Getting to Church on Time and in a Good Spiritual Condition

Not too long ago, a friend pointed me to a video that Desiring God put out showing a a family getting ready for church on Sunday morning. There are no words in the video and yet it contains a powerful message. You might want to take a couple of moments to watch it below.

The video got me thinking that everyone with kids could probably use some practical help when it comes to getting to church both on time and with a heart that’s ready to worship. Because of my role in the church, the overwhelming majority of Sundays for the past 8 plus years my wife has had the responsibility to get herself and our four kids to church. Right now they have to be there around 8:15. In the past when we’ve had three services, they’d have to get there earlier.

Christine has done a great job of pulling this off but she’d never feel comfortable talking about it publicly. That’s why I thought that I would share with you just a few of the things that I’ve seen her do that might work for other families.

1. It all starts on Saturday night. It’s important for everyone to get to bed at a decent time. An old friend of mine used to say that the discipline to get up “on time” is really the discipline to get to bed “on time.” And this isn’t just for the kids. If mom and dad don’t get enough sleep, then they are more likely to be grumpy.

2. Saturday night is also the time to get clothes laid out for Sunday. There’s no reason to wait to do that in the morning. The younger kids are easier because Christine can just choose their clothes for them. She puts the clothes on the floor and the kids know that the first thing that they do in the morning is get dressed.

The older kids, of course, pick their own clothes to wear. The key here to have decided long beforehand what constitutes “church” clothes. That’s going to be different for every family but the important thing is to not rehash that issue every Sunday morning. Not only does it cause you to be late but it also can result in anger that hinders your worship. Personally, I’m not too worried about what my kids look like at church. If you’ve seen them on the Sundays that I get them ready, that won’t come as any surprise to you.

3. Keep breakfast simple. At our house, Sundays aren’t the time for eggs, bacon, and pancakes. A bowl of cereal or a frozen waffle works just fine. One advantage to getting to church early is that you can usually grab a doughnut or a bagel.

4. Even more important than getting your body fed, clothed, and transported to church is making sure that your family’s heart is ready to worship. Maybe you could read aloud a short psalm (try Psalm 100) during breakfast. Maybe while you are getting dressed or driving, you could pray, “Lord, our bodies are awake but we pray that you would wake our souls up this morning so that we can see your glory and hear your truth.” God loves to answer those kinds of prayers.

5. Because we want to get to church in a decent spiritual condition to meet with God, we try really hard to avoid conflict on Sunday mornings. That can be hard because when we are in a hurry (especially early in the morning), we tend to say stupid things or overreact or be defensive. So I think that parents need to resolve (depending on God’s grace) to promote a spirit of peace and unity on Sunday mornings. You almost have the attitude that there is NOTHING that can be said or done that is going to get me going. I’m not going to let my kids (or spouse) push my buttons. If there is something that needs to be dealt with, it can wait till after my Sunday afternoon nap, when I will be in a better position to deal with it appropriately.

Hope that helps. If you have any additional tips, share them in the comments. Also, watch the video. It’s pretty convicting.

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