Have you ever had a difficult time motivating your teenager to go to church? Well, that was the struggle I faced when my youngest son lost interest in church attendance. He had always been excited to hear the stories, sing the songs, and eat the snacks, but suddenly he no longer wanted to get out of bed on Sunday mornings.
“Why don’t you want to go?” I asked one Sunday, to which he replied, “It’s boring.”
Totally shocked and feeling like a failure as a Christian dad, I wanted to understand.
“Why is it boring?” I prodded, hoping to gain clarity.
“I don’t want to sit there and listen to the guy talk so long.”
This would be more normal if he were a teenager, but he was seven years old! Have you had this same conversation with your teen? You are not alone.
What are some common reasons teenagers typically don’t want to attend church?
• They don’t have friends there, or they might feel excluded.
• They prefer to sleep in.
• They don’t understand the real reason for church, that The Gospel should be the focus.
• They are self-focused and entertainment-driven, preferring to play on their phones.
What can you, the parent, do about it?
- The Power of Prayer
Unless the Holy Spirit captures the heart of a teenager, church attendance can be a struggle. But regardless of a desire to attend church or not, the bigger question is whether there is a desire for God. That’s something only He can do, so pray and gather with others to pray for your teen.
- The Power of Friendship
Teens want to be where their friends are. Friendships are formed over time. Take advantage of student ministry opportunities like small groups, mission trips, camps, and retreats as a step into church friendships for your teenager.
- The Power of Passion
Let them see your love for God and His church. Jesus loves His bride, but sometimes our remarks about her are less than flattering. Show your teenager your passion for the church in spite of whatever its faults might be.
My youngest son is now 12 years old. He still doesn’t love listening to long sermons. Motivating him toward church has been, and probably will continue to be, a challenge. I’m trusting God to finish what He started in my son’s life, just as I’m trusting God to do the same in mine.
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
Special thanks to Nathan Kocurek, Associate Pastor of Student Ministries at Stonebriar Community Church for sharing his thoughts on ParentingPathway.org.
Emerging from the depths of the late 1970s, Nathan spent his formative years under the influence of Hall & Oates, Duran Duran, and other notables while listening to KRBE in Houston on the clock radio beside his bed. Nathan was influenced to love Jesus by the example of his young single mom, and he grew up with a love for God but an incomplete understanding of discipleship. As a result, as a teenager, he indulged in a relentless and at times reckless pursuit of social and athletic achievements, seeking to assuage an innermost feeling of emptiness that he could not escape. Finally, by God’s grace, the Spirit of the Lord made it clear to him that none but Jesus could satisfy what he was lacking. The answer had been there all along. Later, Nathan married the girl of his dreams and they ran off to California, had two sons, and returned to Texas where they adopted their sweet daughter. Having served as a Student Minister at two previous churches over the past 18 years, he and his wife Marie are now thrilled to follow the calling of Christ at Stonebriar Community Church.
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