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Hf #48: Preparing for Sunday Morning (Getting to Church Consistently)

on October 7, 2016 by Jami Balmet 15 comments

A really big problem for modern homemakers today trying to draw closer to the Lord, is developing the consistent habit of weekly attend Church.

It can be tough with crazy schedules, young kids, or unsupportive family members to get to Church consistently. And even if you do manage to get there consistently, your Sunday mornings might be chaotic and hard. 

preparing-for-sunday-morning

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So today we are going to address the importance of weekly attending Church and then get into some practical suggestions for helping make your mornings and weekends go smoother. 

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

The Importance of Regular Church Attendance 

“The reason corporate worship may be the single most important Christian habit, and our greatest weapon in the fight for joy, is because like no other single habit, corporate worship combines all three essential principles of God’s ongoing supply of grace for the Christian life: hearing his voice (in his word), having his ear (in prayer), and belonging to his body (in the fellowship of the church). – David Mathis, Your Single Most Important Habit

I love that he says it can be our greatest weapon in the fight for joy! How often do I fight for real joy in my life? That joy that can only come from God himself? And our greatest weapon in that fight might just be found right inside our local Church. 

“The New Testament also teaches that every believer is to be under the protection and nurture of the leadership of the local church. These godly men can shepherd the believer by encouraging, admonishing, and teaching. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 help us to understand that God has graciously granted accountability to us through godly leadership. – John MacArthur, What’s So Important About Your Church?

Another key piece of corporate worship is putting ourselves under the authority and teaching of our local pastor and elders. Yes, there are solid preachers that you can listen on the internet, like many of these resources I’m sharing with you today, but these should be in supplement to your local congregation and pastor’s teaching not replacing it.

It’s not always easy to make it to Church with all our littles – but it’s WELL worth it in the end!

I’m studying through the book of Acts right now in my weekly women’s Bible study and one very clear principle we find is how important is was for the Early Church to come together regularly for teaching, for support, for prayer, and more. It was NOT a solo journey but a journey that was very much lived in community.

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” – Acts 2:42 

Speaking of the early Church in Acts, John MacArthur says,

“They learned God’s Word and the implications of it in their lives, they joined to carry out acts of love and service to one another, they commemorated the Lord’s death and resurrection through the breaking of bread, and they prayed. Of course, we can do these things individually, but God has called us into His Body—the church is the local representation of that worldwide Body—and we should gladly minister and be ministered to among God’s people.

Active involvement in your local church is imperative to living a life without compromise. It is only through the ministry of the local church that a believer can receive the kind of teaching, accountability, and encouragement that is necessary for him to stand firm in his convictions. God has ordained that the church provide the kind of environment where an uncompromising life can thrive and His people can grow spiritually.” – What’s So Important About Your Church?

We encourage and equip one another when we are in community. We call each other on things and hold each other to a higher accountability. Yes, this hurts sometimes. And yes, the Church contains sinners just like you and I. But it’s God’s form of community and so we should not neglect to meet together. 

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17 says

So with that, what are some practical tips for becoming more regular with your Church attendance. I assume your heart desire is to become more consistent, but I get it…it’s just tough sometimes! Here are some things that might help: 

Preparing for Sunday Morning

1) Commit to it

It is a non-negotiable to our family each week to attend Church. Sunday morning is for Church. There is no getting to Saturday night or Sunday morning and wondering if we will go that week. It’s like getting to Monday morning, you don’t waver and go back and forth wondering if you should get out of bed to get to work. No, you get up and go.

Church is the same. Unless for the rare case where we might miss a Sunday or two a year due to vacation, we don’t plan things for Sunday morning. If our kids soccer schedule was going to have games Sunday morning, we wouldn’t do it. If my husband was offered a new job that had him working Sundays, we would turn it down.

Sunday morning worship is a big deal to us and we treat it as such. 

my-saturday-night-routine
Documenting my Saturday night routine! Clothes laid out: Check! Oatmeal in the crockpot: Check!

The other exception of course is sickness. And unfortunately with four little kids, this happens far more often than we would like. Throughout August we missed four weeks in a row which is the longest I have ever not attended. But we had two nasty sicknesses string there way through the four kids at different times. Of course, through the middle of the week, everyone felt better. Then Saturday night would roll around and someone inevitable came down with it.

Some of those Sunday’s Jason took a couple of the kids who were not sick to church still. And I stayed home with the sickies. We are really hoping that that’s our bout of sickness for the year! But that’s life with little kids and we make the best of it. 

2) Start preparing on Saturday

With four kids three and under, people often ask how we stay so consistent with attending Church (except of course in August which was just horrible)! And the single best habit I ever developed in helping us get to church, is preparing on Saturday. I’ll talk specifics below but I prepare clothes, food, and any bible resources we need the night before.

We also talk to the kids on Saturday, making sure they are aware and prepared for church the next day (and excited)!

3) Lay out all your clothes

Seriously, this tip will change your Sunday morning! I lay out all four kids clothes the night before, pick out my own outfit complete with jewelry and my husband often picks out his outfit the night before as well. Usually after Dinner, Jason will bathe all four boys while I pick up dinner and start thinking through the next day.

laying-out-the-boys-clothes

I go hunt down pajamas for all four boys so it’s ready when they hop out of the bath and I start gathering clothes, socks, and shoes for the next day. As I find the outfits, I bring them out and lay them on the kitchen counter: complete with socks, underwear, shoes, coats, everything we will need for the next morning.

Picking out MY own outfit for Church – complete with shoes AND jewelry!

Often during this hunt, I find that I need to do at least one load of laundry. So right then, usually around 6:30 I put up a load of laundry and then throughout the rest of the night I change it to the dryer, and usually right before bed I grab out what I need for outfits for the next day.

This saves me so much time and headache in the morning, especially if we are running late!

4) Make Breakfast the night before

I don’t always do this, but when I do, it makes a huge difference the next day! This often involves putting up a crockpot of oatmeal to be done when we get up, setting the coffee maker to be done when Jason and I wake up, or making banana bread for the next day.

making-breakfast-the-night-before

Having the meal done, or at least planned out, helps our morning to run so smooth and cuts out a lot of time.

5) Pray!

If you are really struggling with making this a habit, or if your husband isn’t supportive, then I highly suggest you take this to the Lord in prayer. Ask the Lord for peace and the strength to work on making this a habit! And ask Him for wisdom in the process. But don’t pray this once and move on, keep praying daily, and weekly for God’s strength and wisdom!

I think the key to all of this is preparing before hand. Don’t wait until Sunday morning, or it will probably be chaos. We’ve had our fair share of chaotic Sunday mornings and I have times now when I get tired and lazy on Saturday and don’t do anything to prepare, and those Sunday mornings are always so much more chaotic!

Now that I’ve been doing this regularly: of laying out clothes, preparing food the night before, and getting things all set up, it is just second nature. After dinner on Saturday’s we kind of naturally fall into this routine and it really doesn’t take a lot of extra effort now.

At Church with my gang of boys! 😀

So my challenge to you as we head into this weekend, start planning for Church now!! If it’s Friday afternoon and you’ve got a little extra time, make breakfast for Sunday morning and sick it in the fridge! Gather up clothes and do a load of laundry. Do a little planning ahead and it makes a big difference!

And if you’ve figured out some good tricks for getting to church, please leave a comment and share! I love when we can all learn together. 

Resource of the Week:

Habits of Grace by David Mathis 

I’ve shared this book here on the podcast before and it remains to be one of my very favorite books on Spiritual Disciplines. I love it for his advice on Bible reading and prayer. But a full third of the book is dedicated to a third spiritual discipline: belonging to the body: fellowship. He has 6 chapters dedicated to fellowship and the church. If you want an in depth study on this and how it relates to our own personal spiritual disciplines, I highly recommend you get a copy of this book!

Links & Resources Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

5 Keys to Planning a Successful Day 

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Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. I recently created a church bag. I keep all the extra things we will need for church in it (extra diapers and small wipes pack, a coloring sheet and crayons for the kids, a pen for me to take notes, etc) I also keep my mid week Bible study book in it. If I know that I am going to bring something to someone at church that week I will throw that in the bag too earlier in the week. Then on Sunday I just have to add my Bible and wallet. It has made it much easier getting out the door and me much less likely to forget something. And when the kids bring me their Sunday school papers I now have a place to put them as we are leaving church instead of trying to juggle three little kids, a Bible, purse, Sunday school papers, etc. It was an easy thing to do but has made Sundays much easier for me.

  2. I don’t go to church (our nearest church is over 150 miles away!) so my worship time consists of preacher podcasts (I love Elevate Life Church with Pastor Tim Staier), my ‘worship’ playlist, some quiet time with my bible, and my fellowship time is all online (EVERYONE I interact with face to face is secular). So I don’t have any tips for getting ready on Sunday mornings!
    3 days a week I have to leave the house by 6.30am for work, I also prepare the night before, having clothes laid out is really important and such a time saver, I don’t make breakfast the night before though, I have found that making a quick pot of porridge (oatmeal?) doesn’t take very long, and I only have to make it for one, as well as bacon and eggs for hubby (and a coffee for me!). I try to make sure I have everything I need in the car the night before. I’ve also found making sure the pet areas are all organised the night before (eg water bowls filled) and then usually you just need to give it a quick check in the morning rather than spending time refilling everything.

    Thanks for sharing all your tips, and can I just say that I love your gorgeous church outfits!!

    • Oh that’s so hard Eliza!! But I’m so glad you’ve found some resources that work for you at home 🙂 So smart! Doing even a little bit the night before can make things so much easier 😀

      Aaw thanks!! Those two pictures were from Easter and Mother’s Day I think (???) so we were extra fancy..hence why we took photos lol!

  3. Hi Jami,
    Thank you for this podcast. I usually get the kids clothes ready the night before. But I have been letting this discipline slip. (We have a 5 year old and twin 2 year olds.) And you are right, it makes such a difference to my ability to get the five of us out of the door in a timely manner. The only thing that I do in addition to your tips is to have a bag of “church books” for the kids by the door ready to grab as we leave. The bag is always there and I change some of the books every couple of months to try and tie in with the liturgical year.

  4. I love these ideas for a smoother Sunday morning! I love how your posts are gospel-centered but also so practical! Your practical ideas are always so helpful and I love seeing what works for you in your home and family. I’m always inspired and encouraged!

  5. Thank you!
    I listened to this podcast yesterday. It motivated me to make a priority of getting to church this Sunday. I was so blessed and thank you for your wisdom.

  6. My husband is a worship pastor at our church (with early morning rehearsals and leading both the early and late services), so I’ve had to figure out how to get my three little ones ready and on time to church by myself every week. My number one tip came from reading the book 24/6. I think it was in this book that the author said, “Make Sunday morning a win.” So what that meant for me and my kids was that Sunday morning became known as “cereal Sunday.” That is breakfast every Sunday now…and yes, it might be filled with sugar and totally unhealthy. But, it has completely saved my sanity and is something all of us look forward to on Sundays. After doing cereal on Sundays only for over a year, I finally realized I could create a basic breakfast schedule for every day of the week and oh how it has made my life easier!!! Here is our current breakfast schedule (I don’t always stick with it, but more often than not these are the super quick and simple go-to breakfasts I serve):
    Sunday: Cereal
    Monday: Smoothies
    Tuesday: Yogurt with fruit and honey
    Wednesday: Toast with some sort of topping (peanut butter, smashed boiled eggs, smashed avocado, or butter/jelly)
    Thursday: Scrambled eggs with cheese and fruit
    Friday: Oatmeal (regular, overnight, or baked)
    Saturday: Triscuits with cheese (melted in microwave)
    Repeat! 🙂

  7. I use to steal the kids church shoes. The minute each child walked through the door after church I would help them take off their shoes and I would put them up high in a closet where only Daddy and I could reach them. After that, I never had to go on a hunt for that one lost shoe!

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