This past Sunday I shared some encouragement in my Instagram stories about why going to church is so important. I know that we, as blue families, can find it tricky to get out the door without our officer or find a church that feels comfortable. I hear you! It can be so hard. I polled our IG community to see what tips and tricks everyone had up their sleeves, and complied them along with my own thoughts below.
If you’re saying “there’s no way we can make it to church in this season of life”, I get it. I hear you. It’s easier to stay home. It’s easier to wait until your officer has the day off. It’s hard to get everyone corralled and out the door by yourself. It’s scary to do things alone sometimes. It’s nerve wracking not to have your officer’s extra set of hands. It’s not always the most cup filling to when you’re wrangling littles or waiting on a call from your officer or sitting alone in the back. Go anyway.
The overwhelming response from our a+g community-and my mantra as well-is to just GO! Make it a nonnegotiable and something that’s part of your routine, regardless of whether or not your officer can go with you. Push aside the unease and excuses, the awkwardness and loneliness, and just GO. Let yourself be surrounded by the Lord and His community. Fill your heart and your mind with scripture and song. GO and start your week off in the best way possible-full of Him.
Here’s some of the tips and tricks for getting to church as a blue family:
Get support. Go where your friends or family go, join a small group, greet others that you see every week and make friends there. Hire a helper if you can, or enlist an older kid to be an extra set of hands if you need it. It can be humbling and uncomfortable to reach out for help-but most people are more than happy to if you ask!
Prepare. Pack snacks and toys for littles, get your Bible/notebook ready, and set out clothes the night before. Make sure your car has gas, set out a thermos for your coffee, make sure you have easy breakfast items on hand-do whatever you can to get out the door. Make church a priority and a nonnegotiable, and treat it as such. Take away the “maybe next week” mentality and GO.
Find a church that meets your needs. Do you have littles? Find one with a nursery/Sunday school. Does your cup really get filled while you sing and listen to music? Find one with a great worship team. Do you need something close to home? Find one that’s a short drive away. Does Saturday evening work better for your schedule? Find one that meets then. Depending on your options, you may have to be flexible on some of your wants and needs. Don’t be afraid to try out different churches to find one that fits your family best in the season you’re in. Maybe you need childcare now, but won’t in a couple of more years. That’s okay! You can always find a new church home then if you feel called to. Work on finding somewhere that works right now. Forget the idea of finding the perfect church-because there’s no such thing. A perfect God? Yes. A perfect church, ran by perfect people? Not so much.
Find ways to feel safe. Find a church that has a heavy law enforcement presence, one that has a security team, or one with a kids church that feels very squared away. As with any public space, be aware of your exits and bring protection with you if needed/is safe. If you’re cautious about photographs/social media, make sure to communicate that to your kids’ Sunday school teacher or the publicity team. Make friends and acquaintances there that you feel comfortable with. Most things get easier and more comfortable the more we do them. Church is no exception.
Make it a fun experience. Get a special coffee for yourself or donuts for the kids. Stop at the park on the way home. Sit by friends. Review your notes as dinner time and turn it into a game. Listen to upbeat music in the car. Do whatever you can to make it something that you and your family look forward to, not dread.
Just go! You’ll always find a million reasons not to go if you look for them. It’s hard to get out the door. It can seem daunting or overwhelming. It can seem lonely or awkward to go alone. Go anyway.