You can spot them a mile away. Her makeup was clearly done in the car, and she’s wearing the same dress that she’s worn three Sundays in a row. He’s got a giant coffee stain on his shirt and a look that screams, I just want to go home and get back in the bed. You know who I’m talking about . . . the young adult who barely made it to church and hasn’t even had that second cup of coffee! Getting to church on time is hard.
Coming together on the first day of the week is a vital aspect of the Christian faith. Despite the unbridled individualism that the evangelical church often promotes, a Spirit-led community that gathers around the Word and the elements of worship is the central hub of your faith. Here is some practical guidance to help you get to church on time and have a Christ-honoring Lord’s Day.
Because there may be young adults reading this that have already entered parenthood, let me preface these tips by saying that we are still raising our three children, whose ages range from eight to twelve. While the verdict is not in for the teen years, Kimberly and I feel like the baby years were the hardest for us. If you’re a young parent, hang in there. This is just a chapter. But as a young parent, you need your church more than ever! For you teens and single young adults—if we can get to church on time, so can you!
“Is Today Church Day?” vs. “Are We Going to Church?”
These are two very different questions. One of them means you’re bad at knowing the days of the week, while the other question reveals that church is not a priority in your life. My youngest is eight, and he still only knows three days of the week: school day, free day, and church day. He often asks, “Is today church day?” But when he finds out that it is, in fact, Sunday, he doesn’t ask, “Are we going to church?” He already knows the answer. So, is gathering with the body of Christ something you might do if convenient, or is it a deeply held conviction for you?
I love an “elevator speech” (a 30-second talk you can give someone on an elevator). Here’s one for you if you’re ever asked, “Why do you go to church?”
I go to church every Sunday. I try to leave at 8:30 a.m. so I can have my coffee and be there about thirty minutes early so I can help serve. I do this because Jesus resurrected on Sunday (Matthew 28:1-2), and God has commanded believers to gather each Lord’s Day with other Christians (Hebrews 10:25-26). I go each week to worship God through things like preaching, singing, and reading Scripture. Worshiping God and learning the teachings of Christ helps me grow into a mature Christian (Ephesians 4:11-16) so that I can be prepared to tell others about Jesus (1 Peter 3:15).
Resolving to obey Christ’s command to assemble weekly is a vital step for your growth as a Christian.
Preparation Starts on Saturday
There are a lot of small things you can do on Saturday. The BIG THREE for young adults and teens are transportation, clothing, and caffeine. So, go ahead and lay out your clothes, find your shoes, set the coffee pot to automatically switch on, and gas up the car. All this can be done the day before. Certain things will work best for you; figure those things out and make them your Saturday evening rituals. Consider these as acts of worship. Pray or listen to your Bible app while you make these plans. During this time of preparation, pray for your pastor and ask that God will give him strength for the biggest day of his week.
Preparation on Saturday doesn’t just apply to these little things. If you’re out until 2 a.m. on a camping trip with friends every week during the summer, it’s going to make attending church in a decent state of mind very difficult. It might mean that the best thing for you is to cut that camping trip short so you can get home and be well-rested for the Lord’s Day. You’ll definitely need to weigh your options and set some priorities for your life. Remember, the choice you are making today will directly impact your current walk with God and your future.
Find an Outlet to Volunteer at Church
Ever since my children were young, we’ve sought out little jobs for them to do at church. When Aaron was only three, he used to come in early with me and help pass out the order of worship to the musicians. I used to tell him, “That’s your ministry, Bud.” Now, Noah helps print the bulletins and set up microphones, Julianna folds the bulletins and assembles the music binders for the musicians, and Aaron puts batteries in the microphones and mans the soundboard. They are very aware that we need to arrive at church in time to do this service.
When your children are your age, they will already be accustomed to serving the body of Christ. Perhaps no one has ever encouraged you to serve or helped you find a place of service before. That’s okay. Start today. You don’t even have to ask a church leader for an official place. Just find some job that has gone undone in your church—sweeping the entrance, emptying the trash, dusting the instruments—and do it. You might need to bring your own stash of trash bags. That’s okay. Come prepared to serve.
Become a contributor, not just a consumer. If you only ever do the minimum expectation—”Well, I guess I better make an appearance and show my face this week”—then getting to church will always be a mad dash. The church is not just a place we go to see friends, hear cool songs, and drink coffee. The church is a profound mystery (Ephesians 5:32)! Christ desires to sanctify his bride, the gathered people of God, by the washing of the Word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Maybe getting to church on time is not the problem. What if this is just a symptom of a greater problem? It may be time to do a spiritual checkup. A good place to start is with the passages given above in the “elevator speech.”