Sunday, January 6, 2019

If You Really Want to Reach Your Kids, Church is Not Enough

Recently I discovered the story of Chris Watts, the Colorado man who strangled his wife and smothered his two young daughters this past August (2018).  After murdering his family, he took them to one of his work sites, where he buried his wife in a shallow grave, and dumped the bodies of his little girls in oil tanks.  It didn't take long for investigators to discover that Watts was the killer, and eventually he confessed to all three murders.  One of the things that shocked me was that Watts was raised in church -- every Sunday.  And it was a Baptist church.  He also admitted to the police that he and his wife did not go to church, but they were starting to talk about it.  Watt's parents brought him to church (a good church) every Sunday, but that wasn't enough to lead him to become a fully-devoted, lifetime follower of Jesus.

There's a lesson in this for Christian parents.  Bringing your kids to a good church every week is not enough.  And that's not the church's fault.  The problem is not with the church, but with the parents.  The church is meant to help parents, not replace them.  For parents to effectively disciple their kids, their role must include more than transportation.

This is why at Church Acadiana our vision is to equip parents to disciple their kids at home.  We envision Christian fathers sitting down with their kids several times a week for a time of intentional discipleship.  The curriculum can be reading a chapter of the Bible and discussing it each night, or reading through a quality Christian book, or reading through a Bible storybook, and then having a time of prayer, and perhaps singing a praise song together.  It doesn't seem like much, but when it is done several nights a week, every week, it makes a huge difference over time.

At Church Acadiana we don't have children's Sunday school, or a youth group, for one simple reason:  They aren't effective.  They're really only good for one thing:  They attract new families to the church who are looking for "lots of activities for the kids."  That's not a good enough reason for our church to invest time, energy, and resources into new programs.  Don't get me wrong.  These programs do some good; and I know that many people claim that they were significantly impacted by them.  But over all, these programs don't do the trick.  And how often are kids negatively impacted by rubbing shoulders with the other kids at church?  Churches simply don't have the time, influence, and authority to effectively disciple kids, which is why the world is much more effective at winning Christians than Christians are at winning the world.  The only reliable way to disciple kids is at home, by the parents.

Many Christian parents already know this.  But are they doing anything about it?  Or are they just hoping, as the Watts family did, that bringing their kids to a good church each week will be enough?  Without home discipleship most kids won't grow up to murder their families.  I get that.  But the goal is not to avoid raising a murder, it is to raise a fully-devoted, lifetime follower of Jesus.  Don't just hope for the best.  Do what is best.

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