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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. 
    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. 
    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?

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  • 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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i am passionate about families learning, growing, seeking Jesus, and worshipping together. we know kids spend way more time with their families than they do with us in kidmin classes. my goal is to create experiences where learning begins together as families at church and then continues at home. these experiences take place in a designated family worship service on sunday evening, Gospel classes where children attend with parents, special events, and more. here is the simple model i use (and shared in a breakout on “family worship creations” this month) as i strive to create Christ-centered, memorable family experiences.

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truth taught together as families
• 
hear the same lesson/truth
• open Bible to the same scripture passage
instead of separating to various corners of the church learning different things, bring the family together and share the same truth with all of them.  not only do they hear and open God’s Word to the same truth, they can share how it impacts each of them in their stage of life.
Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.34.34 PMtruth experienced together as families
• remember longer what they experience than what they just hear
• something experienced together brings a better chance for discussion later
• kids need to see parents learning and having fun in God’s Word
the room fills with laughter, whispers, prayers, movement and more as you allow the families to not only hear truth, but experience it. these activities help you build a bridge form abstract concepts to concrete ones that children will understand. they also allow parents a chance to experience truth in a creative, kid-friendly way.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.34.43 PMtruth discussed together as families
• 
provide questions for families to discuss
• allows time for parents to get an extra glimpse into what child is dealing with
• cuts out “sunday school” answers
• Jesus was so great at asking questions.
have you ever wanted to call a time-out in church and ask some questions or discuss what was just shared? this step allows families to do that with the truth they just heard and experienced.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.34.55 PMa take home to continue discussion as families
• 
a reminder at home of what they experienced together
we can’t go home with them, so send something home that can be placed to spur further discussion. this can’t be a craft that will be forgotten at church or trashed as soon as they are home, but something with a bit of a lasting impact.

 

 

i would love to hear what you do to help families experience meaningful worship times together. comment with your ideas and thoughts.

like what you read? please subscribe to my blog on the right column. thanks!

as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  these candid shots from tonight’s vine family worship speak more beautifully and clearly than i ever could about my heart for family worship.  enjoy!

family prayer time
family prayer time
active confession prayers
active and “hands-on”confession prayers
daddy/daughter prayer time
daddy/daughter prayer time
prayer can be fun!
prayer can be fun!
sweet family prayer time
sweet family prayer time
mother/daughter share time
mother/daughter share time
making memories while we pray
making memories while we pray
energetic kids leading worship
energetic kids leading worship
love seeing families pray.
love seeing families pray.
confessing our sins to God and one another.
confessing our sins to God and one another.

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?”

click to see larger image
click to see larger image

– 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 DSCN9530overwhelmed 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.

DSCN9580– 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.” DSCN9604this 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.) DSCN9651families 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 DSCN9652really 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.

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