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family worship


last night we held our annual vine family worship – grandparent edition. it was such a special night and such a treat to have yancy and jim wideman here with us. here is an outline of what our night looked like as we sought to gather families of multiple generations together to treasure God’s Word.


as families arrived we had a photo booth for them to get a family picture made. we later posted these pictures to our facebook page for families to download. for families that didn’t have a grandparent that was able to attend we recruited some of our amazing adults to serve as “granpals” for the night. i love the idea of “grandpals” because this gave our families another connection in the church and we all know, families need the leadership of seasoned believers as we walk this journey.




after families had their picture made we gave them an early arrival card so they could be intentional about the time we had before the evening began. all of our children received highlighters in their promotion packets in august so we are always looking for ways to help them highlight special scriptures. we thought it would be special if grandparents and parents had a chance to highlight their favorite verses in the children’s Bibles. not only would this be an impacting moment at family worship, but hopefully for years to come as each child grows in their faith. we also had families go ahead and look up and highlight the focus passage for the evening. this helped them locate the night’s scripture and also began a family conversation about the truths this passage shared.


yancy and then, it was time for yancy’s first set. y’all i cannot say enough good things about how wonderful yancy is. not only is she an incredibly easy and organized artist to work with, she is approachable and really sees each event as a time of ministry. i loved how she was walking through the room beforehand engaging our kids and asking them what they were up to that afternoon. she had a perfect mix of upbeat worship songs and hymns that included all ages. she is also so interactive and one of the best artist i have heard to explain the meaning of worship songs before she leads them. if you are in need of a special musical guest and wondering if they are worth spending the money on, let me attest to the fact that yancy is worth every penny. we had here for one of our 24 hours 4 Him events, our preschool ministry had her for waffles and wiggles, and i am sure we will have her back.



jim widemannext up was yancy’s dad and no secret to the kidmin world, jim wideman. not only did we love pairing yancy with her dad for this event, we loved that he knows ministry and families and he just happens to be a dad and a grandfather. we thought this was a great fit for our special grandparent night. we didn’t give him an easy task either. his job was to speak for 15-20 minutes on our focus passage, psalm 119:9-16, to ages 4 – 75+. how’s that for an age span? he was personable and interactive and we feel super blessed to have had him here to invest into our kids and families with God’s Word. one of the best things is hearing how kids could quote specific truths he shared this morning as they reviewed withi their parents about what they learned.


after jim spoke, we had yancy up for a second set. let me take this time to say you don’t have to bring in big names to make a night like this successful. we don’t always do this, but we felt it was special for our grandparents night. you can purchase amazing video worship tracks at worship house kids or amber sky. you can also bring in your youth praise band for a special night of worship. usually, i or my associate minister to children speak or sometimes we invite another minister in so the families can hear from them. you have to use what works for your context and your budget.


one of my favorite times of each family worship is the interaction between families. since we were talking about treasuring God’s Word we gave each family a treasure chest (we purchased ours by the dozen at oriental trading.) and a scripture sheet. inside each treasure chest, we had 10-15 large sequins we were calling the “coins.” we tried to find blank coins to write on, but this proved too difficult or too expensive, so we just cleaned hobby lobby out of their quarter sized sequins. families were asked to use a sharpie to write one of the provided scripture references on each “coin.” they were also told they could decorate their family treasure box at home to represent their family. our goal in this family time was to create discussion and an experience that continued on as they went home. their challenge was to pull out a “coin” each day and read the passage as a family looking for treasures or truths in that passage. i talk more about our recipe for family worship here.



treasure scripturealso here is the scripture sheet that helped families find passages to print on their special treasure “coins.” we provided more scriptures than “coins” they were given and we tried to use scriptures that focused on God’s Word or  wer ein some way about treasure.




one other element of the night (which was optional) was that we encouraged families to dress up as a person, place, or thing from God’s Word. we had some very creative family entries. currently, our church staff is voting for their favorite and the winning family will receive a gift card for a family meal to spend some quality time together. again this was optional because we didn’t want to stress families out that wanted to come and didn’t want to think of an outfit.


we ended the night with a family meal of hamburgers, tater tots, and make your own smores at your table. we are so blessed with an amazing kitchen crew that really goes above and beyond to make our meals fun and interactive. 🙂 (fire at the tables, sure it was a little crazy, but what a fun family experience. 🙂 )


y’all i wish i could say we had a packed house and there was standing room only for all the families that wanted to attend, but i want to be transparent with you on ministry struggles. sadly, a packed house for this special night was not the case. we had around 250 there (which is a great number but not near what we could have reached) and while i was happy for each person that came, i grieved a bit for the empty seats. i know it is a sunday night and families are busy and i am wrestling with why many just don’t come back. i never want to be caught up in numbers, but also want to make sure we offer ministry events that enable all families to be confident in Christ and grow in their faith as a family. before our spring event, i will be praying through our process and confessing my sin as i often place my expectations above God’s plans. ultimately our vine family worship night was a success, based on truth, pointed to Jesus, and allowed families to begin and continue conversations about the treasure of God’s Word.

what are you doing to gather families together around the truth of God’s Word? comment and share. i would love to hear all your creative ideas.

i was so excited to be invited back to a great event my friend nate holder puts on for his association each year – the etowah baptist association kidmin and stumin summit. one of my breakouts for this year is on family worship. below are my notes for this workshop.

before you think this post is all about adding another worship service or event to your already busy kidmin calendar, think again. as we explore this topic i am going to ask three things of you:

  • think out of the box. family worship doesn’t just have to be a time of worship with families.
  • how can you apply these principles to events/program you already have in place in your ministry?
  • quality verses quantity – families are busy. make sure the times you plan areprayed through and well crafted. offer less that is better than a whole lot of more. 

now i believe in simple steps so i can focus on what is most important – Jesus. so this is my checklist, or recipe if you will, for family worship experience.

after i shared the recipe we experienced this model in six different activities.

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read colossians 1:16-17 God created everything. God is in charge. God is Holy and the boss of us. give families a jar of play-dough. allow them to decide what they should make with their play-dough. as the families shape their play-dough, pretend the play-dough is speaking to you and says it is not happy with the shapes they have decided and it wants to be something else. give them another shape to form. say the play-dough wants to change shapes several more times. (you will hear the groans.) families discuss: should the play-dough decide what it should be made into? how is this like us trying to tell our Creator what to do? families take home the play-dough.
read romans 3:23. share that we can’t ignore sin. ask who is hungry for a snack. bring out very burned popcorn and share it with the class. (remember smell is a great sense to make an impact.) tell the families you are going to just pretend the popcorn isn’t burnt and they should just eat it. after they look at you strangely, explain that you will just pick off all the burned parts and surely they will eat it. of course, no one wants the popcorn. you can’t pretend it isn’t burnt. discuss as families: how is this sin like our bag of popcorn? families take a snack bag of popcorn home.
romans 3:23 and romans 6:23 go to a stairwell and get all the children to stand at the bottom of the stairs and the parents stand at the top. ask one of the dads to play the part of Jesus in this experience. turn tot he children and ask what is separating them from Jesus. (the stairs) explain the the stairs are hot, hot lava. the kids can’t touch the stairs, the rail, the walls, or leave the stairwell. ask them how they will get to Jesus. allow kids to think of fun ways. (i.e. try to fly, try to jump, etc.) families discuss: what was our problem on the stairs? how do the stairs represent our spiritual problem? families take home lava rocks.
as a family read romans 5:12. the family member closest birthday gets wrapped in cling wrap. families discuss: how is this cling wrap and crepe paper like sin? families read: John 8:34. families discuss: what does it mean to be a slave? family activity – stand in a circle and include the person that is wrapped in cling wrap. tell them their goal is to pass the ballon quickly around the circle five times and everyone has to take their time passing the balloon. families discuss: how does being a slave to sin affect those around us? as a family read: 1 john 1:8. families discuss: what if the person at the just tried to pretend they weren’t wrapped in saran wrap? how is this like us pretending we do not sin? family read 1 john 1:9. families discuss: what does 1 John 1:9 tell us about our sin? now take off your family member’s sin. families leave with cling wrap.
give all family members a yellow lego. read revelation 21 aloud. as this chapter is read instruct family members to write on their block the one thing that excites them about heaven the most. families then are instructed to build something out of their blocks and share everything they wrote. families leave with their lego structure and are instructed to put it in the middle of their family table.
this is done during our 1st grade Bible lunch. families are given take out boxes with lots of spiritual discussion starters. next we read a deuteronomy prayer. family member share when they got their first Bible. kids leave with a devotional book and a bookmark with staff and 1st grade teacher’s favorite scriptures.

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sheetthis year at vine family worship we are working through our dawson kids blueprint model. each family worship night takes a deeper, hands-on, and family focused look at one of the points in our blueprint theme for the year. “the fall” was the topic of our second vine family worship, so we created a blackout family worship that would take a look at the seriousness of sin, but also how the light of Jesus Christ breaks though the darkness. (all families were encouraged to dress in all black.)

we always begin each family worship with an early arrival activity. we want to engage families as soon as they are seated at their tables. here is early arrival activity sheet that was placed on each table that night:
blackoutearly arrival



when it was time to begin, we led the families through the following Bible-centered, interactive experience.

• as a family read romans 5:12, “therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned”

• family activity – the person with the next closest 12186377_1177985725549264_471491982949503532_obirthday stood while the kids wrapped them in crepe paper and the adults wrapped them in cling wrap. this was so much fun to watch. some tables had kids getting wrapped and others had parents getting wrapped.

• family discussion question – “how is this cling wrap and crepe paper like sin?”

• we then read aloud john 8:34, “very truly i tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” then we had families discuss this question: “what does it mean to be a slave?”

• to further stress the point of how sin binds us, we played a game. each table was given an object to pass quickly around the table. the object was to be passed as quickly as possible around the table with everyone touching it. yes, even the person that was wrapped in “sin” had to try to participate. we then had families discuss this question “how does being a slave to sin affect those around you?”

• next the families read 1 john 1:8 “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” we asked “what if the person wrapped up at their table just pretended that it never happened and they were not wrapped in cling wrap and crepe paper?” “how is this like when we claim to have no sin?” we are only fooling ourselves.

• families then read 1 john 1:9 “ if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” finally the person who had been bound in sin for most of the night was unwrapped by those at their table. 🙂

• we ended this experience time by singing “nothing but the blood.” we challenged the families to really think about each word they sang and to savor the fact that only the blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sin.

• next asked ask each family member to take off their labels of sin they were wearing (from the early arrival activity) and trade them for one of 10012763_1177987358882434_3748371340862754809_othe candles on their table. (each table had a candle for each person.) as they held their candles the Gospel of Jesus Christ was presented and we shared with children that Jesus breaks through the darkness and brings life. we no longer need to be slaves to sin and be trapped in darkness, we have a Savior and His name is Jesus. at the end of this time we had each person turn on their candle (we did battery candles) and we closed the night in several songs by candlelight. we sang “Christ is risen”, “i saw the light”, and at the end, with only voices and candles in the darkness, sang “this little light of mine.”

i say it often and will say it again… family worship is one of my favorite parts in ministry.

IMG_4651from time to time i am asked what our family worships look like and how we structure the time together with families.  also i am so excited to be teaching on family worship at #kidmin15, so i thought i would include all the ingredients to our latest family worship on my blog.  enjoy 🙂

  • Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 1.07.36 PMwe began the night with a timeline families were to work on as they arrived. their goal was to put in order all the inventions by the date they were invented. after families completed this activity we gave them the answers to see how well they did on their timeline. then we built a bridge from this very concrete activity to the very abstract theme of the night – uncreated Creator. we shared that each of the items on the timeline had a time before they existed. we know that IMG_4662because we know when they were invented. (we even asked families if they remember a time before recent inventions such as the remote control, smartphones, etc.) we shared that our minds work like this timeline. we look at things with a start and a finish, but that is not like how God is. He didn’t have an invention date. He simply always was, always is, and always will be.
  • next we sang several worship songs with the families that all pointed to God as the Creator.
  • then we had about 20 minutes of station time where families went to four stations that all reinforced our theme, guided Biblical discussion, and even gave them some things to take home to remember the night. here are the sheets for the four stations:

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 1.14.12 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-23 at 1.13.57 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 9.11.02 AMScreen Shot 2015-09-22 at 9.10.43 AM

  • after the stations our associate minister to children, jon meads, shared the Gospel with the families stressing that it all begins with God. He creates. He rules. He holds all things together.
  • then we sang another worship song as a family.
  • we ended the night with me sharing with the families that if God is this creative, powerful, wise, and perfect, we know IMG_4649we can trust Him to hold our tomorrow and our eternity in His hands. i then closed in prayer.
  • we then had a family meal together and families got to take home their lego creations as a reminder that God is the uncreated Creator. (many also took home the firming powder, because the kids loved it.)

couple of other notes:
– here is a link to the firming powder we used for the “He holds all things together” station.  click here.

  • here are the facts we put on the backs of the mirrors:

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i don’t believe family worship has to be hard. i believe we bring families together and present a truth to them from God’s Word, allow them to experience and discuss this truth, reaffirm the truth, and then allow God to work in the lives of families for days/months to come. of all the things i am blessed to do in ministry, family worship is by far my favorite.

IMG_0004create moments where families experience truth together at church so they will continue the Christ-centered discussion at home. that is my goal of family worship. so what do you do when as a southerner you feel the weather has betrayed you for temperatures in the teens? you create your family worship around a frozen theme.

our goal in this family worship was to help families experience how sin paralyzes our lives and no matter how hard we try, we can’t rid ourselves of sin. we strived to help them understand that Jesus is the only one that can make us white as snow.

here is what our vine family worship night looked like:

DSCN9883early arrival activity: as families arrived they were given instructions to write down sins they struggle with on the blank pages provided. each sin was listed on a separate sheet and then crumbled up into a paper snowball. their pile of snowballs would be used later in the family snowball fight.

  • do you wanna build a snowman?: for our opening activity we provided each family a baggie that included large and small marshmallows, toothpicks, mini chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, and a paper plate. their challenge was to build the most creative snowman scene during the time allowed. (we played “do you wanna build a snowman” and told them their time was up when the song ended.) the only catch was each family member had to hold their right hand behind their back using only one hand to build their snowman scene. here is a taste of the action. [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/116594721[/vimeo]
    after completing the activity we had them discuss the following questions as families. 1.) what was difficult about this activity? 2.) how is this activity like how sin affects our lives?

  • worship song: we then worshipped together to the song “i am free.” (here is the video we used.) before beginning the song we talked about how only Jesus makes us free from sin. (we may have also danced a little during this song. 🙂 )

  • snowball fight: we divided the room in half and told families to take their “sin snowballs” to their half of the room. their goal during the next song was to get rid of their sin. we told them at the end of the snowball fight song (such a cute song by “bunch of believers) they had to make sure they had gotten rid of all their sin snowballs. here is a peek at the family snowball fight. [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/116594722[/vimeo]
    after the snowball fight we talked about no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t get rid of the sin on their side. i had themIMG_0321 grab a handful of snowballs and return to their table. as a family they looked at the sin on the snowballs and discussed the different sins listed. we looked at the passage in james 5:16 and talked about how as a family it is important to create a safe place to confess our sins to one another. then we concluded this time practicing what james 5:16 ends with – pray for one another. is their a more precious sight than families praying together?

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 5.53.53 PM

  • message: next our discipleship pastor shared a great lesson from luke 5:17-26.

  • video: we then showed a great skit guys video which really drove home the point we had been sharing all night. preview or purchase it here.

  • closing worship song: our final worship song was an updated version of “Jesus paid it all.” we asked each family member to hold a snowball sin in their hand during this song. as they worshipped, we challenged them to allow this song and the sin in their hand to give them a better understanding of just what Jesus did for them.

  • testimony: we ended the night with our associate minister of children sharing how God unfroze His heart and he became a Christian.

vine family worships last one hour. we move quickly between each activity and we try to engage all the learning styles present. after worship is over we have family fellowship meal together. (we also set up a family photo booth with snowballs for family pictures.)

family worship has become one of my favorite times in kids ministry. oh that these conversations would continue in each family represented. i would love to hear about some of your family worship times. comment and share your favorite family worship experience.


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