Four new habits for this season.
Andy Stanley recently released a short 5-minute video about habits. I thought it was worthy of taking note. In this video, he suggested to his own congregation, North Point Community Church, the need to adopt four new habits. It’s great advice for us too.
We entered March thinking it this pandemic and isolation would only last a few weeks. Then we thought if we pushed through the summer and got the kids back to school, life would adjust back to “normal.” Guess what? “Normal” is nowhere to be found. We can’t keep waiting. It’s time to adjust, including how we do church.
Not meeting for church for several weeks or even months, may alter our weekend habits. Regardless of whether good or bad habits are at play now, consider a restart. Here are the four new habits to consider.
Routines bring togetherness.
New habits are built when we establish new routines, and that takes time and dedication. Think about the steps required: decide what needs to be in your routine, set small goals, lay out a plan, be consistent with your time, make it fun, track your progress. (Oh, and you might want to reward yourself. New routines are hard!)
Daily routines help families get through everyday tasks and sometimes help to build family bonds. A good routine serves the needs of all family members – from organizing themselves to get things done to spending time together and having fun. Routines help families know who should do what and when and how often.
Routines also help kids and teens know what’s important to your family. Really special routines can help strengthen your shared beliefs and values and build a sense of belonging and togetherness in your family. Have you ever considered that your Sunday morning routine could do all this?!
“Church” doesn’t only happen on Sunday.
Many people have lazy Sunday morning routines that include slowing down and self-care. Self-care is certainly priority in our culture, and it is important. We all know what busy lives many Americans live. The quarantine actually gave us a breather. I know several families that could not understand how they ran so hard pre-quarantine. It was eye opening, and as a result, we may become so relaxed that we toss out our old church-going habits.
When I was a kid, church happened on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Now “church” can happen any day of the week…Each Kensington service at each campus is streamed, and if you miss one you can pull it up on our website or YouTube channel. So many choices. But what if all the choices gives us permission “to do it later” and then we don’t?
“Church” is not always an event that happens at a particular place at a particular time with a particular set of people. “Church” is also people going out into their communities and loving one another. It is inviting neighbors into your home, forgiving that friend that hurt you deeply, and offering to listen and pray with someone who was dealt an unimaginable blow. “Church” happens when Jesus followers freely give away love, mercy and grace because God did that for them. BUT, (there’s always a but) we can’t do this unless we are filled up with God’s love, mercy and grace first. Establishing a Sunday morning routine gives us the opportunity to fuel up for a week of “being the church” in our lives.
Groups = Community + Growth
If there’s anything worse than going through a pandemic, it’s going through it alone! That applies to those of us that are married with kids, married without kids, singles, and any other family situation. This applies to men and women alike. If you are part of a small group, do what you have to do to reestablish a new group routine. It doesn’t matter if it’s virtual or in person – find a way to reconnect. If you are not part of a small group, I encourage you to consider one. There are many types of groups, and it’s never too late to join one.
At Kensington we are passionate about group life because it’s in groups that we build authentic relationships, take steps toward transformation in our lives, and learn how to live out the new life we have in Jesus. Community and growth. It’s important.
What about kids and teens? Group life and church connections are important for them too! They need a safe place to grow, nurture their faith, ask tough questions, and connect with God and one another. Kkids (birth-grade 5), Breakaway (grades 6-8), and Edge (grades 9-12) all exist to walk alongside parents and provide opportunities for your kids and teens. Don’t make church optional – keep your kids connected.
How should I pray for our church?
Pray our church will not miss an unprecedented opportunity. Pray that our church will not be so focused on what we cannot do that we miss out on what we can and should do. Pray that when 2020 is over, we’ll hear stories upon stories of people that found their way back to faith or found God for the very first time! Pray this for our church every day. (Amen!)
Because of all that 2020 has brought us so far, our church community has an opportunity to become better. Together, let’s build new habits and be on the lookout for new opportunities. Pray that what began as interruption becomes a time of greater church influence. I am convinced that new Sunday habits can build a sense of longing and togetherness – in our families, our communities, our church, our Nation. You have the power to adjust how you “do church” and redefine your “normal.” Let’s all take a restart!