This worship tip may not seem totally obvious, so hang with me.
Do you know what all goes on at (or connected to) your church outside of worship on Sunday morning? Now, all churches are different, so your church may or may not offer these things. But here’s a short list of things your church might offer…
Sunday school and Bible study
Kids’ Club or some other midweek group
Weekday Bible studies
Choir/Music Team practices
Fundraisers (that often involve food!)
Pick something your church does not on a Sunday morning and go, with your kids if at all possible. How will this help with worship? For starters, it will help show your kids that church is more than just Sunday worship. Our lives as Christians don’t start and stop at the doors of the church on Sunday. There are so many opportunities for growth and learning if we open ourselves up to getting involved instead of just riding a pew once a week.
Congregations are communities. Getting to know other people in your church, no matter their stage of life, blesses your family with a system of people who will love on you, pray for you and support you. These people are the ones next to you in the pew on Sunday. As you get to know people on a deeper, more personal level, you might find worship gets more comfortable, less awkward, less intimidating.
The activities listed above likely meet in rooms other than the sanctuary. Going to these things gives your kids a chance to explore the building. They’ll learn appropriate places to play and get to see and do things they probably can’t during worship. Then, when you do go for worship, they recognize more rooms as comfortable places. Church becomes a little more relatable and friendly.
These things might get your kids interested in the life of the church as they grow. Seeing the music team or choir practice could influence your kids’ desire to do music themselves. Your family participating in a fundraiser or service project gives your littles a chance to see how they can serve their church, no matter their age. Watching you put a priority on Sunday school and other education groups in your church can instill that love of learning about Jesus in your child’s heart as well. All those things help cultivate a sense of pride and ownership in their church, making them actually want to be there more often.
I can imagine what you’re thinking, “You really think we have time to do extra stuff? How do you expect me to do this stuff with a kid?” I realize what I’m suggesting because I’ve done it. It takes extra time, patience, planning and commitment. It means your routine might be off for a night or you eat on the run. It can be really hard. I know. I’ve been that mom wrangling a toddler during Bible study or pacing the floor trying to calm a crying baby. But the rewards you get are so worth the extra effort you put in to connect your littles to your church family.
The early church in Acts had a similar sentiment,
“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47
No doubt, worship was important to these early Christians. But they also placed importance on meeting together outside of worship. The true Christian community is a wonderful and beautiful thing. Full of sinners, for sure, but sinners who stand forgiven. People who have the power of the Holy Spirit working daily in their lives to be more like Jesus every day. People just like you and me. People who want to love on your family.
So pick an activity, and get comfy in church outside of church!