Parents should not allow their children to choose which church the family will attend, a Baptist pastor warned. He argued that some children are not yet converted into the Christian faith and thus could be led by "depraved" desires.
Josh Buice, senior pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia, wrote on his DeliveredByGrace blog on Tuesday that many times when he talks to families and asks why they join a certain church, they tell him they base their decision on what makes their children happy.
He argued that this strategy does not seem to be working, given the rise of nonreligious people in America, especially among youths.
"Could it be that parents are capitulating on a serious minded approach to the faith and a serious minded approach to the local church because they want to make their children happy? Why is this a dangerous idea? Why should parents refrain from allowing their children to make the decision regarding the family's church membership?" he posed, before arguing that some children may not be converted.
"An overwhelming percentage of youth who attend church every Sunday are in fact — unconverted. Will you make your choice of church based on what your child desires, when in all reality, those desires are selfish, carnal, and not exactly God-honoring?" Buice asked parents.
He pointed to Titus 3:3 in the Bible, which warns of unconverted people "led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures."
"Although your child may not be the adult version of what is described in Titus 3:3, your unconverted child has everything necessary in his depravity to make decisions based on selfish motives and carnal desires," Buice wrote.
"Such decisions and desires should not be allowed to make the final call on what church a family joins. Remember, your child needs to be discipled — not entertained."
Just like a 12-year-old child does not have the knowledge and capability to drive around a sports car, they also cannot be expected to make the right judgment call on which church to attend.
"Face it, most children are interested in social networking, the music, and the fun atmosphere surrounding the church campus rather than the doctrinal distinctives of the local church," he warned parents.
Many teenagers who have fallen away from church never really understood "God's intention for the church," he noted, and instead were "fed a steady diet of gospel-lite and likely segmented away into fun groups for their appropriate age rather than crossing paths with adults who exemplified before them what it means to be a follower of Jesus."
"It is the role of the parent to shepherd, lead, and guide children through the search for a church home," said the Georgia pastor. "It is not the role of the child to take the lead — and it's certainly not the parent's goal to be friends with their children in the process. Sometimes a helpful no is necessary in life."
Buice noted that parents, not children, are called to lead the family.
"The Bible is clear about the structure of the family and the leadership that is ordained by God. The husband is the head of the family — providing both material and spiritual leadership. Parents together lead their children, and this is God's ordained role," he stressed.
"Just as Christ is the head of the church — so is the husband the head of the wife (Eph. 5:22-24). Both father and mother are called to take the leadership of their children and the children are called to obey (Eph. 6:1-4)."
A survey released by The Barna Group last month revealed that teenagers today are the most non-Christian generation in American history as only four out of 100 teens hold a true biblical worldview.
The study found that 35 percent of Generation Z teens considered themselves to be atheist, agnostic or not affiliated with any religion.
Youth ministry leader Greg Stier of Dare 2 told The Christian Post that "the youth groups trend of fun games and short Bible studies have resulted in frail youth groups and shallow young people."
While emphasizing the need for more prayer, Stier said that "youth leaders must change their philosophy of youth ministry from being driven by fun to driven by faith. The Church cannot compete with the world when it comes to fun anyway because we don't have the money.
"But the world cannot compete with the Church on a deeper level because they don't have the truth."