This is the first part of a two part post. Really, it is the preamble to the post to follow, and they both deal with false notions. Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies and I believe he has foisted a lie into the minds of parents concerning church for their children.
Have you ever sat and listened to parents as they pick up their children from church? What do you think is the first question most parents ask? Is it. "What did you learn about the Bible today?" Is it, "What did you learn about God or about Christ today?" Are they checking to be sure their children are learning correct doctrine, or about the great men and women of faith in the Bible, or having the gospel presented to them? No, the question most often asked is....."Did you have fun?", followed by... Did you enjoy it?". For so many, their main concern is not the quality of the biblical content and teaching their children are getting, but the amount of enjoyment or entertainment they are getting. Instead of hearing from the parents about the ability of the teachers to communicate spiritual truth, the joy of the Lord, and the love of the Lord, or their care and concern for the spiritual formation and welfare of their children; you hear comments regarding how playful the teachers are or how they get down on the children's level (whatever that means).
Don't get me wrong, I don't think church should be a dour and sour place where your children are screaming not to go back, like they do when you take them to the doctor's office; but the church has bought into and is selling and the parents have bought into and are buying, the false notion that church is all about fun, games, and excitement for their children. And, honestly, many parents expect it to be the same for themselves, as well. So many churches market themselves through the children's programs knowing that if they make and keep the children happy they will keep the parents coming.
For your children the church should be a training ground, laying the foundation of spiritual truth that will give your children the wisdom that leads to salvation. It should supplement and support what you are giving them at home in preparation for a life on their own. There should be the joy and love of the Lord present. It should be enjoyable, but there still must be the goal of the bigger picture of spiritual preparation and spiritual formation. As a parent, your criteria for judging the value and quality of a church for your children, should be based upon what I have just mentioned, not upon the emotional whims of your children or which church is the most Disney-like in its facilities and programs. In fact, this concern about your children having fun communicates to them the church is all about having fun; and this is the false notion that is built into their minds so that the minute it isn't all fun and games, they lose interest.
Step back and analyze what your church is really doing to your children in and through their children's ministry. Look past the all the hoopla, facilities, and hype. Can you discern the eternal values that are intentionally being built into your children, or is the emphasis on the temporal, shallow fun of the world. What do you want them to have? Are things of eternal value what they are really receiving, or have you and your church been deceived by the schemes of Satan to be enamored with fun and entertainment so that you trade the truth for a lie.