Getting ready for church can be the most stressful time of my week. You too? I’ve been working on solidifying our routine and being consistent. My goal: arrive to church a tad early in peace. In this post I want to share my thoughts with you. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m making progress and I have a plan!
Have the Right Mindset
The first thing to do to successfully, and peacefully, get to church on time is to have the right mindset. Center your day and thoughts on the services. Stop thinking of Sunday – at least Sunday morning – as a “day of rest.” It is a day set aside for God and our focus should be on drawing even closer to Him, but as mothers that does not mean what we may want it to mean. Start thinking of getting ready for church as the main priority of the day.
Create a Peaceful Routine and Plan
After you have the right mindset, it’s time to make a plan. This plan will tell you when to start the process of getting ready and what to do. It will be your “get ready for church” routine. Think through what it takes to get ready for church and decide how long you need to get ready for church.
- Think about what needs to be done. Write down in order who needs to be fed, cleaned, changed and what needs to be packed.
- Write how long each item takes. Maybe it takes 30 minutes to get yourself ready, 20 minutes to feed and clean up the little children, 30 minutes to get them dressed, and 20 minutes to gather things, get shoes on and get out the door. While you’re doing this part, have a conversation with your husband about who will do what. (If you’re able to have his help.)
- Determine the total time. This example comes to an hour and 40 minutes, but let’s add 20 minutes for unexpected things, and we’ve got 2 hours.
Whatever time you come up with, it may feel like a long time, but if you set your motion in the direction of getting ready for church early, then whatever pops up can be handled in peace because you have margin. Once it’s handled, you can turn your focus back to getting ready for church. No more frantically yelling at kids to hurry up and “We’re going to be late!” Because I’ve done that way too many times and it’s no way to begin a service of prayer.
Determine a Start Time
- Start backwards and decide when you want to get to the church. Fifteen minutes before the service starts is a good goal so you have time to hang coats, use the restroom, and get set in your spot. If the service starts at 10:00, you want to arrive at 9:45.
- Think about how long it takes to drive to church. Say it takes 15 minutes. Add 5 minutes just in case, and you need to be driving away at 9:25. But it usually takes you 10 minutes to load up and buckle, so you need to shoot for walking out the door at 9:15.
- Factor in your routine time. Take the amount of time of your “get ready for church” routine and go backwards some more. Our example was two hours, so start time is 7:15.
Tips to Make Things Smoother
Now you’ve got your time frame and routine set up. Let me give you some tips to make getting ready a little smoother:
- Keep church shoes in a separate place. A friend of mine told me she keeps her kids’ church shoes in their bedroom instead of by the front door. This is brilliant, but it does take some effort after church of reminding kids to put the shoes back in their special spot. I started doing this as well and it has been working!
- Set out outfits early so they are ready to go. If something is missing, you have plenty of time to find it.
- Have bags of activities and books always packed and set aside. I have a bag set aside just for church in our closet with books and quiet toys for the younger children to use during church. That way we don’t have to be hunting things down and packing it up every time we go to church.
- If you are bringing food to church, modify your plan to accommodate for that. Prepare as much ahead as possible!
Use Your Plan
Training yourself and your family to get to church on time and in peace is a matter of having the right mindset and a plan. Give it the focus it requires, have a start time and a plan, and do what you can to be prepared ahead of time. Once you follow your plan a few times, things will begin to flow like clockwork and you won’t dread getting ready for church again!
Don’t let the inconvenience and work of getting to church keep you from going with your children. Yes, there are times to stay home, but there are also plenty of times we should go. I hope this planning process and tips make it a little easier for you to get to church on time in peace.
Keep Your Peace
Still, plans do fall through or we fail to follow them properly. Don’t let this rob you of your peace. These tips are intended to help things go smoothly, but the biggest factor in that is our own attitudes. Above all, try to keep your peace – even if you’re running late, can’t find the right shoes, or a child is having a meltdown.
Most importantly, remember to pray. Let us keep Christ with us as we prepare to worship Him at church!