To Punish or Not To Punish?
To Punish or Not to Punish?
Over the many years of being a youth pastor and working in many different environments from inner city to the rural farm areas of Indiana and to small villages like Newtown, Ohio. Regardless of where in the world I was there was always a common factor that I always have dealt with: parents grounding their children from going to church.
I know, who am I to tell you how to raise your children? Well, honestly, I’m the youth pastor that’s who… I am here to partner with you. My job is to help make your job a little easier. If you will let me. Just like you, I don’t have all the answers. But having 20 years of experience working with youth and being a parent to an 18-year-old, a nine-year-old, and an eight-year-old I have a few thoughts as to why you shouldn’t ground or keep your children from coming to church.
1. The Church is a place for your child to learn important and valuable lessons about the world and how to behave in it. At church they are introduced to concepts and moral lessons that will help them in different situations while in their own neighborhoods or at school. In Proverbs 22:6 it says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This verse tells us that as parents and teachers we need to teach our children at a young age and if we stay at it, when they grow older they will not stray from those teachings.Is this a perfect concept?Absolutely not, however, we have to start somewhere.
2. If you must ground them, ground them from the extracurricular things that we do. No paintball trip, or no movie night or don’t allow them to go out to eat after church with their friends. We have Sunday School at 9:30am, Youth Service at 10:30am, and Bible Study on Wednesday evening at 7pm with a free dinner starting at 6pm.
In Ephesians 6:4 it says, “Fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”No one is saying anyone is provoking their children to anger, but the point to take away here is that we are called to bring our children up so that they know the Lord and His word.I am here to help with that.No parent has to do this alone.
3. In Mark 10: 13-14 we see how important children are to Jesus. It reads, “People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
I hate to be blunt but Jesus said it, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them,”.Again, I’m not saying they should come to everything that the church has going on, every pastor and youth pastor would love that, but I know from personal experience parents just sometimes can’t make it every time the doors are open.
At the end of the day it is of course every parent’s prerogative on how they choose to punish their student(s). I just want you, the reader to just take a moment and think about the importance of your students coming to church and learning the lessons that they are learning.
We have to come together as communities and work together in providing our students all the tools they need to become the best they can be.