Question: Our teen doesn’t want to attend church with our family anymore. What should we do? Should we give in and let him skip church from time to time?

Answer:

It’s important to find out why your teen doesn’t want to attend church, and then do your best to address those concerns. For example, does he have doubts about the Christian faith? This is normal at this developmental stage: teenagers start considering what and why they believe, examining their parents’ faith and determining their own beliefs.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions, to share your own experiences of doubt, to pray with and for him, and possibly to learn by reading apologetics books together such as The Case for Christ or Why Jesus?

However, perhaps your teen doesn’t want to attend church because of the early start time, style of worship or lack of meaningful friends. These too are valid concerns. Can you respect your son’s concerns by considering a different service time to attend, or by even considering moving to a church that is more suitable for him?

If those options don’t work, how about honouring your teen’s concerns by finding a compromise to church attendance? For example, you might allow your teen to miss church one or two Sundays a month on the condition that he instead engage in a time of Bible reading and prayer with you on Sunday.

What’s most important is not whether your son is sitting in a church service for a set number of hours per week; it’s more important that you or other Christian mentors listen to him and offer guidance as he wrestles with faith and life issues.

© 2015 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

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