Last week we talked about “What’s Wrong with our Family Services.” It ended up being a very highly trafficked post! I know we paused on a low note last week, after discussing the difficulties we may encounter as children’s and family leaders trying to create a truly multi-generational family service. Well, as promised, let’s take a look at what can be done WELL to create a truly amazing family ministry worship experience:

  1. Set the right expectations. This service isn’t going to be quiet. It may not always be orderly or neat either. We cannot fully minister to families if we still expect children and infants and those with special needs to stay silent and unseen. Expect some noise, expect some crackers in the carpet, expect movement (not sitting still) and expect God to show up in a powerful way.
  2. Intentionally design your programming to reach across generations. A family service is not going to fly if you aim only for 40 somethings in your music, your methods or your message. And I don’t mean just bringing the kids up front for 5 minutes. I mean a truly integrated service. This is going to mean a whole lot of work and imput from various perspectives. I highly recommend planning your family services with a diverse team.I am including a sample family service at the end of this blog to show you one very similar to a successful one we actually did at our church. If you decide to try it, or a version of it, I’d love to know how it goes at YOUR church!
  3. You need to enlist ministry representatives from many different age groups to DO the ministry on the stage. A family service has much more impact if you include a worship team made up of students, retirees, kids and thirty somethings. Your dramas, readings, videos and testimonials should be sure to include people with special needs, older people, singles, blended families and more. Remember, who you have on the stage matters. Even unintentionally, you are modeling, without words, what you want your church to look like, sound like and function as. Like attracts like. So if everyone on your stage is a 20 something newly wed, then that demographic is the one that will feel most at home in your church. If you truly want an inter-generational church, that get to work modeling what you are working toward.
  4. Try to appeal and engage all five senses. Traditional “church” services are usually a talking head, ie “I talk and you listen” which has been proven to be the most ineffective teaching method we can use.                                                                          (***See http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/05/lectures-arent-just-boring-theyre-ineffective-too-study-finds).                                                                                                  Kinesthetic learning is NOT just for kids. Adults love it too. And ALL of your attendees at a family service will remember what they see, hear and do. One church I visited handed out a little incense cube to every person as we left, to remind us that our lives give off a “fragrance.” We were encouraged to gift others with the “fragrance of Christ” instead of the “stench of bitterness, complaining and negativity.” Did that work? Well, 12 years later I still remember that sermon…Do not be afraid to incorporate illustrative methods in your service such as drama, video clips, readings, a guessing game, families acting our a story, object lessons, a messy game/contest etc. Is this more work then one person talking? You bet. But nobody ever said ministry was going to be easy. And Paul said, “I am all things to all men that by any means I might save some.” (1 Corinthian 9:19 ff) So if that means handing out goldfish crackers while talking about the feeding of the five thousand, then so be it.
  5. Communicate a vision of your church as a family of families. Too many times, when we promote a “family service”, many of our church members do not attend because they assume we only mean nuclear, first marriage, 2.5 kids, middle class, mini van families. But our churches have a vast number of people who do not fit that mold. Blended families, single parent families, grandparents raising their grandkids, singles, elderly widows (ers) living alone, college students- and the list goes on. Scripture says that the world will know us by our love. And a family service means that we the church are a family- all of us- together. No one should feel that they need to stay home when we have a family service. Jesus said, “Who are My brothers and sisters? Those who hear my word and keep it.” Mark 3:32 That’s us. What a beautiful picture of what the church should look like, what heaven is going to look like. A family of believers, loving God, loving eachother and worshipping Jesus. (Rev. 21-22).

So how about YOU? How have you or someone you know been effective at creating family services?

P.S. Want some help with launching your family services? A great place to start would be with having in my friends Jerry and Candy Moyer, with Jubilee Gang Ministries do a family service that will impact and inspire your congregation. Check out http://www.jubileegang.com for details. Another great ministry to bring in that does family services is Roger Fields with http://www.kidzblitz.com.  I have personally brought in the Moyers and would recommend them whole heartedly, and I just saw KidzBlitz at CMconnect and they were amazing.

As promised, here is a sample family service, based on one we did at our church. I’d love to know your thoughts on it! God bless your ministry for Jesus and His kids and families!

September Family Service

Rock Solid Christian Church

What’s WRONG with our Family Services?fammin2

 

September Family Service

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