To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Time For Church

"...not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." ~Heb. 10:25

I am asked often how we manage to faithfully attend church with so many little ones. We attend Sunday School, morning service and evening service on Sundays as well as our mid-week prayer meeting.  Many will say, "I only have 1 or 2 and I can't get there, I don't know how you do it". So I thought I'd share how we make it so that we are able to attend regularly. If you don't go to church and have no interest in going then this post isn't for you. But to those of you who do want to attend church faithfully but maybe are struggling with doing so, this post might be a help to you.

The first thing I would say to those people who ask how we get everyone there is that it has to be a PRIORITY. Not going to church is not an option for us unless someone is sick. People make time for the things they really want to do so if church is something you really want to do then your mindset has to be that nothing will get in the way of you getting there. For us Sunday is for church and our kids know this. They have never known anything different. Any sport or activity that meets on a Sunday is not an option in our family. We keep church a priority even when we are on vacation. And I will tell you that we have met some wonderful people across the country because of this. Basically if you wake up on Sunday not sure if you are going to church or not, then you probably won't get there. There are too many other things that will pull you away. And also...our kids DO NOT decide if we go or not. They never have the option of staying home. EVER. Unless they are sick, of course. Thankfully we have kids that are sad when they can't go...for now anyway! 

The next thing that needs to happen is you have to be ORGANIZED! I start getting ready for church on Saturday. I usually make sure they have clean church pants in the morning so that if they don't I can do a load in the afternoon and have them ready for Sunday. This rarely happens but lately it's happening more often that not! At night when we are putting everyone to bed I take out their clothes for Sunday and lay it out so that when they wake up the ones that can dress themselves know what to put on and can be ready. This takes 10 mins so I can't ever say, "I'm too tired to do this". What's 10 more mins??! I also pack the diaper bag the night before. This has really helped me to not forget anything because in the craziness of the morning it's easy to forget something. I've forgotten a bottle for the baby before! Thankfully we live 2 mins from church but I still don't want this happening on a regular basis. 

An important part of getting anywhere and getting there on time is to WAKE UP ON TIME. Set an alarm, set two if you have to. We don't look at Sunday's as a day for sleeping in, even though for us getting up at 6 is sleeping in. I wake up early so I can get my shower in and start getting ready before everyone else wakes up at 7. We make the kids get up, they aren't allowed to stay in bed as long as they want...not that this is a problem because I don't have sleepers yet. They're all up at that time anyway. Ben gets up at this time too and HELPS. I stress that because there are so many husbands that don't help on Sunday mornings and I am so thankful that I do have help because it makes getting out the door so much easier and manageable. He usually gets them all breakfast while I finish getting myself ready. Then I start getting the girls dressed while he helps the boys that need help. Then Ben has time after that to get himself ready and practice on the piano before church while I make sure everyone has brushed their teeth, washed faces & hands, and do the girl's hair. 

Then there's Prayer Meeting. Ours is on Weds. nights at 7pm. This is a very challenging service to get to with little kids. If you attend a church and you have young families who faithfully attend this service please encourage them and let them know how thankful you are they come because it's not easy to get to. If there is one church service Satan loves to convince me I'm better off not being at it's this one. It's mid-week so there are work and school schedules to factor in, dinner to have and clean up, homework to do with kids. By 7:00 I'm wiped and looking for any excuse to stay home. I have to purpose in my heart to be there otherwise there are too many things that would keep me away. Currently there are two things that keep us from attending prayer meeting. Sickness and no nursery coverage. We are the only family that attends that needs the nursery so if for some reason there isn't anyone to cover it, I stay home. One way I have found helps ensure I attend this service is to avoid scheduling things on a Weds. if at all possible. This goes for Dr. appts., play dates, and any extra curricular activities. Sometimes having something on a Weds. can't be helped but it's not the norm. This helps me get a nap in that afternoon so I'm not so tired when 7:00 rolls around. I also try to plan a very easy, simple to put together meal (like leftovers) or a crock pot meal on Weds.
   *Just as a side note for prayer meeting. When Noah started kindergarten I was worried that him being up till 8:30-9 would be too hard on him so I did keep him home from prayer meeting for a few weeks till he adjusted to his school schedule. Then we attended regularly and he was fine. I have not found that I needed to do this with Owen or Gabe. The kids adjust perfectly well and maybe it means on Thurs. they take a short nap before dinner but that has happened maybe one or twice. I say that only because it's so easy to make excuses to not be there and using our kids as the excuse is the best and easiest one! I can't stress how strongly I feel it's important for our kids to know that prayer meeting is not something we do when it's convenient but it's something our family sees as a priority.

And lastly, BE INVOLVED in your church. Don't just be a bench warmer, but be an active participant. There are so many ways you can serve in the church and often times having a commitment helps to keep you coming. When you go to church make it a point to say hello to people and find out how they are doing. Form connections with people in your church. Ben and I both serve in different ways in our church and yet there are times when we have needed to say no to things. What you are involved in will depend a lot on what season of life you are in. Our church is in great need of church cleaners but that is an area that right now, with so many little ones, is not something we can be involved with. Just because the heart is willing doesn't necessarily mean you are meant to serve in that capacity. Be wise in how you choose your commitments so you don't burn out and not want to attend. 

There is nothing profound about how me make it to church. These are all things we all know but maybe just need to be reminded of. If Ben and I didn't have a strong belief that it is important for us to be involved in the local church then there's no way we'd be there. It's just too hard with so many kids and Satan makes it too easy to form excuses. If you take nothing else away from this just remember it is all about what you "purpose in your heart" to do. You have to be decided that this is what is important to you and your family. That's where you need to start. Once you are there, then hopefully some of the ways we make it manageable will help you make it manageable for your family too!


  1. I love this post...and all your postings, Melissa! You are such an encouragement to me--to see how your lovely family is growing, both physically and spiritually. What an inspiration to all mothers and women!

    Staying at your house during summer tour really changed my perspective on having a large family. Your boys were (and are) so well behaved, and you make it look so easy. Now, you've got Jena, Tess, and the new little one. :) And I know they're in good hands.

    I'm so proud that you guys are taking a stand and making Christ a priority for you and Ben personally and encouraging your children to follow your example. I hope that when my (future) husband and I start a family that we can follow your example, too. You guys are such an inspiration, and I just want to thank you for your faithfulness, even in the little things. They truly can make a difference. :)

    1. Thank you for saying this, it really means a lot. I am glad that our family was able to have a positive effect on you. :) We are praying for you as you begin the journey of starting your own family, that God would remain a priority in your lives.

  2. well really are adaptable as far as sleep needs but the patterns you instill now will
    be what they base their priorities on later in life!!! It is exciting to see God continuing to work in your family...God is faithful and will give you the daily strength you need.

  3. love this! my oldest loves to go to church. if it's not a church day, he'll say 'maybe tomorrow?'. :)