Parents, Preparing Your Family For Sunday Mornings
What does Sunday Morning look like for you dad & mum?
I remember Sunday’s when we had slept in and then tried to rush out the door so as not to be late to church. I remember getting to the car & we forgot the pram, the dummy even our Bibles. Kids were crying, my wife was on the brink of tears, but we eventually made it to church. Barely!
This was not what I wanted for my family. I didn’t just want to ‘make’ it to church, I wanted us to be ready to engage with others, encourage others and do this joyfully. But how could this be done? Was this a reasonable goal or aim?
I then began humbling myself and asking some older wiser men, what did you do? And some of the best advice I got was: ‘Prepare your family for Sunday Morning’. I didn’t understand what they meant so I asked what that looked like and learnt that preparation for Sunday did not begin on Sunday Morning, it began on say Thursday evening, at dinner.
Thursday nights? Really?
Yea, Thursday Nights! Here’s why. When do you begin to plan for the weekend?
Weekends are that time when we hope to visit others, go to parties, have date nights, laze around as a family, but also spend quality time with our Church Family. And in order for this to be quality, we had to plan. So planning began on Thursday nights.
When we had babies, we had to be wise with our commitments over the weekend. Why? So we weren’t so tired we couldn’t hear God’s Word & position ourselves to serve and be served. We had to make hard decisions and not over-commit. Then when we had toddlers, we had to talk to them (alot) about the importance & priority of a Sunday Morning & train them how to get ready. We would ask them what they were looking forward to. We would also remind them that their actions could either reflect wisdom or foolishness (Matt. 7:24-27), so what do they want to try to do? This was not done perfectly every Sunday, as on some Sunday’s on the way into class I’d say, ‘don’t be a fool, OK!?’
Primary aged kids are different again, so we’d set the vision for the weekend, explaining what was needed, expected (Ex. 20:8), and hoped for. Planning for this age looked like, putting their clothes out before they went to bed on Saturday. We’d try to watch a movie that’d end at a reasonable time, and monitor sleep overs, so as to help position the kids themselves to actively participate on the Sunday Morning. We also invited them to serve with us.
In the teen years, we have had tears, attitudes, questions & ease. It’s quite a mix, but because we have been planning for a few days, there is no surprises really. It’s just being patient, prayerful and parental. What I mean is: patiently overlooking what you can, prayerfully asking God to help you lead your family & parenting in whatever place your teen is in & fulfilling your divinely entrusted responsibility for the Glory of God.
Parents, in Ephesians 6:4&5, children are instructed by God to obey their parents in the Lord for this is right. They are called to honour their father and mother. This is our role to help them grow in this and know this. And one of the opportunities that they have to grow in this & know this is in preparing for a Sunday Morning and on a Sunday Morning. But not just on Sunday’s, every day of the week. And would you as parents know His grace as you train your children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6) .
Paul Tripp, in his ‘Getting To The Heart Of Parenting’ workshop, brilliantly defines these two key words so well.
OBEY: A willing submission to my parents that causes me to do what I am told---
Without challenge / Without Excuse / Without Delay
HONOR: Treating my parents with respect and esteem because of their God-appointed position of authority.
Not Addressed as a Peer
Not Given Commands
You see parent’s preparing your family for Sunday Mornings needs planning, patience & parenting. Perhaps this is a new idea to you, or perhaps this is something that needs to be reviewed and considered. Whatever the case, I want to encourage you mums and dads to not weary in this calling of preparing your family for Sunday Mornings.