To attend or not to attend?
Q: Should I make my child attend church with me?
A: YES! (with some care and mercy thrown in)
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it
It is a rule, I am the leader of my family. And you are correct in assuming I don’t have to assert myself that often because we have left no room to question and when they do we have worked through it in scripture and in practice. The house serves the Lord.
Q. So do you require visitors, family or friends to come with you to church?
Family: It is expected that they come with us. Even my pagan brother comes to visit he comes to church and hears the Gospel with his girlfriend in tow. Who knows one day they may “hear” the Gospel and be transformed.
Friends: it is expected they go to church. At my house, yes. If they have a hotel room then they are invited and being civilized they generally come. If they have to travel I would encourage them to find a place to stop in and Worship with brother’s and Sisters in Christ. Wait people don’t visit other churches on vacation any more? (another post there)
Visitors: Again it is expected that we would bring them with us. I can’t imagine going to someone’s house and not going. It is more than an “obligation” it is a desire to go and be among the flock. If they are visitors in my house they will be brought along, if they are just passing through then although I would go to church anyhow, I would leave my wife/children to entertain if necessary. Again, 99% of the time they have joined with is in worship and fellowship of the saints.
Obviously if a kid/adult is sick I want them to come and get healed! But most of the time they pop a pill and go to bed. Better not to spread the germs. I suppose.
Two examples of my family:
My son is an “adult” by many standards but he lives under our authority in our house and it is really never a chore or a battle to have him come to church. If he has work I am understanding. If he has an illness, I pray for him and send him to bed immediately. If he has homework… or some other excuse, each area evaluated. He attends even when NOT under our roof too and my riles still apply.
I have a teen girl with CRPS (November is CRPS awareness month) and to get her to church takes an unbelievable amount of work and preparation. not only the physical and mental cost of her mother, but also the mental and emotional stress for my teen. There are days she comes and listens to the Word, there are days she can’t get out of bed, much less sit in a worship service.
My final answer: The rules are there, the behavior is expected but there is a healthy dose of mercy and grace heaped along side it.
Note: Thanks to a brother in Christ that asked this question and stirred something within me!