Most families I know view Sunday mornings as somewhat of an Olympic event. As we slumber each Saturday night, someone undoubtedly sneaks into our homes to hide Sunday dresses, wrinkle our “wrinkle free” slacks, and switch our cell phone alarms to “silent” mode. Maybe this is Santa’s off-season gig.
Believe it or not, I can maintain employment. Granted I’m not early to the office most days but I’m rarely late. If my record of church tardiness spilled over into my work week, I’d be homeless right now.
Why is that?
A Tired Old Excuse
I too have propagated the tired old excuse that satan is simply more active on Sunday mornings. Maybe this is true. Or maybe it’s simply a function of a lack of positive habits that’ll get my brood in the pew before the worship team straps on their guitars.
Here’s Four Things That I’ve Found Helps Our Success Rate:
1. Find the Right Church.
No-brainer right? Not for us. When we first moved to Northwest Arkansas, we spent a few years at a church that wasn’t the right fit for our family. They were doctrinally sound, gospel focused, and all that other good stuff…just obviously not where God wanted us.
We finally recognized this and found our church home. When you know where you belong, your attendance will reflect it.
2. Find the Right Service Time.
This one isn’t an option for everyone.
Our church offers multiple service times each Sunday that share the exact same worship and sermon. Prone to miss the alarm when you shoot for early service? Call it how it is. Shoot for a later service that your more likely to wake up for.
This changes seasonally for us. We usually make early service in the fall and winter and are more successful with a later service in the spring and summer.
3. Plan the Prep
Attire choices are less of an issue for men. Women may elect to miss service entirely if the right outfit can be assembled. Know this and plan for it.
Spend that time on Saturday and have your “Sunday best” clean, ironed and ready before bed.
Men aren’t excused from this ritual just because they see no issue wearing cargo shorts and a tee shirt to service (Jesus loves us just the way we are, right?). As I write this, I’m washing a load of laundry…before church…because all of my slacks are dirty. This could have been avoided had I written this post last night and taken my own advice.
4. Back Up the Back Up.
I use an alarm app on my cell phone as my alarm clock. I know what you’re thinking. “This guy is on the cutting edge of technology!” That decade old tool isn’t exactly my tip here…but, you’re welcome anyway.
I like redundancy. My first backup plan is a second alarm I set 15 minutes after the first. My first alarm is intended to gently rouse. My second alarm is designed to rudely invade. The alert notification on that second alarm sounds like a bomb raid siren.
I consider it my backup plan.
But what if I accidentally leave my phone on silent? My wife has an alarm set on her phone too.
If we oversleep, we made a conscious decision to do so.
This list certainly isn’t the only tools to help us get up-and-out on the Sabbath, but it should provide a good foundation to those who struggle like we do.
If you’ve found success in using one of the above techniques to improve your odds on Sunday mornings, or if you have a tip of your own, let us know in the comments.