Disclaimer: To make this extra clear, everyone should be welcome in the church, whether they are prepared to be there or not. Perhaps you’re someone that is new to church or getting back into routines after moving, sickness, or a pandemic(!). Hopefully, this article can be of help or be a bit of fun for those of us that are church regulars, but still struggles to get everything together.
If you’ve been away from the church for a while, it can be intimidating to go back. You might have forgotten the way to your pew. Or maybe you’re afraid that everyone will judge you when they see that you’re new again…but don’t worry! We’ve got some tips on how to rejoin the flock and make it a smooth transition back into church life.
Clothes will you wear to church
They say, to put out your clothes the day before an important meeting. And that is the same with going to church. I find that it is good to prepare what you will wear during the week. Make sure it is clean and (if needed) ironed.
Also, dress appropriately for the weather and facility you will gather in (e.g., jeans at a casual church vs dress pants at a more formal one). If it is a bit cold, remember to bring a scarf or extra cardigan to be able to stay awake during the sermon, I’ve heard that is a good thing.
Money for the Offering
Giving is of course important to the church, and your generosity is a blessing to others. If you don’t have cash on hand, make sure to withdraw some from the ATM before heading out for church. You might also want to download the church’s app or digital giving solution so that you can make an offering when it’s most convenient for you—whether it’s in church or at home.
Pack a Bible, a Pen, and a Notebook
If you are a part of the faith planner community, this one is a must of course. Stationery items are often close to our hearts.
- Pack a Bible, a pen (or more pens for us that like colors), and a notebook. If you do not have a physical Bible with you, then download an app to your phone or tablet. It is always good to have a Bible with you to church.
- Bring a study guide if there is one available for the sermon series at your church. Check out their website to see if there is one available online that you can print out before heading over to worship service.
Plan your travel and decide on what time to leave
You can often find the meeting time on your church’s website or in the bulletin. Always double-check it though! Did I mention that I came to church 11/2 hours before it started once? I was new in town and had just quickly glanced at the website at the beginning of the week. Standing before a locked door in the middle of winter wasn’t exactly how I was planning to start my morning. Oh well, it all worked out in the end, and it thought me a lesson.
Also, make plans for travel time to get there:
- Are you going by car? Then determine how long it takes to drive from where you live and figure out when to leave to arrive at least 15 minutes before services begin so that you don’t miss important announcements or prayers.
- Is public transportation more convenient? Be aware of schedules—many buses may not run very late into the evening (or early morning) on the weekends, so plan accordingly if this will affect how quickly/easily/cheaply one can get to and home from church.
Plan meals for the church day (and make a grocery list!)
A big thing that can reduce the stress of going to church is to plan out the meals during the day, where and when they are going to be eaten. So here are some tips on how to plan your meals on church day:
- First, figure out what time everyone is going to church. This will let you know when everyone (kids, family, yourself) need to be fed! Will everyone be eating dinner together after or will it just be something simple like sandwiches?
- Also, check if there is a potluck or community dinner in church. Do you want/need to bring something for it? Do you need to contact someone that is organizing it?
- If you are hosting a dinner at your home after church, ask yourself if there are any special guests coming over (for example grandparents, or someone from church). If so, make sure that there is enough food prepared in advance. Tip: it’s always good to make a bit more food so there’s a little wiggle room.
- Lastly, make sure everything the food is planned out ahead of time. Make a list and do the shopping on Monday/Tuesday night. This is so nothing is forgotten about later in the week when things get busy. Prepare the food the night before and keep it in the fridge, and voilà you are ready!
Bonus! Plan a fun and restful afternoon
When you get home, perhaps after lunch it’s a good idea to plan some rest time. Take a nap, get the physical rest in, and let your brain unwind. If you are up for it, take a walk in nature with friends or family if possible. Or perhaps you want some time alone, meditating and listing to what God wants to tell you.
If you have kids at home who need entertaining during this time that is fine too! Give them something they can do on their own like coloring or playing games with each other. They may just surprise themselves with how much fun they have without any electronics!
Also, don’t forget about yourself! This can be difficult if your children are young but even if they are older try not to let them monopolize all the attention on church day because church day should still be about creating special moments for everyone involved.
So, you want to go back to church, but you aren’t sure how. It can be scary to think about going back into the routine after taking such a long break, but it doesn’t have to be! If you follow these simple steps and make small changes every week, returning to church will become easier and easier until one week you realize: I do this all the time now!
We hope that you find these tips helpful! If you have any other suggestions, please share them with us in the comments below.