Imagine the entire church family coming together to worship God. Both young and old, standing shoulder to shoulder with the same teaching and shared experience. Creating a family service that appeals to all generations is possible. With a little planning and a lot of forethought, you can create an opportunity for the families in your church to worship together. With families on the same page, spiritual conversations will be easier the next time the family gathers around the dinner table. Kids can see their parents model worship. As the families in your church grow together spiritually, you will begin to see the fruit grow in each home. To have a successful family service you will need to think about each element of the service through the eyes of each family member.
Keep the ages and development of kids in mind.
You will want to create a family service that is engaging to both the preschooler and preteen. Think through a variety of teaching options such as games, videos, skits, and illustrations. You can engage kids of different ages by the use of mystery and fun props. Keep in mind that generally, the attention span of kids is equal to their age. Therefore breaking your service up into three- to five-minute blocks will help re-engage kids of every age. Having smooth transitions is key to keeping kids wanting more, so make sure all elements of the service flow without dead time. Specifically for the teaching time, you need a skilled leader who can bring a story to life for all ages. In your planning meetings, make sure your team of game leaders, skit actors, storytellers, worship leaders, or whoever is on stage thinks through how the kids in the room will engage in their service element.
Keep parents in mind.
If you engage the kids but lose the parents, the family is unlikely to return for a future family service. The use of humor is often the best way to engage parents. Even if the humor goes over the heads of some of the kids, when their parents are laughing they will lean into whatever is happening on stage. Parents love to see their kids having a good time as they learn at church. A family service can also be a great time to model a family having a spiritual conversation. Show the parents how they can creatively teach their kids as they sit at home or drive along the road. As you are wrapping up the service, help parents see their next step and give them easy ways to win at home!
Keep those without kids in mind.
When most churches host a family service there will be people without kids who show up to be a part of the church family. Those without kids and even grandparents play a key role in the church community so remember to keep them in mind when planning a family service. Through the variety of teaching formats, there will be something in the service that challenges them. Communicate to this group, helping them see how they can apply the message to their workplace or neighborhood. And remember, fun appeals to everyone in the room, so work hard at creating a fun environment where everyone can learn.
Keep those without parents in mind.
Whether your family service is during a major holiday or Sunday morning, there will be someone without their parents in the room. Maybe it’s a teenager who drove to the church by himself, or maybe it’s a ten-year-old whose mom passed away last year. Don’t make it extremely awkward by telling everyone to turn to their parents and interact. You can address the parents in the room, and you can pull parents on stage for games, but keep those in mind who do not have their mom or dad by their side.
When you work hard to create a successful family service that appeals to everyone in the room, you will create a memorable moment for the church. You can spark spiritual conversations around the dinner tables in your entire community. Start the conversation today, and begin to dream about what a family service might look like in your church.
Corey Jones is the lead children’s pastor at Southern Hills Christian Church in GA and strives to be an opportunist, learner, and helper. His goal is to live his life for the One who gave him life. To read more from Corey, visit his blog.