By Faith Chang
05.25.2023 | Min Read

"I wish I could go to church every day," my daughter said this week. It was a gift to me to hear her say that, a testimony to church members who love our children well, servant-hearted Sunday School teachers, and the grace of God. 

I don't know that I ever wished the same thing as a child. I have not always enjoyed attending worship services or seen the beauty of God's church the way I do now. Though I grew up deeply involved in church, it was only in my twenties that I came to appreciate what until then had been an assumed part of my life. Through a seminary course on the doctrine of the church, God cultivated in me an awe of his vision for the local church and opened my eyes to its beauty.

To see my children love being with God's people fills me with joy, and I'm grateful that in recent years, many new resources have been created to help cultivate this love in kids and teens.

Why Teach Young People about the Church?

Being a child of God means that I am also a part of the family of God, and as we disciple young people, we are called to help them understand what it means to be a member of this family. Especially in an individualistic culture, we need to be intentional to cultivate a Christian vision of communal calling and identity in the next generation. Part of this discipleship means helping children and teens understand why we do what we do in the church and what the church is. 

Young people need to know more than the fact that they should attend Sunday worship, meet with believers midweek, pray together, or visit the sick and mourningThey need to see why these things are essential to our lives before God. They need a vision of the church as more than a building, organization, or event, but as God's family, the body of Christ, a people brought out of darkness into marvelous light to declare God's praises together.

Though there are days when getting to church, sitting through Sunday service, and being in community is hard, children need see and experience God's grace in the church. As a parent and older person in the church, I want our young people to know that the church as God intended it to be is both necessary and beautiful. To know that even in their youth, they have a special place in it. Much of this biblical vision for the church is "caught" more than "taught," cultivated through modeling, relationships, and other formative experiences in the local church. However, a love and gratitude for God's church can also be nourished and cultivated through intentional conversations–and books!

From toddler to teen, here are some books that can help you and the young people in your life grow in loving God’s church and glimpse the beauty of God's vision for his church.

Books for Toddler & Elementary Aged Readers

The Church (Big Theology for Little Hearts) (Ages 1-3)

This colorful board book introduces our littlest ones to the gift of God’s church through engaging illustrations and simple words.

What is the Church

What Is the Church? (Ages 2-6)

A sweet, rhyming book teaching kids that the question of “What is the Church” is “not what, but WHO…The church is made of people just like me and just like you.”

Meg is Not Alone

Meg Is Not Alone (Ages 3-7)

When Meg accidentally gets left behind at church by her parents, she is loved by church friends young and old, and learns to be a church friend too.

God's Very Good Idea (Ages 3-6)

The beautiful story of God’s delightfully different family and the way Jesus has redeemed us to bring us together in his church.

The Big Wide Welcome (Ages 3-6)

The true story about Jesus, James, and a church that learned to love all sorts of people.

God Made Me for Worship: Helping Children Understand Church (Ages 4-8)

Help children understand why we do what we do during worship services and how that ties into the vision of Isaiah 6.

Books for Middle School, High School, & Beyond

How Can I Feel Closer to God? (Big Questions) (Ages 9-13)

In the chapter “How (and why) should I do all this with other people,” Chris Morphew encourages teens to “Go all in” with church and explains why.

This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (Ages 13-17)

The chapter in this book dedicated to community helps teens see how the gospel changes our ideas of church, and helps teens see their part in loving, serving, and worshiping with their churches.

A Place to Belong: Learning to Love the Local Church (Ages 16+)

With rich theology and practical direction, Megan Hill helps older teens and adult readers see the beautiful picture of the local church painted in the Scriptures.

Devoted to God's Church: Core Values for Christian Fellowship (Ages 16+)

Sinclair Ferguson's book is a refreshing reminder to every Christian of what it should look like to belong to the family of God.