joyful worhip

Worship with Kids Steps Toward a Joyful Sunday

Let’s Get Ready for Easter

With Easter coming up, I thought I might share a few tips on how I made it through Sundays with children. Regardless of how often you make it to church, Sunday worship with kids can be a challenge. Sometimes it can make you wonder why you bother going to church at all. Check out why regular worship is important here.

The day is completely different from any other day of the week and likely the night before was different as well. I remember Sundays when we arrived at church a bit frazzled just from getting ready for church.

Keep Reading even if you have no children, some of these steps all of us can take to improve our worship time.

Start Preparing Early in the Week

  • Check with the church office to see if anything is going to be different this week.
  • Will there be Children’s Church or Nursery Attendants available for your child?
  • Do the children remain in the service for a portion of the service?
  • What are the service times? Some churches change the time on special days.

Saturday Preparations for Worship with Kids

  • Plan a simple breakfast that is easy to serve and clean up. For us, muffins and milk or orange juice usually did the trick.
  • If you have babies or toddlers, clean out and re-stock the diaper bag.
  • Decide what everyone is wearing. Our daughter, by 4 years of age, was pretty obstinate about what she would wear. But we found that if we planned this with her the night before, there wasn’t a fight on Sunday morning.
  • Is everything clean and pressed; down to the shoes. Avoid having to find socks and shoes (or shoelaces) and hairbows at the last minute. When everything is laid out and ready to put on, it takes much less time and aggravation to get everyone dressed and in the car.
  • Lay out everything you need to take with you (Bibles, lesson books, etc) Have them ready to grab as you walk out the door.
  • Get your bath and hair washed. For as many as possible, do this Saturday evening. Especially with large families and/or few bathrooms.
  • Keep Saturday evening sacred. In the Jewish faith, the Sabbath begins at sundown, the day before. I see a lot of good in this because it keeps us from staying out late and being too tired for worship in the morning. So we tried to stick to the rule that everyone gets home by dark. It’s not always possible, but this definitely helps the whole mindset of preparing for worship the next morning.

Sunday Morning Schedule

  • Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This keeps you on time even if something goes awry. Children do much better if they are not being rushed. This also give you a few minutes to visit with friends or just get your mind focused on worship.
  • Arise early and enjoy a cup of coffee before you start getting the kids going. Typically, worship starts later than the start of school or work days. Why not rise at the same time to make the morning more enjoyable?
  • Turn on some upbeat worship music. In one home we lived in, we had an intercom. I piped the music through the house. This was everyone’s wake up call or at least notification that I would be coming around to get them out of bed.
  • Breakfast for the children. If you cook something, such as bacon, this could be another way to get them rolling out of bed. I know it works for teenagers. 🙂
  • Get dressed. I never figured out which was better.. dress the kids first or myself. I’ve had that fail either way. LOL! Maybe get dressed and put on an apron! 🙂
  • Assign others to help with the littles. You’ve laid out the clothes so this shouldn’t be difficult.
  • Give a 10-minute “Time to get in the car” call. Start looking over everyone to be sure they are fully dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, etc.
  • Again, leave 15-20 minutes earlier than needed.
Worship with kids
image credt free on Pixabay.com Modified by Mandy

Church Arrival & Worship with Children

  • Use the restroom. Non-negotiable rule. This keeps them from having to get up during the service to use the restroom. This is a no-no in our family. If you must take them out because they are disruptive, do so and get them calmed down. Then return to the service. If you don’t they will learn that you will take them out if they get disruptive. Children CAN learn to be quiet and respectful in church.
  • If you are a regular, watch for newcomers and greet them.
  • Find a seat. I suggest in the front half of the sanctuary. There are fewer distractions. Sit as a family. Another non-negotiable.
  • Prepare your heart for worship. Pray silently. Read some scriptures. The bulletin may have the pastors’ text. Go ahead and read it over to begin thinking about it. If the bulletin has the scheduled songs, meditate on the words of these songs.
  • Instruct your children during worship. They should learn to sing/sit/stand/pray along with the congregation. No toys or coloring during this part of the service.
  • Smaller children can have non-distractive toys or a book/coloring book. Save that container of Cheerios for the last few moments of the service when they are getting restless and the pastor is making his final point or call for decision.
  • Encourage your school-age children to take notes. You could even set up rewards for doing so. As a children’s minister, I created a small booklet for the children to take notes on days we stayed in the service. Such as this one. I gave them a small prize after church if they showed me their work.

After Worship Activities

  • Don’t rush out. Greet those around you, especially newcomers. Go straight to the ones you don’t know. They will leave quickly, especially if no one speaks to them. Your friends will be around and you know how to contact them anyway. If you need to speak with them, give them a quick, “Don’t leave before I talk with you.” greeting and then head to the visitors. If you are a visitor. Wait around a bit. Give people a chance to find you. Or just go ahead and speak to someone near you.
  • Clean up around you. Pick up bulletins, papers and anything you brought with you. Most churches have volunteers that do the cleaning. No one gets paid to do this, so help out and clean up your own mess.

Hope Your Sunday Worship is Joyful

Mandy Farmer
The Rest of God

Book Review: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

the rest of god

A book everyone should read … probably more than once to be reminded of the importance of rest.

Buchanan took a sabbatical to research the subject of the rest of God. And found so much that pricked his own heart about taking too little rest. He noticed that “the harder he worked, the less he accomplished.” and he realized that “the Sabbath was a form of mending”.  There is some renewal that only comes from resting in the Lord and being still.

Continue reading

church attendance

How to Improve Your Church Attendance Experience

“…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”


Hebrews 10:25

Our world is seemingly becoming less concerned with God and more concerned with self. Society preaches being happy at all costs; putting our happiness above all else. When a weekly commitment that Christians are encouraged in the Bible to keep becomes a challenge to us because we do not feel like it, then it may be the time to remind ourselves that church is not really about us…it’s about God. Allow me to expand.


Of course, we receive amazing benefits from going to meeting Together (attending church),

But sometimes we need that powerful reminder that what tops the “Why Should We Go to Church?” list is the fact that the church/meeting together offers us an opportunity to give to God.

I can’t help but think that God is pleased when we give Him our best worship as we stand alongside our church family. #churchattendance Click To Tweet
attendance
free image pixabay.com modified by Mandy

Encountering the Irritating

Yet, in that church family, we will likely encounter people who irritate us from time to time. There comes a time to decide that pleasing God is more important than trying to avoid being offended by someone’s conduct, lifestyle, or personality. (Remember, there are others who put up with us on those occasions when we might be the ones irritating them!)

My Sunday School teacher, whom I happen to be married to, has said, “If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it.” In other words, instead of lamenting the lack of energy, excitement, or enthusiasm, perhaps we are being called to prayerfully initiate it. Instead of considering leaving a church because it doesn’t fulfill our needs, perhaps God is prodding us to stay and be a prayerful part of the solution. Instead of wishing people would change, perhaps God is teaching us to prayerfully change our attitude toward them.

If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it. #churchattendance Click To Tweet

Think of the possibilities

If our church is a Gospel-preaching, community-reaching, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-receiving church, but there are some other aspects that we see as negative, just think what our positive, prayerful approach could possibly accomplish!

Lord, help me become excited about the wonderful opportunity of regularly attending church and being part of a church family. Help me to see and be thankful for the blessings I receive when I go to church, but to be even more concerned about the blessing I can be to others in my church family, as I put the focus on You and Your love. In Your name, I pray, Amen.

See you in Church!

Gwen

burdens lifted

Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary

Too often we carry our burdens around by ourselves. I heard a preacher say that we live in a DIY society and it’s true with our Christian lives as well. We try to Do it Ourself. But God says we should bear one another’s burdens.

Do you know that 2 horses can pull three times the weight of one horse? So with us, if we share our burdens with one another the weight is much much lighter.

Not only that, If we share our burdens with Jesus, the weight is even lighter for he says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Hymn of the Week: “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”

Continue reading

Search for a perfect pastor

In Search of the “Perfect” Pastor

Pastors are People, Too

Our church has just begun the adventure of searching for a new pastor. It’s a daunting job when you look for the perfect pastor. Basically, because there are no perfect pastors because pastors are people, too.

Continue reading

pray for believers

Pray for the Believers

Introducing Glenae Atchison

May I introduce my college friend, Glenae Atchison as a contributor to this website. You may recognize her name if you have been to my Facebook page, Leaving a Legacy. She posts there on a regular basis.

Glenae AtchisonGlenae is a native of Indiana and a long time resident of Mississippi. She graduated from Asbury College in 1983 with a BS in Music Education. She and her husband, Skip have been married for over thirty years. They have two married children and three grandchildren. Glenae is active in choir, two group Bible studies, United Methodist Women, and is a certified lay servant in the United Methodist Church. Her favorite activities include singing and playing the piano, sewing, quilting, making Swedish weave blankets, and, of course, spending time with her grandchildren.

As you will see she is ‘made from the same cloth” as I. And now her first post on the subject of prayer. Continue reading

Pastor appreciation

UNAPPRECIATED ~ Three Actions to Change Your Own Heart

A Bottle of Bath Wash.

Who doesn’t enjoy the wonderful smell and the softness obtained from using it?

But it seemed precious little payment for the hours on end that I spent learning and perfecting the wedding music chosen for this wedding and the entire weekend my husband and I gave for rehearsal, decorating, flower deliveries and, of course, the wedding itself.

Have you ever felt unappreciated?

It’s easy to fall into the trap. We work hard to do our best and no one notices, maybe they even criticize our hard work. I’ve experienced that before!

But, remember my pastor’s wife, Charlotte, who taught my so much in the beginning? She brought home the truth one day while we were talking. She did it gently by suggesting that I make the time and hard work my gift to the bride and groom.

The truth of the matter is that it was my attitude that needed adjusting.

The big question is, “Who am I serving?”

God’s Word says,

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

You see, I had my priorities upside down.

I wasn’t doing all that preparation out of love for the couple (or God). I was doing it for my glory. To receive praise or a few dollars. And when it didn’t pay off, I was upset. No wonder I felt unappreciated.

It was time for an attitude adjustment. I needed a heart transplant. My heart of self-service needed changing out for a heart of service.

As we come to the end of October (Pastor’s Appreciation Month), perhaps some of us are needing a heart transplant. Maybe we feel unappreciated this year. It is possible we feel what was given was too little and too late causing us to wonder if it was all quickly put together at the last minute.

pastor appreciation

photo credit: Canva modified by Mandy

Here are a few ways that I have found to make an attitude adjustment.

Look Up

Look up to God Realize how much He loves me and does for me. Thank Him for all the blessings He has given me even when I don’t deserve it.

Look Around

Look around at all those who are serving with me. This would include associates, widowed pastors/spouses, retired ministers, and their spouse. Send a handwritten card or note expressing your appreciation for them and what they do. Remember that joy comes in giving more than in receiving.

Look Back

Remember those who have paved the way for me. Write a note to the pastors and wives in my life that have encouraged me along the way.

Also, don’t forget the leaders above me. In our church, there is a District Superintendent that guides all the churches in our state. I’m sure he would accept a little appreciation, as well.

 

Next year, try entering the month of appreciation doing these things. I think you will find a greater feeling of joy over your situation.

 

Feeling Grateful!

Mandy Farmer

 

Love your pastor all year long

How to Love Your Pastor All Year Long

Does your Church Have a Special Day for Pastor in October?

I’m hoping that your church does remember the pastor(s) during Pastor Appreciation Month. If not, I hope that you remembered to reach out to him personally. If you haven’t, it’s actually not too late. The truth is, we really should love our pastor all year long. Pastors are usually far from home and family. They need you to be their family and friend.

The truth is, we really should be loving our pastor all year long.

Pastors are usually far from home and family. They need you to be their family and friend.

Four decades of pastoral ministry is a pretty good perspective from which to share some thoughts with you on how to love your pastor all year long. You might think, “Hey, we had pastor appreciation day. Isn’t that enough?”

Isn’t Pastor Appreciation Day Enough?

Now, anytime is a good time to express appreciation for our pastors. You and I know; however, that unless we put some things on the calendar, they just never seem to happen.

So, someone did just that by designating the month of October as the time for local churches to show their pastors that they are appreciated.

Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures today.

Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move.

They are expected to

  • have ideal families,
  • be perfect people,
  • always be available,
  • never be down and
  • of course, have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward.

Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet

most of us are disappointed when a pastor

  •  becomes overwhelmed,
  • seems depressed,
  • lets us down
  • even preaches a bad sermon or
  • subsequently, completely burns out.

 

That’s why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.

 

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17 NJKV).

 

It’s always a good thing when church boards plan a special day for pastors in October for the entire church.

Believe me, this means so much to pastors!

Here are a few meaningful ways you can Love Your Pastor All Year Long:

  1. Love his family. Remember their anniversaries and birthdays. Not only his birthday but his wife and children as well. This should include the anniversary of his arrival and other events such as his ordination.
  2. Make his family part of your family. Whenever you have something happening in your family, include the pastor’s family. Invite them to special family events. Invite them to your family reunions, graduations, etc. This is how you will build a friendship and cause them to feel loved and important.
  3. Get to know him and his family personally. Establish a real friendship. Invite them to join you for lunch or other activities. Your pastor is a person, too. He would love to just get out and play golf, or go to a ball game. Many pastoral wives and children are very lonely. They feel like they have no friends. When they are out among others, they feel separated because “They are the pastor’s wife/kid”. Try just being a friend. You might find you like them! 🙂
  4. Give words of encouragement. Send a card or make a call occasionally when you are inspired by his sermon or are impressed by something he does. It would surprise them if you just called to see how they are or just to chat.
  5. And discourage any negative talk about him. When you hear others cutting him down, stand up for him or at least stop the negative talk.
  6. Finally, and most importantly, pray for him and tell him you are praying for him. Your pastor has troubles and needs prayer just like you. Pray for him often. Pray that God will bless his studies, his preaching, but also pray for him emotionally, financially, physically, personally. He has the same issues in life that you have.

Your pastor needs to be loved throughout the year. Be sure to think of him all year long, not just in October. Put a monthly reminder on your calendar if needed.

Thanks!

Michael & Mandy Farmer

 

 

P.S. I’ve created some images to remind you all month to love on your pastor. Follow me on my Facebook Page to see them each day, then share the posts each day to get the word out.

 

How to Be the Perfect Pastor’s Wife

perfect pastor's wifeBecoming a pastor’s wife is a very daunting event for some of us.

I became a pastor’s wife at the age of 28. Unlike most pastors’ wives, I did not meet my husband at college while he prepared for ministry. We didn’t date and plan our lives together to become pastor and wife. I met my husband AFTER he had already been in the pastorate for 14 years.

We were introduced by my own pastor’s wife.

Continue reading