Have you ever been dissatisfied with how you engage with church on Sunday mornings? Here are eight suggestions (followed by three bonus suggestions) that I’m confident will markedly improve your time at Sunday morning church.[1]

  1. On Sunday morning, pray for a few minutes in your heart before you depart for church. Ask God to give you an open and attentive heart to the things of God. (Should you, perhaps, also avoid media on Sunday mornings so your mind isn’t distracted when you arrive at church?)

  2. Arrive early so you can greet others as they come in.

  3. Try to actually worship God as you sing. If you find yourself struggling to engage, pause for a moment, tell God about your struggle, and then re-engage. If you need to repeat this process multiple times, that’s okay.

  4. During the transition from singing to the morning message, briefly pray again in your heart that God will use the preacher in spiritually powerful ways, including in your own heart.

  5. Focus on the message with as open a heart as you can. For some of us, this will mean taking notes — so we can follow the arch of the message — and jotting down ideas of how to make applications to life.

  6. Hang around after the service to talk to people. Pay special attention to those who appear to be new to the church, and make sure that anyone visiting the church receives a warm welcome.

  7. Invite someone to lunch (if this is an option for you, which I know isn’t for everyone), whether at a restaurant or at your house.

  8. Discuss the sermon with someone who also was there. The goal isn’t criticism of the sermon (or the preacher!). Instead focus on what God might be trying to do in your mind, heart or actions.

Here are two bonus suggestions. The first comes from my wife, Trudi, and the second from my teaching colleague, Don Sunukjian.

  1. Lay out your children’s clothes (if you have children) on Saturday night, so there won’t be any struggle about what your children will wear on Sunday morning. (Maybe you should decide what you yourself are going to wear as well on Saturday night if that’s an issue for you … ).

  2. Go to bed early enough on Saturday night to get a restful night’s sleep. That way you won’t feel sleepy on Sunday morning.

And one more (different kind of) suggestion: Find a way to serve on Sunday mornings in addition to simply attending the worship service. Teach and/or lead the children or youth, join a set up/clean up team, pray with others for the services, serve on the tech team or as an usher, or identify some other way to give — not only receive — on Sunday mornings.

If you will attend to these 8+2+1 suggestions, I am confident that Sunday morning will be better than you have ever known it to be.

[1] Of course, I’m assuming in this article that you attend church on Sunday mornings, since this is still the primary time Christians meet for worship. The things I’ve recommended apply for anyone who goes to church regardless of when the worship service takes place.

This post and other resources are available at Kindle Afresh: The Blog and Website of Kenneth Berding.