Living in the Church
It also helps to think of your goal on a bigger scale. Instead of making church a one-hour-a-week commitment, make it a greater part of your family's world. You may want to start a program at the church where families pair up with an elderly person and sit together during the service. (Your child will look forward to seeing "Aunt Rose" each week.) Do community projects through your church, and get involved in church festivals and events. Eventually, your church will feel like a community to your child, and in turn, he'll probably respond to the expectations of that community.
All of these ideas can help get your children involved in worship. But the most crucial step you can take is also the most obvious: make church a joyful ritual. Don't go just because you think you should. Let your children see you prepare for church with enthusiasm. Make sure they hear and see you getting excited about being part of a Christian community. "It's the parents' job to open their children's hearts to God," says the Reverend Tom Walker of Red Wing, Minnesota. "Children learn by repetition, by seeing that Mom and Dad are in church every week."
—Michelle Leise is a writer and the mother of two. She and her family live in Minnesota.
Condensed from Christian Parenting Today, © 2003 Christianity Today. For more info on parenting, visit www.Kyria.com.