...And How We've Made it Work
Why DO we make church a priority in our family?
It was a question that needed attention.
Sometimes we get into the habit of something without digging deep into the heart of the reasoning.
We choose to make church a priority not only for the obvious reasons of being spiritually fed and the fellowship, but also because of our responsibility to others and obedience to Christ.
Notice I used the present tense "choose." It is an open invitation each week from the Creator. That's humbling enough, isn't it?
Each week, we have the option of choosing to go or stay home.
Sleep in, or get up.
I am always blown away with the excuse of "we have a hard time getting up so early for church." How does their boss feel about that on weekdays? How do their children's teachers respond when they drop them off late at school and the excuse is "we have a hard time getting up in the morning"? Making church a priority is all about choices.
If my children see me making church an option, rather than a priority, I am teaching that very concept: church is optional.
Have a golf game on a Sunday morning? Optional.
Had a late night? Optional.
If we make church an option, then when they leave the nest, what will they most likely do? Make it an option.
As they head off into adulthood and the array of options available on most college campuses, I want the steady diet of God's word, fellowship and spiritual growth to be a priority. Not an option.
It saddens me how many parents I see, even within our own church, who do not make regular church attendance a priority. If you are a young mom, I encourage you to make. it. happen. From the time our children were infants, we have chosen to attend the 8:00 am service. I know this is not for everyone, but just hear me out. ;)
When we are in town, we go to church on Sundays. Our kids have never asked, "are we going to church tomorrow?" They just know. We choose the early service because it gives us more of an afternoon to enjoy as a family. Not once have my kids complained about having to get up. Not because they weren't tired... simply because they know what the expectations are. It's like it never even crosses their mind that church is optional.
Now, lest you think I am a supermom that gets up at o'dark-thirty to have all my chicks in a row, here is how it works for us:
6:05 alarm goes off
6:15 roll out of bed (not usually bearing a smile)
I get in the shower while my husband lets the dog out and gets the kids up. This system has taken some tweaking over the years, but now that the kids can dress themselves it works much faster.
6:30 While I dry my hair, he takes a shower. The kids at this age can self maintain. When they were younger, we plopped them in front of some cartoons so we could get ready in peace. See, we're normal.
7:10 Roll out of the driveway
7:25 Pick up donuts to eat in the car (excellent
7:40 arrive at church to make coffee for children's workers
See? I don't dress my kids. I don't make breakfast. I'm not supermom. :)
One of the rules we had to install for our pre-teen girls is that we lay their clothes out the night before and they are not allowed to change their mind on Sunday. Way too much drama for 6:30 am. This rule does not apply to mom, by the way. She may change her mind. Multiple times.
As a word of caution, church attendance is one of those areas that could easily become legalistic in nature. We don't go to church because it is the rule. We go to church because we desire to follow after Christ, minister to and fellowship with others, and grow in the Word.
I'll finish with a a funny (quick)story:
When our oldest daughter was 3 she HATED coming to church. She would start crying when we pulled into the parking lot. She cried the ENTIRE time she was in her Sunday school class. They even had to get an extra person to work her room just for her. I, needless to say, was mortified. But they were precious souls who encouraged me to not give up. So we didn't. Now that same child who wailed over having to come to church is almost twelve. She LOVES going to church. In fact, she gets super frustrated if we have to miss for sickness or travel. Each Saturday she will usually say, "I'm so excited that tomorrow is Sunday. I love church!"
Priorities. So worth it!