Sitting In Church

Shane Dirks Preaching

This past weekend was the first weekend in I think in maybe 9 and a bit years that I sat with my husband in church and listened to him preach without distraction, I didn’t realize how much I had missed this.

I know at first I really missed it, I was fresh to the whole ‘mumming’ thing  and I remembered what it was like to have a focused mind, I remembered sitting in church and listening. I remembered going out for coffee after church with friends and talking about church and Jesus and playing cards. Entering parenthood suddenly, permanently and to an increasing degree my mind was overtaken by answering questions, changing nappies, feeding little ones… unable to ever really focus for too long on one thing without being interrupted…

In our last two churches I have led in our Sunday Morning kids programs, which has meant when my kids were in church I was right there with them. This was a massive blessing to me and something I would not change for the world, I got to be a part of shaping the ministry where they were cared for, and that I loved.

Turning up to church again in the evening with kids in tow and sitting in a room the service is streamed into really did pose the challenge to listening well and ‘feeling’ part of church on particular evenings. Mind you I love those rooms! I am so grateful to the churches we have called home for providing a space where my kids can play, be fed, feel welcomed and I can care for them well.

There was a time as a new mum when we were meeting in a hall and for that particular season of church life we didn’t happen to have one of these beautiful toddler rooms. My baby was crying, pretty loudly actually and I remember walking out into the cold and sitting in my car trying to feed him. No one asked me to leave, no one even expected me too, but as a new mum I was nervous about the fact that he was noisy in a quiet room where people were trying to listen.

I decided in this season to do all I could to learn and not expect it to all happen at church on Sunday night, not a bad idea for life really, but an important moment for me. I listened to podcasts while walking with my kids in the pram, and most recently when I got home from church on a Sunday night and the kids were in bed I have listened to teaching while I have done the ironing {it’s win win really}. This really helped me when I was having one of those nights sitting in the toddlers room.

The beautiful thing about this season for my family was standing with my kids as we sang, talking about the announcements on video and who was in them, talking about the people we love on the platform, EVERY SINGLE time they walked on {which is all of them by the way}, talking about the songs our church are producing and how we love them {City Alight you guys rock our world}, watching teenagers turn up and love church, my kids were watching and they noticed their heart for Jesus and his church and waiting to talk to their fave people when the service was over.

Church is so much more than the teaching, so much more than the hour on Sunday, but I am so thankful I got to sit with Shane and listen well again.

To all the parents out the back, it’s worth it, worth doing church with your kids, worth having a noisy journey, worth investing in learning beyond the distractions, worth being gracious to yourself and your family, worth turning up, worth serving and worth turning up again. I do not regret A SINGLE SECOND of serving and distracted listening. I have loved churching with my little ones, through noise and distraction because they belong, kids belong, families belong, noise belongs. But it really was nice to listen undistracted this week.

To everyone who welcome kids and families into the church, for the structures set up by people with a heart for families, thank you.

Love, grace and a moment to listen for your day

Rachel x