By Emily Pilkington
I’ll be honest, part of what makes Sunday mornings at The Crossing such a gift for my husband and me is the ability to drop our children off in Crossing Kids. We’re in an intense season of parenting with a four-year-old and triplet two-year-olds, including one who has special needs. The cup of coffee I consume in the auditorium is sometimes the only one I get to drink while it’s still warm all week. Knowing that they are being spiritually cared for while I am fed without interruption is something I cherish, and something I’m sure I’ll appreciate in a new way when we’re able to gather again.
This week, I will consume lukewarm coffee huddled around a laptop in a setting far more chaotic. I will miss the respite that a typical Sunday morning provides, and I think it’s okay to acknowledge and even grieve that. But, I’m also trying to intentionally look for gifts that this tumultuous season has hidden inside of it. It’s an opportunity for my children to see their parents worship and to learn the importance of gathering even if circumstances aren’t ideal. I’m also trying to be both realistic and proactive about what Sunday mornings can look like for our family in this season.
Here are a few ideas that are helping us:
1. Listen to the worship team’s playlist as often as you can before Sunday and be active during the music.
Like us, children are far more likely to participate when the words being sung are familiar. This is especially true if your children aren’t yet able to read like mine.
Sing out loud. Dance with your kids. If you have musical instruments for pretend play, get them out and invite them to help lead worship. This is a great opportunity for getting all the wiggles out before the sermon.
2. Have a breakfast picnic during the sermon.
When the music stops, lay a blanket on the floor and pass out pre-made plates of food. I try to serve easy to eat foods that my kids love but aren’t especially messy. This alone helps to buy us at least 10 minutes of quiet listening.
3. Have quiet, developmentally appropriate options available during the sermon.
Each of my children have their own bag or box of things they can do while the pastor is preaching. Inside are a children’s Bible, books that they only have access to on Sunday morning, supplies for coloring, puzzles, and something to build quietly while we listen, like Legos. If you have older children, consider giving them a journal or one of these helpful sermon guides to take notes.
4. Utilize Crossing Kids resources.
Each week, Crossing Kids provides a digital lesson that you can access here. If you need to and have a second device, you could have your kids watch the teaching video during part of the sermon and discuss the follow up questions after the service is over.
5. Have developmentally appropriate expectations and work together to figure out a routine that works well for you.
Each family is unique. Figure out what routine works well for you. Talk with your children about why gathering to worship is important, what the morning will look like, and what their participation looks like during each part. Pray together for hearts that listen to God’s Word.
Be okay with this season looking different than others. Take comfort and encouragement from the saints that have gone before us who sat together with squirmy children in their pews week after week. My parents and grandparents both did this, and while I’m sure it was distracting and sometimes frustrating, my faith today is marked by their patient faithfulness. Who knows what God might be growing in the lives of our children this season?
Looking for more ways to make the most out of Sunday mornings? Check out this resource for more tips on worshiping online with family and friends.