If we want our kids to love Jesus, we must also want them to love the church. In her message at TGCW21, Megan Hill gives five practical ways to teach our kids to love the local church.
1. Acknowledge our kids’ experiences. Know that church isn’t always easy for them, and talk to them about it.
2. Remove practical obstacles. Sometimes what they don’t like about church isn’t spiritual and can be changed.
3. Teach them church is good. Disciple children at home so that practices at church don’t feel foreign or awkward for them.
4. Affirm their kingdom value. Make sure kids don’t feel like an afterthought but know they’re valued and can be used by God.
5. Invite them to participate. Call them to serve and invite them to love others with you in tangible ways.
Hill closes with an encouragement to parents who are feeling overwhelmed. “Sunday by Sunday, seek to show your kids how good it is to love God’s people and to worship alongside them—you have an advocate in the heavenly places.”
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Welcome, it’s so good to see all of you here today. Isn’t it glorious to be gathered with our sisters in Christ and have this opportunity to together, look at some of the truths from God’s Word and worship him together. My name is Megan Hill. And this session is called teaching our kids to love the local church. We want our kids to love Jesus, right? If you are here in this room, or if you’re joining on the live stream, you’re here probably because you want your kids or your grandkids or the kids in your Sunday school class, or your nieces and nephews, you want them to love Jesus. And, you know, we want them to flee to Christ, and we want them to follow him. And we want them to set their hearts and their hopes on Jesus. And to help them learn to love Jesus, we do lots of things as we have opportunity, we pray for them. We talk to them about Jesus, we read the Bible with them, right? We sing songs of praise with them, we point them to the cross when they sin. And we tell them how Jesus has changed our own lives and hearts, and how precious he is to us. Now, we don’t do any of those things perfectly. But fundamentally, everyone here wants their kids to love Jesus. And so as we’ll see today, this means that we also want them to love the church. Today, we’re going to talk about helping kids to love the local church. But before we get into the specific ways that we can do this, it’s important for us to take a minute to acknowledge that loving the church is an essential part of loving Jesus. I’m going to read to you from the book of John, these are some of Jesus’s words. And in John chapter 13,
beginning in verse 34, John says, A new commandment I give you that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. If Jesus has loved us, and he has, right, and if we love Him and follow Him, and we do, then he says, We must love one another. We must love worshipping Him alongside his people, we must love the particular people that he has put in our particular churches. In short, to love Jesus, we must love the church. You know, John picks up on this theme a little bit later in one of his epistles, in first John. And in first John four, seven, John writes, Beloved, let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. So here we see that our love for Christ and our love for the church are bound up together, they can’t be separated. You know, loving our Christian brothers and sisters is one way we know that we truly love God. And as we love the church, the Body of Christ and the place where his presence is promised, then we actually grow in love for Jesus to this is not love in the abstract, right? This is love for a particular group of believers, that we worship alongside every Sunday with all of their idiosyncrasies and warts and ordinariness, and the things that rub us the wrong way and the things that we just love about them. This is love for these particular people. And it’s a love that’s expressed in particular specific, practical, embodied enacted ways. And so when we call our kids to love the church, we’re not calling them to love the church, even in some sort of intellectual sense. We’re calling them to love the real people that they come among to worship God every Sunday. So in the remainder of our time together, I’d like for us to consider five ways to help kids love the local church. And then at the end, we’re going to conclude with one precious encouragement. So the five things are first acknowledged kids experiences, I’m a Presbyterian, so I have to say the points out first, acknowledge I don’t have three, so maybe I’m not a very good Presbyterian, but first, acknowledge kids experiences. Second, remove practical obstacles. Third, teach kids that church is good, fourth, affirm kids Kingdom value and fifth invite kids participation. So first, I’m going to suggest that To help our kids to love the local church, we need to acknowledge kids experiences. Church is not always easy for kids. And it’s fine for us to acknowledge that, in fact, it’s good for us to acknowledge that if they’re young kids, church seems boring or restrictive, right? I have to sit still, I have to be quiet and listen, if they’re teenagers, church seems boring and restrictive. It’s too much like school, there are other things I would rather be doing. And we can hear these concerns that our kids have. And honestly, we can even sympathize, right? There are times that each one of us has thought, oh, church, right. So we can understand that church is not always a comfortable or an exciting place to be. So listening to our kids experiences, and even sympathizing with them as we can, it helps us to understand what what their opinion of the church is what they’re actually experiencing in the church. And that then helps us to our second thing, which is removing practical obstacles. Once we’ve heard their concerns, we can evaluate the underlying issues, right? It’s really hard to hear from your kids. I don’t like church, I don’t want to go to church, oh, man, do we have to go, you know, whether it’s a toddler or a teen, that can be a really painful thing for us to hear, especially if, as we’ve said, we want our kids to love Jesus. But once we’ve heard those things, then we can move a little deeper and understand why it is that they feel that way. And then we can seek to help. And the truth is that sometimes our kids are saying, I don’t want to go to church for reasons that are not necessarily spiritual. And oftentimes, they’re really fixable problems. And even I understand that too, right? We have come up with certain coping mechanisms, maybe to help us we wear comfortable shoes to church, or we put dinner in the crock pot ahead of time, or we drink a cup of coffee, so we don’t fall asleep. You know, we’ve come up with these practical things that help us in our experience of the church. And so as we evaluate what’s behind our kids saying, I don’t want to go, we can look for those practical things that we can do to help them so you know, when younger kids say, I’m hungry, well, we can fix that we can bring a snack, you know, that will make their experience of church a little bit more pleasant. It is hard to wait all the way till noon to eat something when you’re used to having a snack. When little kids say I’m tired of sitting still. Well, that’s when the Serbian notebooks and the pens and pencils come out and encouraging them to participate use their with Wiggles to do that, when they say I’m uncomfortable. Well, it could be that really precious smocked dress that you just bought that is just you know, it’s it’s a hindrance for them engaging in worship, and maybe comfortable clothes would be a better choice. Older kids and I have both teenagers and little ones. But older kids, it’s a little bit different. But they also have practical concerns. Sometimes it’s, I’m tired, right? I remember, as I was growing up, my parents would not allow me to drink coffee or have very many caffeinated beverages. But when I got to be a teenager, on Sunday morning, I was allowed a cup of coffee. And that was super cool to me to be allowed to have a cup of coffee. But it was also a practical way that my tired teenage self could stay awake and worship in his way my parents sort of removed the practical obstacles to worship for me. Teenagers are often also embarrassed, right? If you get to church late, and they have to walk all the way up to the friend. That’s embarrassing. And we can remove that obstacle sometimes just by coming a few minutes earlier. Getting to know people, right? being put in a room with a bunch of people that you don’t know, for a teenager causes really a lot of anxiety and self consciousness. And so helping our kids to get to know people to find some people that they can recognize and go and talk to, to get over that hump of oh, man, everybody’s looking at me, who do I talk to? Okay, now, those are simple things. And you may know all of them already, which is great. But my larger point is, there may be some practical obstacles that in a loving way we can remove before we ever get to any of sort of the spiritual issues and these practical obstacles. By removing them, we just pave the way we make room that and for them to have a better experience of Church and to learn to love it. All right, so third, then we can then actively teach our kids that churches good having heard their concerns having removed any obstacles that we can possibly remove. We come to our main goal which is teaching them to love the church and if we love Jesus, which we do, and if Jesus loves the church, which he does, then we’re going to want our children to learn to love the church that we’re a part of. Now, I think we sometimes hear or maybe fall into a couple of false ideas here. One of them is thinking, my kids will just grow into spiritual maturity as they mature, both physically and emotionally. They may not love the church now, but they will eventually and it will probably just happen as they grow up.
Okay, that’s one false idea that I think we sometimes can fall into. The other one, I think, is thinking, if I want my kids to love the church, I should find a church, my kids love.
And I think ultimately, both of those things, as tempting as they may be, even from well, meaning parents, both of those things, I think, are a failure of discipleship. And I think it’s important for us to be on guard against both of those and to recognize that one of our chief duties as parents in particular, and then also as grandparents and aunts, and uncles, and you know, whatever your relationship to these children is, is to help them to become worshippers of the living God. And that’s our focus. And it’s not actually that different from any of the other parenting that we do in our children’s lives. You know, when my three year old really believes that ice cream and candy would be the perfect dinner, absolutely mom ice cream and candy. That’s what I want. Well, I tell her, that’s, that’s not what’s best for you, you know, chicken and broccoli would be much better for you. And, you know, she doesn’t love them at first. But time after time, as parents, right, we keep presenting chicken and broccoli, chicken and broccoli, we tell them why it’s going to be good for you. This is what your bones need not that candy and ice cream for dinner. And we hope eventually they’ll learn to love chicken and broccoli. And that maybe by the time they’re like 25, or 30, they might actually start choosing chicken and broccoli for themselves. Right. And that’s sort of you know, that’s discipleship at the dinner table. Well, we also have discipleship at church, and we take it very seriously, that helping our children to see what’s good and helping them to learn to love what’s good, is in large measure, measure our responsibility, with the help of this Holy Spirit. Absolutely. But just as seriously, as we take our kids nutrition, we take their spiritual development. When it comes to church, our kids don’t always want what’s good for them. And so it’s our job then to instruct them and we instruct them in a number of ways. We set an example by our own attitudes and actions, right? We pray in our kids hearing, you know, we pray for the church, we give thanks for the elders, we ask God to bless the worship. We intercede for church members needs. We prepare for worship, you know, we express to them, oh, I can’t wait till Sunday, and we get to go, go worship with the church. I can’t wait till we get together with our Bible study group, or, Oh, I’m really looking forward to the prayer meeting this week. You know, we express and prepare our own hearts, and we let our kids in on that excitement and that anticipation. And we rejoice right as we’re leaving worship, as we’re leaving Bible study, as we’re leaving a small group, we talk about the things that the Lord has taught us and the way that he’s changing us and our own genuine love for the church. imperfect. Yes, you know, failing so many times, yes. But our own genuine sincere love at the heart for the church is going to be a compelling testimony to our kids. And then we can invite them to share what what are the blessed, you know, what did you hear in the sermon? What did you learn in Sunday school? What new friends did you make, and we invite them to share in some of that excitement. Beyond that we help our kids to understand worship, you know, we explain what it is that we do. When we have young kids, you know, whether it’s whispers in the pew or beforehand, we show them that worship is our chance to hear God speak to us. When the Word of God is read out. When the pastor preaches, we’re hearing God speak to us. And it’s our chance to speak to God. And when we pray, and when we sing, that we have this opportunity then to speak to God. We explain why we do these things. You know, whatever a four or a 14 year old might assume worship is something that God has designed that God instituted that God commands and we worship him according to his Word. And so God commands us to gather for worship and we can turn to Hebrews 10 and we can show them God’s the one who tells us to come. God is the one who commands us to sing praises together and Colossians three, God’s the one who tells us to listen to preaching and First Thessalonians to God’s the one who tells us to pray together in Ephesians six God That’s the one who tells us to give generously. And second Corinthians nine. This is not something mom and dad thought up. This isn’t even something that people in this church thought up God was the one who thought thought it up, he sets the agenda for our worship and we worship in obedience to Him. Now part of understanding worship is helping our kids to practice worship. family worship, I think plays a huge role in that as preparation as practice just a time in your family daily, if possible, to read the Bible to sing songs to pray, to help them get used to the things that we do in worship. You know, Deuteronomy six, seven, is God’s command to the people of Israel. And he says, You shall teach them meaning the words of the Bible, the words of God’s law, you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house. And when you walk, by the way, and when you lie down. And when you rise up. Think of this, you know, this is practice. This is making the Word of God making worship a daily moment by moment part of your life. So it’s familiar to your children. You know, in family, worship your kids practice listening to the Bible being read, they practice following along, you know, you tell them, you know, when the pastor is preaching, you have have your Bible open look and see if what he’s saying is true. You know, make sure that he’s talking what saying what’s true from the word, see what questions do you have, see what things you wonder about, and we’ll talk about them afterwards, practice singing in your families. So I have a three year old who can’t read. And so for us to singing as a way to teach songs. I also have these teen and preteen boys for whom Singing isn’t mortifying, their voices are cracking all over the place. It’s hysterical. I try not to laugh. But the good thing about singing every single day in our family is that it’s not quite as mortifying, if you do it every day. And then when you show up on Sunday, is just what you’ve been doing cracking voice it all, and it’s okay, you know, so practice singing in your family, practice praying, you know, remind your kids that when one person is praying, we’re not just listening to a speech. It’s not like we’re all sitting there with our eyes closed, listening to a speech, we’re all praying, and our hearts are all joining to their prayer. And we’re all seeking to say men in our hearts, encourage them in that so so we train them, what is worship, what are we doing, we help them get used to it, we practice it. And then we use every opportunity, as we’re reading the scriptures anyway, to show them that being a part of the local church is essential to the life of the believer. You know, when we look at Adam and Noah and Abraham in the scriptures, we notice, right, they all worshiped with the rest of God’s people, you know, Adam and Eve were the first congregation, and Noah and his family and Abraham and his family. Those were churches or precursors to the church, they were groups of God’s people who are worshiping him together. You know, when we have older kids, and we’re going through the New Testament, we can point out that those New Testament epistles weren’t written primarily to individuals. Paul was writing letters to churches, you know, it was a letter to the church at Corinth, it’s a letter to a to the church at Ephesus. So the letter to the church in Galatia. And so the commands and the expectations that we find there, those are commands for the whole church, you know, when Paul says, Pray without ceasing, he’s writing to the whole church. He’s saying, as, as my Mississippi friends would say, all y’all Pray without ceasing, right? Together, all of you come and do this, or pursuing holiness, you know, when Peter writes, be holy, for I am holy. Well, Peter is saying all of you together as the church do this. So with our kids, we can point out these things, these books of the Bible, they were written to the church, these are commands the church, the church is central in Scripture, you know, with when we have teens, we can remind them as we’re going through the book of Revelation, and we’re seeing this glorious picture of the gathered church in all eternity. You know, we remind one another that their ultimate future is not playing on this elite basketball team. It’s not, you know, getting into that college that they really want to get into their ultimate future. Right? It says, Worship her in the assembly of God’s people. And what we’re doing now is practice it’s a foretaste. It’s a participation in that heavenly worship. And then I think another thing that we do as we teach our kids that the church is good, is that we remind them that the church people are their people. A few years ago, we swapped houses with another family for a summer and we went and lived in their house. They lived in the UK and they came and lived in our house and it’s super fascinating to go and live in somebody else’s house. I’m sure they were fascinated by my house too. But one of the things that really struck me about this house in this family is that on Every wall of the house, they had a family picture of some kind. They had pictures of their family on vacation, they had pictures of their kids getting ready for the first day of school. They had pictures of themselves that on picnics and hikes. And, you know, everywhere you turn in this house was a picture of the family. And I thought if I were a kid growing up in this house, I would have no question that I belong to this family, because on every wall, there would be there’s, this picture reminded me Oh, yeah, these are my people. This is my family. And even if I was having a really rotten day, I couldn’t get away from it right? All around me are these pictures of my family? Well, I think we can do something similar for our church, family, and encourage our children, that by bringing up these church people, to them all the time, that these people are their people, you know, we tell the stories of church people, and we tell what’s going on in their lives. And we talk about it not in a gossipy sort of way, but in a way that lets them know who these people are, and what their names are, and what they do for work and how many kids they have and what their names are and where they live. And, and when they have prayer requests. You know, we pray for them as a family, we make them part of our family, we have, you know, even pictures of them, you know, in our church directory, and we look at them and we name them, and we learn them. In one of John’s epistles, he wrote a command that’s one of my favorites and all of Scripture, but he’s, he says, greet the friends, each by name, you know, is such a simple command. But John here is saying, Get to know the people in the church, greet the friends by name, know their names, know who they are, know the cares of their heart. And remember that they’re your people too. And I think for our kids, that’s especially important that we help them to know that these people are their people, and that they belong to these people. Okay, so we’ve talked about acknowledging our kids experiences, we’ve talked about overcoming any practical obstacles that we have, we’ve talked about teaching them that the church is good. Then fourth, the fourth thing that we can do to help our kids do love the local church, is to affirm the kids Kingdom value.
It’s hard to love a group of people when you feel like you don’t belong, you know, I think probably all of us I know I have, have had an experience of being invited to a get together or a party, and you’re pretty sure you are an afterthought. Like you get there and you’re like, Oh, everybody else has known about this for two weeks. And they just invited me five minutes ago, because they didn’t want me to feel left out, right. That is not a nice feeling. When you come in a group of people, and you realize they weren’t really thinking about me, they just invited me to be nice at the end, you know, but I think that’s sometimes our kids experience in the church, that it’s not intentional on our part. But I think kids sometimes assume that they’re an afterthought in the church, they can assume that the sermon isn’t directed at them, that no one at the church really knows their name or cares about them that on Sunday mornings, they’re just sort of there as the supporting cast to their parents. And I think as parents, we need to regularly and intentionally counter these false assumptions by affirming kids Kingdom value. I want to show you a little some from some familiar passages how Jesus felt about children in the church. Matthew 19, is the very famous passage of the people bringing children to Jesus. But it’s good for us to be reminded of this passage, no matter how familiar it is Matthew 19, starting in verse 13, then children were brought to him that is Jesus, that He might lay his hands on them and pray, the disciples rebuked the people. But Jesus said, Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them and went away. Jesus wants little children to be part of His kingdom. And he’s willing to overcome all kinds of obstacles so that they would come among his people and worship Him. Jesus thought kids had Kingdom value. And then there’s another story from the life of Christ. Just a few pages over this is the Palm Sunday passage, the triumphal entry, maybe you read this a few Sundays ago in church, I don’t know. But Matthew chapter 21. Kids appear again and Jesus interacts with them. So Matthew chapter 21, starting in verse nine, and the crowds that went before him that is Jesus, and that followed him we’re shouting Hosanna to the Son of David bless it is he who comes in the name of the Lord Hosanna in the highest and When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up saying, Who is this? And the crowd said, this is the Prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee. And then skipping ahead to verse 15. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple Hosanna to the Son of David, they were indignant. And they said to him, do you hear what they’re saying? And Jesus said to them, yes. Have you never read? Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies, you have prepared praise. Jesus affirmed kids Kingdom value and sisters, can we do any less children are not an afterthought to the party. They’re not a last minute invitation into the church. They are those whom Jesus wanted to come and wanted to welcome. The same Christ who welcomed children into his arms and welcomed their shouts of praise on prom Sunday, welcomes our children into the church today, and we need to make this abundantly clear to them. We need to teach our kids church is for kids. You know, the congregations of the Old Testament included kids, there’s this wonderful passage in Ezra, where they have this giant prayer meeting of repentance and the book of Ezra Ezra, chapter 10, specifically mentions that there were children that were part of this, you know, the churches of the New Testament, you know, when Paul writes his instructions, you know, he has these instructions for slaves and masters for husbands and wives and for children and parents, right. So he, Paul thought that there were children sitting in church that needed to be instructed, and so churches for kids that as we’re reading through the Bible, and we noticed mentions of kids, we can point this out. Look, Jesus wants children to be part of his children’s church. Children are important in the kingdom, we can remind them that preaching is for kids, you know, the words of the Bible are for kids. And sometimes it’s hard to understand. But these are words that are for you, and they’re for the good of your soul. praying and singing are for kids, right? These children and the triumphal entry, they were singing, they’re shouting, they were, they were doing what Jesus wanted. And Jesus goes ahead and quotes them from Psalm eight, right? Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants, you have ordained praise. God intends for children to sing and pray and to praise Him. But our kids need to know that like, sometimes we assume that but we don’t ever say the sound of your voice singing is so precious to the Lord, He wants you to sing. He’s so delighted that you’re here singing Jesus loved it, when the children were singing, and he loves it when you’re singing to, you know, being part of the body is for kids. In first Corinthians 12, Paul writes something that I think is quite surprising and is good for us to be reminded of
the First Corinthians 12, of course, is Paul’s famous passage about the body and all the parts that are working together in the body. And starting in verse 21, of First Corinthians 12, Paul says, the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you. On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker, are indispensable. Let’s read that verse to our children. You know, you feel small, you feel little, you feel weak, you feel tired, you feel wiggly, you feel embarrassed. You’re a weaker part. But the Bible says you’re indispensable. You are absolutely vital to the well functioning of the body, which is the church. You know, we look throughout scripture, and we see these instances of kids that God has used in these really important ways in his kingdom, you know, name and servant girl who said, Go and see the prophet and he will hear you she was an evangelist, right? She was a little kid and she was an evangelist. Daniel and Esther were living in these pagan lands, ripped out kidnapped from their families living in pagan lands, and each of them organized prayer meetings, kids taken away from their own families, and yet they had the calling of the Lord and they organized a prayer meeting, that little boy that gave up his lunch so that Jesus could feed the crowds, right? Everywhere we look in Scripture, we see that that the Lord has an important place for kids in his kingdom, and we can point those out to our children and remind them that they are important in the church. And then finally, we invite kids participation. There’s I talked about two false ideas that we sometimes have about kids in church. I think there’s a third heard false idea, which goes something like, If I require a church participation from my kids, I’ll turn my kids into little Pharisees or little hypocrites. But this isn’t true. Now, certainly, if we teach them that church attendance is simply an outward ritual to just check off the list of spiritual tasks, then that does create hypocrisy, but that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about genuine love for the church and a genuine desire to see them love Jesus and to love the people that he loves. And so we’re going to do that work of discipleship, and we’re going to bring them to the place where they’re most likely to learn that I last yesterday, I was just having a conversation with my teenage son. And he was just telling me about some of his friends who rarely come to church. And he was saying to me, they don’t really like church. And I was thinking, they don’t like church because they’ve never had an opportunity to like church, you have to be brought to the place where you can learn where you can know where you can experience. And that’s how you learn to love it. My friend Lindsey Carlson uses an analogy sometimes of when her youngest son was attending school, and he didn’t want to go to school, and on his first day, and so his dad physically carried him kicking and screaming into the classroom, and plopped him down on his on in the desk. Now, Dad was not being harsh, Dad was not being unloving. Dad wanted their son to learn and even to love learning. And he knew that the best place for him to do that, for that year was in this classroom at this desk. And thankfully, their son did come to love school and learning, but he learned it there in that classroom. And I think there’s something similar that happens as we bring our kids to church, sometimes kicking and screaming, or with when church shoe on and when church you off, and, you know, hungry and whatever rumbled hair, but we bring them knowing this is where you’re going to learn to love people. This is where you’re gonna see how great the church is. And it’s the best possible place for Christ to meet them there. And to reveal to them not only his love for them, but then for all the people that he loves. So we call our kids to be present in worship every Sunday, unless we’re providentially hindered, you know, we call them to actively listen to the word this is for you, you know, I quite often am whispering to my kids. This is for you. This is the words of life, you know, I’m sure they get annoyed with me. But we want them to know this is vital. Every word of God that comes out is for the good of their souls. We invite them to sing heartily, even with their cracking preteen voices and their lisping toddler ones, we invite them to sing the praises of Lord, here’s your opportunity to speak to God. And so common sing out,
we teach them to pray for the people in the church, to make the concerns of the church, their concerns, to pray for the cause of missions to pray for the salvation of the last, you know, one of my sons when he was younger, we pray through the countries of the world, we use a book called Operation world and we pray through the countries of the world, we pray for the salvation and the work of missions there. And he just fixated on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that was his country. And probably from the time he was about three till the time he was about six every day, we prayed that God would send his spirit and would save people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And someday I’m going to be in heaven. And I’m going to meet people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, that he prayed that they would come to Christ. And I’m gonna say here, have you met my son, he’s the one that pray that you would know Jesus. And so we knit our children’s hearts to the cause of Christ into the cause of his church in the world by inviting them to pray and to contribute their prayers to the work that God is doing in this world. And then we also call them to serve in the church. Our church has a cleaning rotation. So each family in the church has to clean the church on a Saturday, twice a year, I think it is that we go. And when we first came to the church about six years ago, we went for our first cleaning and the elder who sort of oversees the cleaning, he met us there to teach us where you know, where the mops were, and what the brooms were and what we should do and what the tasks were and all that. But before we got down to the where’s the Windex, he took my kids aside, and he said to them, this doesn’t seem like important work. Here you are on a Saturday cleaning the church. This doesn’t seem like important work, but it’s very important work. And he said to them, this is how we serve Christ. If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t be able to worship on Sunday. There’ll be so much trash in this building. We couldn’t worship here. And so cleaning the church is a way to serve the Lord. And I so appreciated him just taking my children aside and affirming that they could contribute they could serve The Church in a very simple way, mopping the bathrooms. But it was a way that they were serving the Lord, you know, our children can visit church widows with us can come along with us as we visit, and learn to express concern for those who are alone, you know, they can give coins from their piggy banks to support gospel missions, they can wipe tables, they can mop floors, they can pick up trash, they can smile, and make friends. And all of those things are participating serving in the church. You know, it’s interesting how there is this relationship, right between love and service. And as we seek to grow in love for somebody as we serve them, then that increases the love in our hearts for them, you’ve probably may have seen that in your own marriages and your parenting with your children, with friends with co workers, you know, as you make an effort to serve, the Lord actually uses that and stirs up love in your hearts. And we can do that with our children, come, come on, come help me do this,
come visit this person. Let’s pray for that, you know, and as they serve, that’s often what the Lord uses to knit their hearts, the church and to stir up love for it. Now, I wish I could tell you that these five things will take immediate effect in the life of your kids. They might, but again, they might not right. And so we look for the help of the Holy Spirit. And I’d like us to conclude our time here with just a word of encouragement. Because if you’re anything like me, you hear these things. And you think, oh, man, I do that. So imperfectly. And I have failed so many times. And I know I should do those things, but I don’t do them very well. And this seems like a really big task. Well, we started this session talking about Jesus. And I like to end by pointing you to Jesus. Because when we undertake to train our kids to love the local church, we have an ally, Christ Himself, I want us to look for a minute at one of Jesus’s prayers. It’s what we know is his high priestly prayer, which is in the book of John and John chapter 17. And so Jesus is praying, and he prays for himself, first of all, and this work of the Cross that he’s about to do. And then he turns and prays for his disciples who are there. And then he extends that and prays, as it were into the future for all of his people. And so in John chapter 17, starting in verse 20, this is Jesus praying. And Jesus says, I do not ask for these only meaning the disciples that were right there, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, meaning all of us and for generations to come, verse 21, that they may all be one, just as you father are in Me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me the glory that you have given me, I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one I in them and you in Me so that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and love them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also whom You have given me may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Oh, righteous father, even though the world does not know you, I know you. And these know that you have sent me I made known to them your name and I will continue to make it known that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them and I in them. Sisters, as you day by day, Sunday by Sunday, seek to show your kids how good it is to love God’s people and to worship alongside them. You have an advocate in the heavenly places. 2000 years ago, Jesus prayed that his people would be one. Even as the Father and the Son are one. Jesus prayed that his people would love one another with the same love that the father and son love one another. And even now, Jesus is praying that the children in his kingdom, and I trust many of our children would love his church. And what the son asks the Father always grants take courage, sisters, Christ is at work in you and he is at work in your children. Let’s pray. Father, we thank you so much for sending Jesus. It is the great desire of our hearts that our children would know and love Jesus even as we know and love Him and even more. Lord, we pray that our children might love what Jesus loves, that they might love the church that Christ has purchased with His own blood, and that it might be the great delight of their heart to worship alongside your people and to serve Him Lord, we pray that you would change our hearts that our children’s hearts, Lord, that the hearts of all the children represented in this room, that they might look to Christ that they might flee to him that they might find new life in him, and then that they would love the people that he loves. Lord, we thank you for all of these things and we pray them in Jesus name, Amen.
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