<Note: Comments made about this post (as well as its popularity) have motivated my wife to write some more specifics on how our family does this>
Peace at church is important. And we have found that one way to experience it is to not be late.*
Our goal is to be sitting down before the singing starts, having eaten a hot meal together and having left a straightened house. Ideally the dishes are washed or are being washed in the dishwasher.
If you want to know how we do it, the trick is to (A) get as much done as possible the night before and (B) get up on time.
(A) Here are the things we do the night before (and by the way, much of this helps with enjoying the Sabbath by doing the work early):
– Get clothes ready for the kids, making sure that we have clean socks and non-lost shoes and outfits for everyone.
– Get clothes ready for the adults.
– Plan the breakfast and prepare it as much as possible, cracking eggs if we’re making scramble eggs, mixing up the recipe if we’re having oatmeal bake.
– Pre-set the table.
– Make sure the house is straightened (Okay this doesn’t have anything to do with getting to church on time, but it’s more peace-inducing if you know you’re not coming back to a disaster.
– Make sure the kids have all taken their baths.
– Get the girls long hair combed.
– Get all of the kids’ bible bags ready, as well as whatever we’re bringing to church.
(B) Getting up on time is the tricky part. For us it comes down to the fact that we would probably always be late if it weren’t for Debbie telling me I had to get up. But we’ve learned what time we need to get up to get to church by 9. (6:30-7:00).
So having said that, I was humbled by this video put out a couple months ago by Desiring God:
It doesn’t matter if you are punctual if you have had to be angry at your kids (and each other) to do it. I just read this to my wife and she thinks I should confess that we are sometimes guilty of anger (when we get up closer to 7:00 than to 6:30). But this Sunday we did pretty good.
* If you don’t need to be on time to have peace in church, you may disregard this post.