[This is an excerpt from Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Help Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids, by Dr. Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark. They come from different faith traditions than we do, so some of their language may be a bit different from what we would use, and some of their ideas may not work in our context. I hope, though, that this can be a springboard for wisely thinking through a situation many Christian parents face. Also, please feel free to talk with me if you are struggling through something along these lines--I probably won't have many answers, but I am a willing listener who cares about you and your young people. :) ]
About half of the time I share the importance of intergenerational worship with parents, I get asked, “Should I make my kid go to church?” Believe me, as much as I am an advocate for intergenerational worship, I’m not naïve about how teenagers feel about sitting through church. I felt that way a fair amount myself as a kid.
This is a tough question, one I wish we could discuss over coffee so I could ask more questions about your kids and family. But not knowing your specific family, let me say this: while your long-term goal is intergenerational connection primarily in and with a church family, the first hurdle is to help your kid to feel like they are part of something they are choosing and enjoy. Forced friendships do not work very well for adolescents. Depending on the issues your child is dealing with and why they do not want to go, perhaps you could consider the following: