Becoming a Church-Goer: From Pastor to Parent

It’s strange.

On Mondays, I’m not slowly dragging myself out of bed groggy from an exhausting weekend or Sunday.

On Wednesdays, I’m not rushing off to the WaWa to grab some extra caffeine so I have some semblance of alertness with the youth later that evening.

On Saturdays, I’m not sweating all the responsibilities and activities on a Sunday morning particularly a sermon or a big children’s ministry event.

For the last three weeks I’ve only walked into a church on Sunday mornings whether at 9 or 11 am. I’ve sat in a pew in the back with the huge double stroller carrying (mostly) sleeping babies. I’ve looked at a bulletin without any highlighting and not to find any mistakes to be corrected by the church secretary but simply to follow along. I’ve passed the peace of Christ and not rushed back to the seats on the chancel in order to avoid causing the children to become antsy for children’s time. I’ve waited during the postlude and not had to speed walk to a sanctuary door to shake numerous hands and hear stories from the week as well as more prayer requests.

It’s an odd experience…not necessarily bad, but just kind of disorienting…like I’m forgetting something really important or I’m on vacation. In many ways I’ve missed so much about all the little things in pastoral ministry that I certainly took for granted, even complained about at times. On the other hand, it has been a blessing in disguise being able to:

…show up and simply worship in church on Sundays,
…make a few un-agenda-ed and un-hurried connections with people,
…imagine what worship is like for the babies, particularly A who seems to stay awake somehow.

In all of it, I am trying to relish that at the very least. But learning to be a church-goer, as a parent, this’ll be a challenge for sure. For now, though, it’s something else to reinforce this season of receiving…and savoring the small moments.