is the church suppose to fulfill its purpose when we don’t make it a priority? 1 John has a lot on the subject.
      Many sport teams practice during the week and play multiple games a week. Many churches meet only 3 some (maybe most) only once a week. Unfortunately the majority of Christians (who this article is written to) only attend once a week then when other things come up (sports… ) they are gone for 2+ months. How can a “body of believers” be effective if it is missing its members. The church is not functioning at full capacity when it is a paraplegic, blind, deaf, church. People don’t understand their importance in the body. Some don’t even serve all they do is sit in a seat. Many don’t serve because they can’t be faithful. Or don’t want to commit because if something else better comes up I want to have the freedom to skip.

      • Martha Perry

        By bullying, I mean bullying. I’m not sure why you don’t know what that means. It is not to be confused with preaching the, sometimes hard, truths of the Word from the pulpit. It’s power hungry, obstinate bullying that is rampant in churches around here. Seat filling isn’t what makes a church effective. It’s the love, and grace they extend to their community. And yes, part of love is truth. People who do understand their importance in the body also look for some understanding from the part of the body they choose to worship in. If the church is only meeting once a week, perhaps that is the problem and could meet more. If it’s a small church, maybe a different day of the week would work better.
        I’m glad your pastor isn’t a bully. Unfortunately, many are. You don’t dare suggest anything to them or stand up for your children or yourself when they behave very badly towards you. Then you are left with, do we leave? Pastor just preached on people who leave church because the are offended. Where else to go? Do we homechurch? If we don’t show up, we are the problem because it’s a bad example for the kids. Therefore church becomes the biggest stress in life and parents have to pretend it’s fellowship at its finest for the kids??? They aren’t stupid and as soon as they can leave they do. Instead of realizing the problem is from the top down… guilting people who are tired, or broke and have no gas $$ perhaps, or at a sport. They blame it on the parents.
        What is the difference between vacationers gone for 3 months in the summer or hockey players who miss 8 services in winter?? The vacationers are welcomed back, the hockey families are looked down on.

    • Mike

      I once got an amazing opportunity to hunt elk in Western Montana. I left on a Saturday, and saw a couple cows in the morning. Late afternoon, I saw a huge bull. I knew exactly where he was going to be next morning. And I knew exactly where I was going to be next morning – at Mass. The Catholics figured out a long time ago that making church mandatory is the only way to help people WANT to go there. We have to be trained, disciplined into doing the right things. Otherwise, we’ll just do what our stomachs want us to do.

  • Jenn

    Personally, I think you touched on the biggest problem in this one statement, “Maybe the reason why our children have no love for Christ is due to the fact that we as parents do not show any love or passion for Christ, evidenced by how we prioritize our time both on Sundays and during the week…”. We can spend all the time in church we want, but if we as parents are not exemplifying our core beliefs throughout our lives daily, church is just church. Look at Timothy and how he was raised, it started at home with his mother and grandmother. Speaking for myself and my family, we simply can not be at church all the time….some people understand, some people just don’t. Frankly, it is how we live during the week that matters most….church is supposed to be there to encourage, help support and reinforce that, but if it isn’t happening at home to begin with… in its popular definition is not the be-all and end-all. Oftentimes we find the best sharpening is in informal gatherings with fellow-believing friends.

  • Amy

    Who are these parents skipping church to take their kids to the beach? The parents I know, myself included, skip church out of sheer physical exhaustion from keeping up with work and school. Does the Lord not have grace and compassion for us who skip? Is His truth and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit activated only in families who don’t skip (except for illness, perhaps)? When I skip church, it tells my kids that God has compassion for me, not that He is a low priority in my heart. I think we as Christians can find better things to do with our time than policing the worship habits of other Christians.

    • Thom Ellis

      I don’t think they had policing in mind with this article… sounds like you might be feeling a little guilty based on your interpretation of skimming over a paragraph or 2. The point they were going for was that many kids are dropping from church once they leave highschool and that this is potentially partially because there is a lack of importance placed on church attendences in many or maybe even most families. for example… placing sporting events or leagues as more important, etc. I gotta say I’ve seen this with quite a number of youth over the years.

      • n9wff

        The reason is simple; God is not first in our lives, even those who act like Christians and go to church. God only comes first at church; for the rest of the week, He very rarely enters anyone’s thoughts. Churches and many believers just enjoy “going through the motions.” That’s all they want – just enough Jesus to get to heaven. Anything else is too much to do. This is what we portray to others, and this is the message the younger generation gets.
        It needs to change.

    • Nate

      Luke 10:38-42

  • Nate

    My complaint with this article is near the end when the author begins his disclaimer about skipping and extracurricular activities are still okay as long as God is not at the bottom of the list. Is second on the list acceptable? Good read! A lot of truth in this.
    Don’t contradict yourself. You could have left out the last 2 paragraphs. just sayin

  • Susan

    John 6 – The Bread Of Life Discourse (This is why you take your family to Church-Eternal Life)

    While you are pondering the Church and its teachings, I hope you will take a moment to look at how each Church approaches the teachings and words of Christ. In particular, read John 6:48-68. It reads as follows”

    “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

    The Eucharist is much more than a memorial service using grape juice and crackers. It is a sacrifice and a meal. The sacrifice comes in two forms: 1) us giving our whole selves to Christ and 2) the continuation of the sacrifice made by Christ of His flesh and blood. The meal is accepting the gift of holy food in the form of the body and blood of Christ.

    Many Protestant Churches misinterpret John 6 and believe it is symbolic. The passage “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” often confuse people that do not understand that the terms “flesh” and “blood” are used two different ways in the passage. Initially, Jesus is speaking literally of His flesh and blood. This is what we now call the Eucharist. His use of flesh and blood in the last portion is moving to the familiar analogy between flesh (earthly things) and spirit (heavenly things). He is simply stating that His (literal) flesh and blood are of spirit (of heaven) while flesh (all earthly things) are of no use. He is simply telling us that His flesh and blood are spiritual food. Real food!

    Most Protestant Churches teach the truth about Jesus, but do they teach the whole truth? Are you like one of the followers of Jesus who found this hard to believe? When considering the Catholic Church, remember these powerful words of Christ:

    “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

    Shouldn’t your answer be: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

  • n9wff

    Here lies a problem that no one addresses, and it is the church. I watch how believers don’t have a passion for God at all. The worship is self centered, the prayer meetings are lackluster and almost nonexistent, small group teachings are superficial (based mostly on study guides from another author) and no one carries the fear of the LORD. We loiter around the foyer even during worship, walking in halfway through the service. We just don’t care like we should, and we wonder why the younger generation holds no reverence for God.
    Youth and children groups are more about relationships and games than it is getting right with God. Even us parents believe our 90 minutes at church is sufficient for a “normal, Western Christian.” This started in the fifties and hasn’t stopped. We have no zeal, and the ones that did, are now slowly going one by one to glory, while the church flounders in its cesspool of worldly pleasures, accepting a false gospel of convenience.
    We need to return to what God called us to do (Jeremiah 6:16), we just won’t do it. We bored with the old and demand new ways, and false teachers only oblige to take this role. We fake the form of godliness by deny its power to transform us. The Holy Spirit is outside our doors and soon the doors to the Bridal Chamber will close, and we rather worship like Laodiceans. The way the Western church lives as a Christian, it might be better off not bringing them to church until the older generation repents for a spiritual lethargy. With this, we have no true apologetic to to bring the lost truly to the Cross, because we have lost our way.
    We need to see the mess we created, looking for worldly ways to attract the world, hoping we can change them using natural means. We need to repent, and soon. I could give reasons why I am not attending church (the “Dones”) and I truly want to find an assembly that truly wants to touch His garment and live godly, but these are getting less and less. Now we won’t fix our own problems because we don’t believe or accept we have even one. For many, I don’t see pastors and pulpits with a hunger anymore for holiness. I even seen pastors endorse their congregation watching witchcraft movies. We are more hopeless than we think, and we don’t care.

  • Ashley Tuttle

    This article is the biggest piece of self deceptive blame shifting nonsense I think i have ever seen. A few of the other comments have touch on issues we have to address as the church so I won’t repeat them. But all I’ll say is if we keep worshiping methodology/tradition over the God of the message is it any surprise that the young generation see right through our religious BS?

  • Joy

    “The church is losing its young people because the parents never taught their children that it was important.”

    I think this is a reason, and I think there are other reasons as well. We should have a habit of honest self reflection and be fearless in self correction, but one can hardly lay this burden entirely at the feet of parents. Surely that is not Carl’s singular point of view? 🙂

  • Angela

    Part of the issue is that sometimes church can be a waste of time and effort. If the church is more into socialization and self-worship than the worship of God then there is no reason to show our children that it is important to go there. I have a problem with taking my children to church, expecting them to learn something, and they play around rather than being taught anything from the bible. I realize and know that I am responsible for teaching my children at home- ALSO- but there is the responsibility of the people at the church to not waste the precious time that they have with the children just entertaining them rather than teaching them about God and perhaps why so many children are leaving the church is that they do not think it is anything but entertainment and they can find entertainment elsewhere.

    • Mom2Kids

      Find a better church; don’t quit going.

      • Latrell Greene

        If your kids were in a class where all they did was play all day and not learn according to your standards, you wouldn’t stop sending them to school all together, the most you would do is request your child be put in another class or you would change schools. Well the same principle applies here. You keep looking for a church that is serious about their children’s ministry and you take your kids because if your a Believer of Christ… you know apart of obeying the scripture “Parents raise your children in the ways they should go, so when they are older they will not depart from God’s truth” one way of obeying His particular scripture- raising your kids in this way is exposing them on a regular to the corporate worship and fellowship among other believers (church)

        If school which helps children develop and grow academically isn’t an option, certainly going to church which helps children Develop and grow spiritually shouldn’t be either.

        God bless

        • Stephanie Maurin

          We have also taken our kids out of the public school and choose to homeschool them so that we can teach them to follow Jesus, not the world.

          • Lady Tam Li Hua

            IMO, if you want your kids to have a better education in math, science, etc., then homeschooling can be great. But I don’t believe taking them out of regular school (public or private) because of fear they may experience somethong different than Christianity is good, either.

            Your kids need to struggle with other ideas. They need to experience different kinds of people. If they don’t do it now, they most certainly will later. I saw homeschooled Christian kids go absolutely nuts once they were let free, even at a Christian college. Everything from unwed pregnancies to bisexuality to giving up on God and the Church completely.

            Meanwhile, I had to fight for my faith, and even though I was put in a Christian high school, it had zilch to do with religion and e erything to do with safety. My parents seemed to hate God AND Christianity, yet here I am. I didn’t even kiss until I met my husband…at 29!

            My point is this: Yes, raise your kids in the faith, but don’t smother your kids, either.

          • Evie

            Everyone in the US has the freedom to homeschool. Everyone. I’m a single mom and got it done. Homeschooled kids do experience people with different beliefs, in day to day life, and in…their youth groups full of public schooled students. Spend time in children’s and youth groups and you will see only homeschooled children learning the memory verses and almost 100% of the youth worship teams are homeschooled students. The handful of kids you saw go crazy when they were “free” does not mean everyone should put their kids in public school. Why put kids in groups of same aged kids all day to “struggle with other ideas” when you can talk to them from an adult perspective about those same ideas?

          • Lady Tam Li Hua

            Also, not all parents, Christian or otherwise, have the freedom to homeschool.

          • teacherdan

            You couldn’t teach them if they went to public school?

          • Stephanie Maurin

            When children go to public school, they are surrounded by worldly ways of thinking for 8 hours or more a day. Throughout the course of our school day my kids and I have many great conversations that we would never have had the time to have if they were in school. They have already learned what it is like to be different and stand out from the world, which is what a Christian is called to do. They have already withstood the scrutiny of others who don’t agree with our decisions, and this will make them stronger to continue to do what is right, even when others do not agree. Not all parents can homeschool, It takes much sacrifice, and some are simply unable to. I believe those parents can still do a great job of raising godly children, and that the Lord will give us each the grace we need. However, I do not know why any Christian, who wants to teach their children to love Jesus, would send them to a school where Jesus is not accepted, and where His truths are rejected, when they do not have to. Jesus taught His disciples that if they were persecuted in a place, to flee and go to another place. Why would we willingly send our children somewhere where we know they will not be accepted, and where the truths we are trying to teach them are constantly challenged?

      • Sherry Ellis

        Exactly. Many, many churches today are more into entertainment to attract people to their church, but its not about entertainment. Its about worshiping God and teaching his word.

      • Dimma Exuberant

        You just hit it

    • Matt Massey

      Sounds like the children’s ministry could use some help. Have you considered volunteering?

    • Yes It Is Political

      My experience has been how hypocritical Sunday sermons seem. They seem to be the place to show off your new dress or hat, than in the actual worshipping. My realization came when a deacon of my church chatized me for being in the same club that he was at with a woman other than his wife. This was when my interest in attending church was lost. I tried others after that, same thing though. Its more of a fashion show than a service.

      • Sherry Ellis

        There will always be sinners in the church it is lead by imperfect people, as we all are. I used to feel this way until I realized I do not go to church for the people there, but to worship GOD and this is what I focus on. Its not about the people.

    • Allan Brown

      There is so much better than you can do on almost every front than attending a Sunday morning pew-bound meeting. It has been over 10 years now since we quit subscribing to the event. Chruch is about being, not “going”. Be encouraged, what your gut feeling is telling you is worth much more than the guilt-fear mongering you’re going to get from leaders and followers of Sunday morning system. 🙂 dsteeple!

      • Mary

        Going to church and being part of a congregation is important because:
        – in Hebrews it says not to forsake gathering together
        – church life asks you to help out communally inside e.g. visit specific people regularly or mentor someone, go to Bible Study
        in a consistent way to equip a body of believers
        – church life asks you to help out consistently toward people in the community in the name of a church group
        which sets an example for what believers do as a church

        • Mary

          Churches also do larger gestures than individuals can do: e.g. send bigger gifts such as tractors or farm animals to a poor farming community in a foreign country
          Yes, attendance enables and enacts much more than individuals can do.
          Church can have difficult members in it but we all try to mature each other in faith and so build and edify each other

    • evangmlw

      Christ didn’t waste His time dying on the cross. He promised the that He “would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.” There are sound biblical churches across this country (most of them smaller congregations). “Knock and the door will open, ask and it will be given, seek and you will find.” If Jesus Christ is important to you, then His church and His family will be important to you.

    • You should find a Bible believing church and go to that. If the church as good Sunday School teachers they can have fun & learn at the same time. For instance our primary teacher wanted the children to see what sin does to your heart and the importance of making wise choices. She gave each student a glass of water, a small cup of cocoa powder and a small cup of water. She had them smell all three to see which smelled the best. If course, they all chose the cocoa. She told them to choose which would be best. They all chose cocoa. She let them think about it and noted how the water had gotten darker and told them to choose again. They all chose cocoa, so she had them put a tsp of sugar in another glass of water she gave them. Then she let them taste each one. When they tasted the cocoa they all made a face and said eew. She told them that’s how sin is, it looks good but it blackened your heart and ruins your life. I doubt they will ever forget that. She does an object lesson every week.

  • Vincent Regan

    The worst thing out there is the iPhones texting all day and all night

  • Mike

    I think my church must have encountered this a couple hundred years ago – maybe a thousand years ago – I’m not sure. Anyways, it decided to make it a duty to attend church once a week. And right now, it’s the largest church in the world. So maybe that would work?

  • Hilda Oti

    God bless you for this article, this is the honest reality, may God give parents more wisdom to train and bring up their children in the way of the Lord because if they don’t the parents will be the ones to suffer the consequences not me, not Micah Anglo, as you lay your bed you lie on it. Thank you for this enlightening article, those who have ears I guess would read and listen and learn!

  • While I agree with the sentiment behind this article, I think it’s important to consider which “church” the author is referring to, and the age of the children in question. Citing irregular attendance of church (the building) as a -cause- of young people leaving the Church (the community of believers) may be an oversimplification. In my personal study over the last couple of years, I’ve come to believe that typical American Evangelical churches do much more to push young people away than to keep them “in the fold”, so to speak. Obviously, this is not true of -all- Evangelical churches, and I’m certainly not faulting their motivations, but I believe that offering children a broad perspective on faith and allowing them to express doubt and ask questions without casting judgment is more important than demanding their attendance at a particular church. Parents should set the example, yes, but, in the end, these kids will have to make their own choices, and the more choices (i.e. perspectives) they are exposed to, the more opportunity they have for spiritual growth once they get older. Some may disagree with this, and I respect that, but this is coming from someone who felt “pushed away” by Evangelicalism as a young adult, but has discovered more about the nature, scope, and history of Christianity in the past 2 years than in the previous 36. There is a far more beautiful and tolerant tradition there, than what I was led (forced) to believe growing up… Just a thought.

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  • Tannim

    One does not need an hour per week in a brick and mortar middleman to have a spiritual relationship with God. In reality, church is not important, but proper study in the faith and proper application the rest of the time is what matters.

    So says this PGK and ordained minister who works with people one-on-one without a church.

  • Jane Vassal

    In many of these comments there is this mention of “church” as being like a business or government agency. You make excuses that going to church “is a waste of time” or “full of hypocrites” when you fail to realize that if you are a Christian YOU are part of the church! And according to the Bible YOU are required to assemble with other believers regularly. All I am seeing are excuses. Don’t be surprised when your kids ditch the faith altogether. This article is spot on.

    • Kenny Hofstetter

      You are the church but Jesus said to come together in a person’s home not a building Jesus tells that when he sends his disciples and the seventy out. He gives clear instructions.

  • Jack Menendez

    Not so fast Lash LaRue,
    There are more abductions of children per capita today than any other time in human history.
    “Over the past 5 decades more than 1,500 priests and bishops have been identified in the sexual assault of tens of thousands of boys and girls in their ‘trusting’ congregations and orphanages.
    Why is this filthy rich institution preaching of spiritual values of poverty and chastity while cardinals, bishops, and priests cover up their crimes of sexual abuse?
    Why has the church fought and resisted the compensation claims of their sexually, emotionally, and spiritually traumatized victims?”
    The Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have held secret church procedures where many sex abuse cases were designed to cover up abuse and to prevent victims from reporting crimes to law enforcement agencies.
    In a world full of abuse, deception, and corruption, it would seem that it has now become a crime to report a child abuse crime.”

    • Yes It Is Political

      In my view the Catholic Church is a joke, with its vast amounts of wealth and speaking in a language that no one save them knows. I believe that the Catholic Church has throughout history has hidden its own evil deeds therefore foregoing in any type of sanctity. As I understand a Church is anywhere one or more people gather and share the words of GOD. And please don’t get me started on the TV Preachers begging for donations that will guarantee some need or miracle in your personal life. Religion is Big Business in case you haven’t noticed and should not be tax exempt.

    • Rusha W

      Thanks for highlighting this issue. This has shown to be an issue in many denominations. The Catholics, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Baptists (SBC and IFB varieties) have a particularly troubling response to handling abuse allegations; much like you said, “it would seem that it has now become a crime to report a child abuse crime.” My biggest concern is how many churches don’t wan to handle it. The congregations that tolerate abuse tell victims to forgive. And the congregations that maybe don’t tolerate abuse still don’t want to rebuke the congregations for misusing Christ to cover evil.

  • Allan Brown

    The best decision we made in terms of modeling real and responsible faith was to skip “church”. We now very, very rarely attend the sunday morning meeting but take our family’s spirituality, teaching and living like normal people seriously. Our kids understand from our example that faith, God and reality are so much bigger, better and less contrived than that thing that people do on a sunday morning. I’d encourage any family to skip a Sunday or two per month, relax at home with the family and enjoy the good that God is and has for us outside of the pew/pulpit meeting. (at a certain point, like us you may find that you’ll not want to go back at all 🙂

    • John

      The best decision we made in terms of modelling real and responsible faith is never to skip church. Sunday Service is non negotiable for my family spirituality and teaching of the Word of God. We may not live like normal people in other people’s perspective but that is okay because going to church is very normal thing to do for us. I don’t encourage any family to skip Sunday services at all since it is a Sabbath. In fact, I would like to encourage you to go for kid week prayer meetings, cell group meetings, bible study and morning prayer if there are held in church. We enjoy the good God gave to us in church with other faithfuls and family after church services. Although there were many times we we tempted not to go to church, we didn’t gave in to the temptations. Attending church services for 42 years have been good for me and my family. And l will keep on going while praying that God will give me the strength to keep my commitmement. Blessings.

      • Allan Brown

        “modelling real and responsible faith”, “Sunday Service is non negotiable”, “it is a Sabbath”, “go for kid week prayer meetings, cell group meetings, bible study and morning prayer”, “we tempted not to go to church, we didn’t gave in to the temptations”, “praying that God will give me the strength to keep my commitment.” Doesn’t this sound weird/scary to you at all? Sounds like you may need deprogramming… Some day one or more of your kids may decide to quit your routine and you will not know how to handle it.

  • Stephanie Maurin

    We are living in a day when the “local church” has already fallen into apostasy. We don’t take our children there because we don’t want them to learn the lies that are taught there. The gospel is watered down and perverted. Sin is rampant and accepted. Most of the people in the church are not following Christ. We prefer to gather together with believers outside of the local church so that we can be united in the truth, and encourage one another to follow Jesus. Don’t you remember that Jesus told us this would happen? He also said where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them. These are the days we are in, gather together with others who truly love Jesus and long to follow Him. Avoid the lies and sin in the churches because a little bit of leaven leavens the whole lump. Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord.

    • Kenny Hofstetter

      I agree with you.

  • T. Frahm

    Our middle and high school age Christian kids attended a church whose pulpit offered expository verse by verse Bible teaching some years ago. Because of the false churches locally we were forced to commute to another town for consistent normal spiritual nutrition, a mandate given to the church from the scriptures. We were criticized by family and friends for not following the crowd and dropping the kids off at youth groups where the Bible is never taught by career focused “ministry” people. Now our kids are married and they thank us for providing a Bible teaching foundation when they were young. The same ministry people who write articles such as this never say a word about the absence of Bible teaching as a foundation to the church. Why do you think that is?

  • Jamie Clark

    This is a most excellent, and accurate, observation. In America, we are so inundated by cultural “Christianity”, and the Burger King theology that it entails. Is this the consequence of the man- centered seeker-friendly philosophy that has been so prevalent for decades? Maybe, maybe not. In either case, it emphasizes a very distorted view of man, and of God. As a result, the priorities in our lives are certainly out of alignment with Scripture. This article exposes the fruit of such pragmatism.

  • Allan Brown

    One of the first and maybe most scary fear tactics used by pastors and leaders to herd the lost sheep back into the pen is the “what about your children” followed by unfounded fear “facts” about what happens to kids when their parents don’t attend the weekly program. Ask where these facts and figures and anecdotes come from and you’ll soon see that it’s not honest or reliable. …it’s agenda and spin and inaccurate…but the fear factor is incredible and I think works in their favour. Once you can get past this fear, you start to see a pattern of protection by those who have much to lose when attendance goes down. God must be pretty disappointed after sending Jesus when we built a golden calf (religion) because we needed something more controllable.

  • Fredrick Samoita Omari

    Jesus Christ is our priority. Amen

  • Fredrick Samoita Omari

    It’s important to teach and show our children that Christ is the priority to our lives and family.

  • Fredrick Samoita Omari

    Nothing we can do without Christ.Let us ask God through Jesus Christ to open our families eyes to see and do the will of God– salvation is important.

  • Fredrick Samoita Omari

    The reason why our children have no love for Christ is due to the fact
    that we as parents do not show any love or passion for Christ, evidenced
    by how we prioritize our time both on Sundays and during the week.