“…But that’s what the Church is for.”

Few phrases are as cringe-worthy for Christians as when other Christians thrust this phrase into a conversation.  More often than not, it’s an excuse for why we don’t do something because…well, “that is what the Church is for”.

I heard recently this phrase stated as a regret from a parent of a young adult.  They had relied on “the Church” teaching their children Christianity, but as soon as their teenager hit adulthood, they went “crazy” and lived in ways contrary to Scripture.

The parents soon realized they had relied on “the Church” to do what Scripture had put at their feet.

Scripture tells parents in Proverbs 22:6:

 Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.  

Proverbs 22:6
New International Version

Now, this blog is not meant to put any parents “on blast”. If you read my posts regularly, you know I want to encourage you.

Scripture tells us as parents that we are responsible for the spiritual formation of our children.  There may be some things we can outsource, but their growth in Jesus isn’t one of them.

It’s a simple issue of time.  If you have your children or teenagers at church activities every time they’re offered, you might spend four to six hours a week under “the Church’s” influence. 

Children and teenagers are sleeping through the week too.  If you do not homeschool, you’re sending them to the influence of their peers and teachers for six hours a day.

The Church’s influence: up to six hours a week.

Their peers’ and teachers’ influence: six hours a day.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but you can do the math.  Parents, we must be the primary spiritual guides for our children. There’s no out-sourcing that.

This is what Proverbs 22:6 is addressing.  It’s not saying, “if you take them to church activities, they’ll stay in the church activities when they’re old.”  Yet, that’s exactly how many of us act.

Instead, the wisdom from Scripture to us as parents instructs us to train our children in matters of faith.  We teach them to pray.  We teach them to worship.  We teach them how to study the Bible.  We teach them how to give, to be selfless, to be a Christian.

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If we don’t, then we can’t lay the blame at anyone else’s feet.  The Lord has entrusted them to us. 

We have no control what they do once they leave our homes.  They will be adults and they are accountable for their own actions.

I pray for you what I pray for me: that my children would see the light of Jesus through my faults and shortcomings and see a vibrant, sustaining faith able to carry them through the storms of life.