When he wrote the song ‘Easy Like Sunday Morning’, there’s no way Lionel Richie had ever been to church with kids. (At least not his own). Those of us who have know just how challenging it can be.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the first step toward a better Sunday morning is figuring out where the pressure points are. Once we do that, we can figure out what will make things better both before, and during, our time at church.
In this post, I want to share some things that should make Sunday morning better for everyone. Many will be helpful for parents with kids of any age.
Ideas For A More Restful, Worshipful Sunday Morning
OK, let’s dive in.
- Pray. It’s funny (well, not really) – we say we need God’s help, but then we try to fix all of our problems on our own. Our kids show us we’re not in control and can encourage us to seek God’s help for peace in our families, especially as we’re on our way to worship.
- Remember what it’s all about. If our real goal is to have an easy journey to church, look like we’re the perfect parents, or, just to be totally free of distractions during worship, we’re going to be disappointed and anxious. But if our goal is to love God and the people around us (see Matthew 22:37-39), we’ll be OK with the sometimes messy process of getting there. Our perspective makes all the difference even if our circumstances don’t change right away.
- Work as a team. It’s so important for both of you to be actively involved and unified in your approach. For example, my wife and I take turns being responsible for Matthew, our autistic son. He can sit through a service, but, needs a lot of help and redirection. On the weeks when one of us is ‘on’ with Matthew, the other one can concentrate on the sermon much more fully.
- Plan Ahead. If there are things you know you’ll need to bring, getting them ready the night before can really ease stress the next morning. Packing diaper bags, bringing crayons and paper, and so on.
- Get to bed on time the night before. It’s amazing how much a good night’s sleep improves your perspective. And vice-versa. It’s so tempting to stay up late but rarely worth it.
- Allow a little extra time in the morning. This is obviously connected to the night before, but I find that it’s usually hard to actually put my feet on the floor after my alarm goes off. Giving ourselves more time makes us less stressed, and allows for handling the unexpected with patience and grace.
- Don’t get drawn in. If our kids are cranky, fighting or disrespecting us, emotions can run high. We can find ourselves in extensive debates, usually centering around the theme ‘I Was Right’. Although ideally we’d be able to sit down and work things fully through, sometimes it’s more profitable to nip these debates in the bud, provide some direction and move on.
- Practice forgiveness. Nothing makes less sense than worshiping God when we’re angry with our family. In fact, God makes it clear that he wants us to be reconciled with others before we worship him (Matthew 5:23-24). Asking for forgiveness and helping our kids do the same will free us to honor God and be present as we worship.
- Connect with God throughout the week. Our times at church are unique in a lot of ways, but they’re not meant to replace or supercharge our relationship with God. If we’re connecting with God throughout the week, then it’s OK if Sunday mornings don’t go as planned.
No doubt more can be said here, but hopefully these ideas will add to your own. Speaking of that, share your ideas for making Sunday morning better with us in the comments below. Let’s learn from each other!
Let’s Live It Out: What one idea can you try this week to make your family’s Sunday morning better?