Five ways to prioritize church as a mom

Written by Erika Andersen
Published on January 20, 2023

“For the tenth time, please get your shoes on now!” I yelled toward my two kids from the kitchen. I was attempting to refill my travel mug and get out the door to make it to church on time. The chaos was apparent.

No matter how prepared I tried to be, it felt like the kids were intent on making things more difficult than normal. My husband was usually at church two hours early on Sunday mornings to help with setup, so I was left alone with the teeth brushing, shoe tying, and car seat buckling.

On plenty of Sundays—when the arguing or the meltdowns rage—it would be easier to give up and stay home. Yet I always manage to pull it together and watch my kids burst into the church doors like they own the place. And that’s why I do it.

Our little church is like home to us. Everybody knows our kids, knows our story, and accepts us as we are—even when my four-year-old wears her Elsa dress, cowboy boots, and SpiderMan mask and has a mass of tangles in her unbrushed hair.

So how and why do I prioritize church for my family? Sunday mornings are one of the only reprieves from our busy lives. What motivates me to ensure my kids get the experience of gathering with our family of believers? Here are five reasons I make church a consistent part of our lives:

1. We found a solid church home.

It’s not always easy to find a good church that works well for your family, but it is worth the search. We moved to a new area when my oldest was a baby, and it took several months to settle on a church home. There is much to consider, but spending the time to seek, assess, and settle is one important way to ensure you’ll stay committed when the going gets tough.

2. We know our why.

I’ve learned a few important things. Kids who attend church regularly in childhood are happier and less anxious as adults. I’ve also learned that most people become Christians before the age of fourteen—and engaging our kids in faith practices early is a big part of that important introduction.

3. We come as we are.

Perfection isn’t a word I adhere to. In our family, we go to church in pajamas if we must, because our church family accepts us as we are. I have gone to church feeling crummy, with no makeup, and maybe a few tears, because I don’t feel the need to put on a show when I’m there. When someone asks me how I’m doing, I answer them honestly. And when we arrive, I know that if my kids run off, they will be looked after. In a small church, that’s part of the “family” feeling you get, and I love it.

4. Our habits are everything.

We all know kids love consistency. My kids have been going to church nearly every Sunday their entire lives. They look forward to the rhythm and are familiar with our life patterns, their Sunday school teachers, and the comfort of the church building. Everything is easier when it’s habitual. We rarely discuss whether we will go to church, because it’s just something we do—like eating breakfast or brushing our teeth.

5. We know our people.

It’s so important for children to have other trusted adults in their lives. Parents are certainly the most powerful influence, but studies show that children with a larger network of caring adults in their lives fare better overall. They’re also more likely to keep their faith in adulthood when they have multiple resources and avenues to grow in their faith as children.

Like most things as a parent, raising kids to have a healthy and active spiritual life is not easy. But going to church regularly is one important component of building that in them. It’s important to educate them that their church is not a building, but the people within the building.

The hope is that you see your church family not only on Sunday mornings, but on other days of the week as well. Ideally, these aren’t just “Sunday friends,” but real friends that show up with meals when you’re sick, prayers when you’re in need, and encouragement when things are tough.

The consistency and habit of taking your family to church each week builds trust, liturgy, familiarity, and comfort in faith for your kids. As a mom, I find it brings support, renewal, and spiritual edification. When I think about what’s most important for our family and my kids for the long haul, this calling by God to gather with fellow Christians to worship him and support one another is one of the highest priorities I can think of.

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Erika Andersen

Ericka Andersen is a freelance journalist who has been writing professionally for over fifteen years. She is the author of Leaving Cloud 9 and a regular contributor to Christianity Today and WORLD. She has also been published on topics of faith in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and more. Ericka is also the host of the popular Worth Your Time podcast. She is a wife and the mother of two children living in Indianapolis, Indiana and the author of Reason to Return: Why Women Need the Church and the Church Needs Women.

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