Being on time and faithful to church on Sundays begins the night before. Being present and present early must be a priority for every Christian on Sunday mornings. Praise God for those who arrive late as we would rather have them late than absent. However, those who arrive late are missing some very important fellowship time: five to ten minutes early is some quality time to connect with other brothers and sisters in Christ and to greet those who are new to Fayetteville and Berean. Arriving to church early sets the conditions, ever so well, to hear from God—it allows everyone to enter church without the hurriedness that distracts us from worship and hearing from God. We are uncomfortable and embarrassed stepping into class late.
So let me give you some very practical ways you can be on time and make the most of your attendance at Berean. First, lay the clothes that you intend on wearing out the night before. Don’t go to bed until everything that everyone is going to wear is laid out. This may sound old-fashioned, but it works so well it is still something that should be done in the 21st century. Think from head down to shoes. Pick out everything that the children and yourself are going to wear, get into the weeds, lay out socks, pans, dresses, belts, purses, stockings, undergarments, ties, jewelry, handkerchiefs—everything. Make sure you don’t have to iron in the morning. Check fingernails and anything else that previously has distracted you from departing on time. Second, put the Bibles, journals, and pens in the car or next to the door you will use when you leave. Pack the diaper bag the night before. Third, don’t go to bed until the kitchen is clean. A dirty kitchen in the morning could easily delay your departure. Plan ahead and know what you are going to feed the children for breakfast. Fourth, check out the inside of the car—if it is too cluttered or messy it could become a point of contention or embarrassment on the way to church—eliminate that by taking a minute to quickly straighten the car out on Saturday. Fifth, set an alarm clock and don’t hit the snooze button. Place the alarm clock across the room if you need to. Resolve the night before that when the alarm goes off you will get out of bed. Everyone is tired in the mornings, but Sunday mornings are not to set aside for sleep. It is the Lord’s Day; you can take a nap in the afternoon between lunch and evening choir practice. Resolve the night before that you will not sleep in.
Then close Saturday night out with a prayer that God will awaken you even before the alarm goes off for some quiet time. Ask Him to help everything to go smoothly in the morning as everyone prepares for church; tell Him you desire to be faithful and need His help. Then in the morning work as though everything depends on your effort and praise Him on the way to church for helping everyone get out of the house on time.
Finally, something is wrong if are deciding on Sunday mornings if you are going to go to church—it should be just the opposite. Of course, we are going to church; we made that decision a long time ago. If you think these old-fashioned suggestions are a bit too much, let me challenge you to try them one Saturday and see if God doesn’t honor your preparation.