Preparing for a Day of Rest, Part 1

“…Call the Sabbath a delight…” (Isaiah 58:13)

When our children were little, our Sunday mornings were not a delight, at least not until the Holy Spirit convicted us of our need to change. And as the household has grown smaller while everyone is growing up and leaving, I am noticing that we’ve gotten a bit careless and are leaving  more to do on Sunday mornings again. Time to rethink things!

Sunday morning sets the tone for the entire day. We can help our family have a true day of worship and rest by purposefully preparing for the day. Our whole family will be blessed by our efforts to plan ahead.

Let’s spend the rest of this week doing a little bit each day so that we’re prepared for the Lord’s Day when it arrives. We’ll outline a plan for being ready to leave (calmly) on Sunday morning, and we’ll also offer some suggestions to help make the rest of the day more restful (like preparing meals ahead). Let’s see if some planning can turn Sunday into the best day of the week.

First, make a detailed list.

For today, start by listing everything you need to do to be prepared for Sunday morning. Discuss your list with your husband and ask for his suggestions as well. Try to think of every task that has to be done to get your entire family into the car and on its way to church. It’s actually pretty impressive when you make a list. No wonder it’s hard to manage if we leave it all until Sunday morning! Think about: baths, clothing, shoes and socks, accessories like ties, hair doodads and jewelry, breakfast, Bibles and books, offering, diaper bags, housecleaning, preparing for company, food and activities for little ones during worship, closing up the house as you leave. Make your list as detailed as you can.

Schedule your tasks.

When you have completed your list, reorganize it into lists of tasks you can do on different days throughout the week. Some tasks, especially planning tasks, should be taken care of early in the week (tomorrow). Other tasks (such as baths before Sunday) must obviously be done on Saturday. The goal is to not have to do all your preparations on Saturday, and to leave for Sunday only the tasks that must be done that morning (such as getting dressed). Clothes can be prepared earlier in the week, food can be prepared ahead and even frozen, etc.

You may also choose to make a short checklist to post near the door that you can look at as you are leaving Sunday morning. This list would include last minute items to make sure are getting out the door – diaper bag, shoes on all feet, bottles – and last minutes tasks such as turning the oven on to cook dinner, locking windows and doors, etc.

Next, assign your tasks.

Now look back through your entire list. What tasks can you assign to other members of the family? You and your husband may want to discuss this together, or you may choose to include the entire family in this process. Assign as many tasks as possible to other family members.

Make a master list with all tasks and the people assigned to do them, and post it somewhere where everyone can refer to it.

Here’s a sample list:


  • Check family calendar for Saturday and Sunday plans. List any special tasks that need to be taken care of, due to plans on Saturday and Sunday. (Dad and Mom)
  • Invite company for Sunday afternoon. (Dad)
  • Plan menu for Saturday evening and Sunday. (Mom)


  • Organize “Sunday bag.”  (Older daughter)
  • Prepare Sunday clothes. Clean and polish shoes. Wash, dry, press and hang out clothes for each person. Collect hair ribbons, socks, ties, jewelry. (Mom and oldest daughters)
  • Plan Sunday afternoon activities for the children. (Dad and Mom)


  • Grocery shop for any special food needs.
  • Pack your Sunday diaper bag. (Mom)
  • Gather books, CDs, gifts, to take to people at church. Put in basket. (Dad, Mom, others)


  • Fill the gas tank. (Dad)
  • Put children’s tithes and offerings in baggies in coat pockets or purses. (Older son assist younger children)
  • Put Bibles, notebooks, and any Sunday school papers or books in a basket near the door. (Each family member)
  • Finish food preparation. (Mom and older daughters)
  • Bathe young children. (Dad and Mom)
  • Showers and baths for older children.
  • Put clothes out in each person’s room. (Mom, with older daughters helping)
  • Put accessories in baggies on hangers with clothes or in small baskets in each room. (Mom, with older daughters helping)
  • Put clean shoes in basket by door. (Older son)
  • Check to make sure each person’s coat is near the door. (Older son)
  • Set table for breakfast. (Younger children)
  • Have breakfast foods ready. (Older daughter)


  • Parents get dressed and ready to leave.
  • Get breakfast out. Eat one hour before departure time. (Mom)
  • Children wash faces and brush teeth. (Older siblings helping younger ones)
  • Get children dressed. (Mom, Dad help with young boys, older daughter ehlp with little ones)
  • Fix children’s hair. (Mom and older daughters)
  • Put bottles and other last minute items in diaper bag. (Mom)
  • Take basket with Bibles and papers to car. (Son)
  • Put on children’s shoes and coats. (Older siblings helping younger)
  • Turn off lights, check to make sure range burners are turned off, close windows and lock doors. (Dad or older son)
  • Check final checklist. (Mom)

Don’t be frightened by the length of the lists! Your lists might be shorter. Just make sure you try to include everything it takes to get you and the family out the door.

If you remember that on most Sundays, you are probably trying to do almost all these things before you leave for church, you can see that spreading the tasks over the week will make Sunday morning much easier! Also, if you have assigned tasks to other family members, you won’t be doing everything by yourself.

Tomorrow we’ll start tackling the list!

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  1. What a special treat to discover your blog this morning.
    It’s been some time since I’ve ordered anything from you, but as I’ve seen this morning, there are still more wonderful training materials…Thank you!!

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    His blessings to you this day,

  2. I was thinking about this very thing this past week! Thank you so much for your checklist!

  3. Excellent advice, Pam!! I would also add that the time in the car on the way to worship is a time to be guarded and spent in a God-honoring way (which is one of the reasons you created your lists, no doub, to make that more possible!) How many families have to “collect themselves” before they can enter worship b/c of bickering, etc. on the way 🙁
    Doorpost carries my music, Go to the Ant, etc. So thankful for this wonderful site!!
    Judy Rogers

  4. I bought this book several years ago out of sheer DESPERATION! Our Sunday mornings were so chaotic and by the time we rushed into church, I didn’t feel anything remotely close to worship. And that was when we had only 6 children! (We now have ten). We were recently going over this book together as a family, as we will soon be representing Doorposts at the IAHE conference, and I too was reminded of some things that I’ve let slip. “Time to rethink things”…again!

  5. We have our ‘don’t forget these things on Sunday!’ list taped inside the closet door where we keep the church bin and diaper bag.

  6. I really need some good advice, please! We have our kids sit with us in the service, and have been doing so for almost two years. Our 3 year old and 10 month old are in the nursery because they cannot sit still and quiet for the hour and 45 minutes it takes for the service. My older kids, ages 8, 6,6, and 4 1/2 sit well, but are restless (especially the 4 year old), and since our family is the only family in church that keeps their kids in the service, our kids ask every Sunday to go to children’s church instead of sitting with us in “big church.” We really like our church, and have not been able to find a family-integrated church in our area that is a fit for us. We do discuss the sermon with the kids afterwards, and help them find the verses in their Bibles. We also take the opportunity to cuddle with them, and enjoy the time sitting with them. Even with this, they still don’t enjoy church. We really want to keep them with us because we do not want them going in different directions every week, and we don’t like the idea of youth group later on (if you don’t start something, you won’t have to take it away later), but at the same time, with everyone else sending their kids out for “fun”, our kids feel as though they are missing something. We don’t want them to dislike church! What should we do?

  7. I know of one family that would actually *dress* the kids the night before! It would definitely limit the outfits to items that wouldn’t wrinkle so I would never do it, but they said it saved them lots of time hunting for clothes, etc.

  8. Dyan, your children are old enough to start talking to them about doing things to honor God and not because it’s what others are doing. Your 6 & 8 year olds especially. Now is the time to begin to talk to them about how important it is to do what God asks of us even when everyone else around us is doing something else. We taught our kids that God called them to be leaders and leaders do what is right no matter what! And one of the right things is to honor God and your parents. We were also the only family in our entire church who’s children didn’t go to children’s programs or youth groups. Our youngest two are 18 & 19 now and have never had a desire to go to youth group. In fact, they are very anti youth group. And it served them well when they have had to take a stand for something in life that goes against the tide. Like when all their “friends” got mad at them for not wanting to see a certain movie. Or when “friends” mocked them because they wouldn’t try energy drinks. And of course don’t forget to pray for their heart attitude about it.

  9. I just wanted to leave a comment and say, Thanks! These are some really great ideas. How often do we say Church is important, but then we don’t prepare like it actually is.

  10. Now the icing on the cake would be to get the actual day correct! It has NEVER changed because G-d doesn’t change! Until we get the fundamentals right, we struggle under our own understanding and can’t please the One who it is all about! AWESOME post, wrong day.