Have you seen the Iron Man movies? You know how Tony Stark steps up and all of the robotic pieces assemble the iron man suit on him in just a few seconds and he’s ready to save the world? Well, I need some investors to fund a super secret project I’m working on specifically for Sunday mornings. Wouldn’t you like to get out of bed, step on small platform, say a command and boom, clip, snap, zip…..you are dressed and ready to go to church?
If you want to invest in my project, just let me know. If we make it a successful product that increases Sunday morning attendance then we may market it to families for weekdays as well. In 30+ years of ministry (hard to believe for guy still 35), I’ve seen so many good and well intentioned people who plan on attending church on Sundays, but when it comes time to leave home, they either make the decision to stay home or they arrive late – and many times because they didn’t get prepared and ready in time.
And let’s face it, if your intentions are to go to church, it seems like everything will be hurled in your path. The hot water goes out, the toilet overflows, the hairdryer blows up, or the dog pukes on your shoes. And, especially for… young families, it is a challenge. The kids will pick this day to have a World Wrestling Federation Tournament, and all the while dad is reeling and dealing with the 7 pieces of pizza he ate just before bedtime…..oh my…. And there is mad dash to assemble everyone’s outfits and get the kids out the door with clothes that hopefully fit, perhaps are clean, but won’t be several hours, or even several minute later. And then there are the inevitable ”I don’t want to wear this today” battles that can easily set us back 2o minutes…….per child. If we/they get anything to eat for breakfast we’re cramming down stale Fruity Pebbles or worse as were scurrying out the door, or the little ones may find a few week old McDonald fries in between the seats… always good nutrition for a long Sunday.
By the time you’re in the mini-van the kids are fussing at each other…“Mom she’s touching me”..”Stop it! I said stop! “Don’t hit your sister!”……Mom is reaching back to grab anything she can swing that won’t permanently scar the child and Dad pronounces, “if I hear another word, I’m pulling over and will tie your little fannies to the roof rack of this van until we get into the church parking lot!! NOT ANOTHER WORD!! DO YOU HEAR ME? WE’RE GOING TO WORSHIP …….YEAH, WE’RE GOING TO WORSHIP JESUS!
Now mom’s sobbing. (dad)“What is it?” ”I’ve got on a navy shoe and a black shoe.” For crying out loud, are you kidding me? You’re just going to have to wear it?” ”Are you crazy? I’m not going in the church like this. People will think I’m crazy.” “Well, honey, they already suspect it.”……… Oops, so now the van goes silent. And the little crum crunchers in the back seats are thinking that dad will be joining them on the roof rack momentarily . Mom ends the madness with, ”Well, just take us home. We will watch it online.” God bless them all. They will try again next week.
I don’t have the answers for family stuff. When I was 24 I thought I could write a book “100 Surefire Tips To Raise A Family.” But now, at 54, it would be titled “Here are Four or Five Suggestions That Might Work But I’m Not Really Sure.” So, here are some suggestions about getting going on Sunday mornings. Nothing brilliant, but stuff that have helped Annette and I through the years, especially the earlier years.
1. Don’t wait until Saturday evening to think about the next church gathering. Plan a bit ahead about Sunday, think or study on the spiritual topic of the day if you know what it is, and just generally look toward the weekend.
2. Enjoy your Saturday evening, but try to use Friday evenings for your late night movies or social gatherings rather than being out so extremely late on Saturdays. We certainly make exceptions to this sometimes, but as a general rule we try not to be out so late on Saturdays.
3. Get your clothes out, ironed, and ready to go before you go to bed Saturday evening. For the vast majority of my marriage I wasn’t able to help my wife get the kids to church on Sunday AM because I had to be there so early. By herself she handled that masterfully well by making sure the clothes were ready the night before. Personally, I still get up between 5:30 and 6 on Sunday mornings and I never go to bed on Saturday evening unless my clothes are ready to go for Sunday.
4. Fight the feeling and DON’T OVERUSE the snooze alarm on Sunday. That extra 9, 18, or 21 minutes can be the difference between a peaceful family journey to church and a family scene that would be found in an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
5. Leave 15-20 minutes earlier than you think you should. I know at our church it seems that everyone tends to start arriving at the same time. Parents are checking in children to their various departments and it creates a bit of a log jam if everyone arrives at the same time. That sets up the beginning of the worship service so that a hundred people or so are not in the worship center to hear the first two songs……but I’m not bitter….nope….not at all…not me……But even arriving ten minutes earlier can make a big difference in your day, and you will be surprised how much stress it will take off of you, and how much more you can enter the worship service with a calmer demeanor.
Gathering together with our fellow believers is so important. And we are all just humans trying to get there after a long hard week. Maybe one or two of these suggestions might help.
With that said, I will probably be late next week….
Talk to you soon.
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