Your Best Church Life: Experiencing Authentic Worship No Matter Your Location - Bethel Church and Ministries

Your Best Church Life: Experiencing Authentic Worship No Matter Your Location

 

We are several months into our stay-at-home order and many families may still feel like they have not gotten into a new rhythm of worship on Sundays. Sunday mornings might still feel crazy, but instead of rushing to eat breakfast, get dressed, and arrive at church on time, we are trying to focus on a screen, eat breakfast, hear the sermon over the kids, and maybe even being interrupted to take the dog out. This has become the new normal of worship for many families. 

And now, as a church body we are getting ready to come back to the church building for worship. But it will still look different than our old normal. There will be smiles under a mask, sitting far from one another, and no hugs. There will be no babies in the nursery, no fun classes for the kids, no high fives. (Believe me, this is hard for me and so many others who serve our kids every week.) 

This may leave you wondering what to do. Which way is best? What is going to work? How should we do this? 

I’d like to offer a few suggestions as you consider both of these options, especially for families with kids. 

Church at Home

  • Consider getting the family together 10 minutes before the service starts to prepare your hearts, minds, and bodies. Talk together about why you are going to worship that day. Pray together that the Holy Spirit will work in your hearts as you watch the service. 
  • Have some paper and pens ready for each person in the family. Challenge everyone to write down things that stood out to them throughout the service. Ask each person to have at least five things written down by the end of the service. These can come from the worship songs, prayers, sermons, etc. Then talk about these when church is over. 
  • If your child is too young to write, tell them to draw three pictures of something they see on the screen. Talk about those with them afterwards. You may also consider having some activities ready for them that they can do while they try and sit with the family. Consider rotating these activities each week. 
  • Challenge your kids to keep a count of how many times they hear a certain word during the service. These could be words like Romans (or whatever book of the Bible you are in), God, do, etc. 
  • Tell your family you are going to redo the service afterward, so they need to pay attention so you can act it out together. 
  • What a wonderful time this is for our kids to watch the adults worship at home. Encourage everyone to take part in all aspects of the service. Whether it’s by singing, dancing, repeating words that are said, finding the verses in the Bible that are being used, and more. 

Church at the Building

  • Gather your family together and talk about what it will be like when you come to church during this time. Allow kids to ask questions and help them understand why these things are necessary. Go over the guidelines that the church has set together. 
  • Practice wearing your mask at home for a length of time. Maybe play a game together as a family wearing your masks so you can know what it will feel like to talk, listen, and move around with a mask on.
  • Help your family think of hand gestures you can do to encourage others you might see when you get to church. Think of things like a thumbs up, hug motion, heart shape with your hands, or a wave. Maybe come up with a secret family sign you can do at church to encourage each other throughout the service. 
  • Consider packing a fun bag for your kids to use during the service. You can include their Bible, a quiet or fidget toy, some paper and crayons or colored pencils, and even a treat (suckers last a long time). You might want to save these things until the sermon starts when attention is hard. 
  • Pray together before you come that the Holy Spirit will work in your life through the service. Ask him to help you not to be distracted by the outward things that have changed.

Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (ESV). The people in our family are part of this calling to gather together as well as the body of believers we call family. Both are good. Both are part of God’s goodness in your life. Both of these places of church are going to require a lot of grace, patience, and love. They will both be full of surprises and occasional challenges. Both will have distractions that may require responses. Let’s be sure to respond with the heart of Jesus. 

During this stay-at-home order, so many lasting memories are being made that will be talked about for generations. In your circle of family and friends, let the future generations remember that you stayed committed to worshiping God whether it was at home or in the church. May they remember that you put others’ needs before your own and you loved like Jesus. Let the generations to come remember that your faith and trust in our great God did not waiver. 

One day we will all get back together as the church of Jesus Christ. May we be a stronger church than ever before on that day because of COVID-19. I hope we worship so hard and loud the walls of the church building shake!

P.S. I wish you could see the tears in my eyes as I write today. I love the fellow body of believers that make up my church and I miss them very much!