Church is canceled. Now what?
We are living in completely unprecedented days. Even a week ago most of us would have never assumed the massive changes that have occurred in our society and our lives. I would have never guessed last Sunday that our church would not meet this week, our spring break mission trip would be canceled, and that our kids would be out of school for an extended time.
What if we looked at this time as a unique opportunity for our family? Yes, the news is unsettling. Yes, we are all facing major inconveniences and experiencing frustrations. But God is not surprised. Here are a few things you can do in this temporary new normal.
- Don’t just take Sunday “off”. No guilt about sleeping later. But don’t let Sunday morning go by without gathering your family for a time of worship. Will the kids grumble? Yes. Will they say it is weird? Probably. But it is an opportunity for them to see the priority of your family. And, honestly, we are surrounded by anxiety right now. It is an excellent chance for your family to pause and focus your attention on the God who is bigger than all.
- Put phones away. No distractions. No news alerts. Pull out good old-fashioned paper Bibles.
- Have a plan. If your church is hosting an online service, watch it together. If not, find a church you trust who is. At bare minimum pray, sing a worship song or two together, and read a passage of Scripture. Psalm 91 might be a good choice in this season. Keep it simple and adapt for your family’s needs. You don’t have to do this for an hour. If you have littles, you may be lucky to get ten minutes. But that is ok.
- Keep reasonable expectations. Your four year old is not going to sit still for a thirty minute online sermon. Littles are going to wiggle. Babies are going to spit up. Dogs are going to bark. Your goal is not perfection. Your goal is for your family to connect with God.
- Help kids have something on their level. If your church’s children’s ministry is providing resources, use them! Here is a kid-friendly sermon note sheet if kids are watching “big church” with you. Let them brainstorm worship songs they like and find them on YouTube. LifeWay is offering free resources and there are many more out there.
- Make it a good memory. Enjoy each other. Enjoy worshipping God in your home. Don’t stress about it or expect every moment to be heavenly. Try not to yell at the middle schooler. Snuggle your wiggly kid while you sing. Snap a picture, but also create a great memory for your family history.
- Fight through the awkward. This is going to likely feel strange. That’s ok. Your kids may think it is weird. That’s ok. You may not feel equipped to lead your family in worship. That’s ok. Do it anyway. We have no idea how long this situation will last. Don’t be afraid of the awkward. Point your family towards God. They need it, and honestly, you can’t mess this up.
Let’s pray for God to move in our families during this incredibly strange season.