as i picture Jesus speaking to people in towns and on hillsides, i see families sitting together. through scripture, i hear Him using everyday objects (bread, fish, sheep, etc.) to build bridges from abstract concepts to concrete beliefs for all ages. i imagine kids asking their parents questions as they heard Him speak and family discussions continuing on long after He left. i envision faith being built and strengthened as families. these thoughts encapsulate reason number one of why worshipping as a family is a passion of my heart.
another reason is because i see sweet spiritual fruit from these intentional times spent together as families. fruit shared in an email i received the next morning after vine family worship that had a subject line stating: “One more for God’s Kingdom!” after our first dawson kids vine family worship, a young boy went home and prayed to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. how cool to think that a worship song sung and a hands-on activity shared as a family (things he referenced from the night of family worship) contributed as one of many puzzle pieces that lead him to the cross, confessing his need for a Savior. glory!
our theme for our first vine family worship was “love, why?” we were following a church-wide emphasis from matthew 22:37-39 to “love God and love people”. i wanted the children to see in God’s Word why were are to love and not do so out of: religious ritual, because i told them to, because the church was emphasizing it, but because God said so and He first loved us! below is the order of our service for that night along with pictures that help paint the story. i am already smiling as i think about what God may do in the lives of families in our next family worship.
vine family worship – “love, why?”
– we began with a “why” family intro activity that families had to work on together. (it was important that they sat as families so each part of the night could be shared as a family.) each table had dot stickers and an info sheet that gave them instructions. (see pic) i was overwhelmed by something someone shared with me during this opening activity. she said, “you realize there are three languages being spoken in here tonight?” as i panned the room, i could see many english speaking tables, but it was the spanish and arabic speaking tables that made me beam. such a sweet picture of the body of Christ.
– we then opened with a child led worship song that was straight scripture. here is the one we used for this service. i love seeing the kids up in front leading and the parents doing the motions.
– then a family and another child performed a skit entitled “the love family.” this was precious, because the young boy that played “the love man” is a new believer and his part was to share the love of God with this family so they could be freed to love with God’s love.
– next, families discussed what the skit meant to them. i think this part is crucial because each person could have received something different. if we are not intentional to discuss it immediately, we may lose valuable family faith teaching time. i loved sitting back and listening in on families grappling with what this skit had to do with their daily lives.
– after they discussed the skit, a young man came and read the scriptures for the evening and i talked about two reasons why we are to love: 1) because God says so and that is enough (it was a command, not a suggestion) and 2) because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
– i ended my talk confessing and challenging families that maybe we don’t love like we should because we forget all the many ways we see proof of how God loves us. (i.e. His Son Jesus, His comfort, He made us, etc.) families were then challenged to take each dot off of themselves and place it on the pot of their vine plant. with each dot they removed, they were to name one reason why they know God loves them. i told them if they ran out of reasons (which we really never could) they could say the name of Jesus, because no other has given up their life for sinners like us. this was my favorite part of the evening. watching families count the ways they see God loving them was priceless. a child at one table even turned to grandparents and an uncle to hear from each of them.
– we then ended the night in worship singing “i could sing of your love forever” and “amazing love.” i don’t think i will ever tire of watching families worship together.
– after closing prayer and me encouraging them to take their pots home and put them in a place where the family would always see them, we ended with dinner and sweet fellowship.
i still stand amazed at how our great big God showed up and blew us all away with His love.