When people are involved, they are committed and what they do is important to them. Planned Joint activities, Structured Children Programs, Carnival Fun Days, Family Trips, Tie-Dye Events, Santa Picture, Family Picture Sundays, Pot Lucks, are easy ways to engage the whole Family
28 Ways to Involve Families in Church
Most people go to church with their families and want to ensure that every member of their family is accommodated. This means that churches must consider family-friendly programs and activities that cater to every member of the family. Both adults and children want to feel that they have a place in their local church and their spiritual needs are well taken care of.
Churches can look for ways to engage families and help them grow in their relationship with God. There are many ways but we can look at 28 of them in this article.
1. Joint activities
You can organize joint activities for parents and their children so that they can serve together in church. These activities can be ways that family members can serve together in different areas of the church. These can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. Decide on appropriate times that work for both parents and children. Such activities will help family members bond and grow closer to Christ together. They will enjoy the opportunity to serve God as a family and will do so even when they get home.
These types of structured events help encourage fellowship and family spirit with other families in the church. We had a Children’s Family campout in the Church Building one night. We had Family singing around the campfire – moved to our main auditorium with tents and sleeping bags. Children’s Bible Movies all night. The morning was a Wilderness Treasure Hunt for your breakfast. We cultivated it with a visit from our local Fire Department, and their Fire Truck. Both the Adults and children loved it. It was a Friday Evening through Mid Saturday Event.
2. Kids program
Kids enjoy having activities in church that make them feel important and cared for by God. Programs for kids can be in various forms, for example, an art class on a Sunday, a singing concert, etc. You can include the parents by giving them roles to play in the program in a way that they will interact with their kids.
We tried to have a Special Event every 3 months with our childrens Church. This took Place at Service time. The Adults were in the Main Auditorium Getting Fed from our Minister. The Children were having amazing fun. We structured it so they could and would want to invvite their friends. Some of them were
- Noah’s Ark Sunday – Children were encouraged to dress up as an animal on the Ark. We had Snacks lesson and face Painting
- Note Please Have someone taking Pics – Mom’s and dad’s love to see Pic’s of their children Learning and Having Fun
- High Priest Sunday – Older Children Built and actual size ark of the Covenant – We cultivated the quarter with all the children dressing up as the Israelites, High Priest, Moses, and Aaron carrying in the ark before the congregation at end of service.
- Tie-Dye Sunday – we all did about 3 Tye-Died T-Shirts apiece for the Children to take home. Amazing fun – Parents provided T-Shirts
- We built Teaching Story Boards for one Quarter. They were structured around the Villa Del a Rosa, At the end of Quarter, the children were all staged around a specific storyboard. At End of the services, the Parents went through and looked at all the storyboards. The Children explained their Lessons to their parents as they walked by
- Communion Sunday – the Children Prepared communion – made communion Bread in Microwave – Made Communion Juice from Grapes. Parents tasted their child’s Communion – Teaching was understanding Jesus’ Teaching of Last Supper.
- Drive Inn Movie Sunday – We built cardboard cars out of cardboard boxes – Steering wheels and tires from paper Plates. Children made some of the cars during their craft times, each Sunday – Built an immense amount of excitement cultivating in them watching Disney cartoon Moses and the Ten commandments. The Refreshments were Walking Tacos ( Bag of Fritos with Hamberger, Cheese, Sauce with Plastic spoon – Big hit) while they watched the movie.
- Teens – We had Lock-ins. As many adults as you need, the teenagers would come and spend the night at the building. It was closely monitored but teaching, movies, the fellowship was great.
Matthew 19:13-15, “13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
3. Fun day
Organize a fun day packed with various fun activities and games where kids can compete with their parents and you can give prizes. Kids love to see their parents doing fun things that don’t involve work. Include activities that cater to younger children, preteens, teenagers, young adults, and parents. A fun day gives the family a chance to have fun together in a lighthearted manner away from their busy schedules.
We Used Holidays to Provide opportunities for Families to Participate some were
- Halloween – We Did Trick or trunk. Families had a contest on Car decorating. We filled our Parking Lot with Decorated cars with candy in each. Children would get it as they all visited each car. Everyone had costumes – great Fun
- Family Campfires – devotional, singing, Hot Dogs, Smores, and Marshmallows. It is amazing how close people can become spending time around a campfire. We did it on the back of our Church Property.
- Easter – we used this as Family Easter Egg Hunt – WQe bought plastic eggs and filled them with treasures – Easter was usually our largest attendance – so we made it as Family Oriented as we could. Remember Children are dressed in their best clothes. One of our Elders had gotten an Easter Bunny costume and had pictures taken with the children
- On Sunday Close to Sunday after Service, we had Santa and Mrs. Claus. We got family Pictures and then emailed them to the parents.
- Christmas – We used this to teach our children in a visual way about the Birth of Jesus. We wanted to figure out a way that all children could participate. Realistically many would only show up on the day of the Christmas Play. We Copied the premise of having a 360 Degree Stage. We saw this in Sight and Sound Theaters in Penn. It was amazing. we set up 4 scenes, Gabriel visiting Elizabeth, Gabriel visiting Mary, Wise Men Visiting Herod, Wise Men visiting The Child before they went back.
4. Family service
Pick a Sunday when you can have the whole family attend one service. Mid-morning is usually a good time as this gives families ample time to prepare to come to church together. The family service should have opportunities for members of all ages to serve under different capacities, for example, ushering, distributing fliers, taking the offering, praying, among others. The sermon for that Sunday can focus on the family and the issues they face because all members will be listening.
5. Prayer day
Prayer is important in everyone’s life regardless of age. A prayer day for the family will give members an opportunity to pray for each other and continue with the practice even when they get home. Whether the prayer service is on Sunday or on a special day, you can organize for one in your church sanctuary or compound. The church leadership can also pray for the families present and request them to forward any prayer requests they have. If some need prayer counseling, then you can organize it. These Thoughts on Prayer and Families
- Importance of Pray should be shown from Pulpits and Leadership
- Family Prayer should be encouraged
- Personal Prayer Should be Encouraged
- Children Should be Taught early the Importance of Prayer
- Spend Time Coming up with ways to creatively teach the importance of Prayer. – Prayer is not exciting but it is VERY IMPORTANT
- All our Classes Began with Prayer
- We encouraged our children to lead in Prayer as their Classes began
6. Family trip
Your church can organize a day trip for families where they can go to a park or other location and enjoy the scenery together. Sometimes a day away from the regular schedule that families have can help them spend time together when they are relaxed. Choose a location where they can have a picnic together and share some fun moments. They can take pictures and socialize with other families and make new friends. You can have an itinerary to ensure that the families are engaged throughout the trip.
We Enjoyed Family Trips – Great time of Fun and Fellowship for Familys some ideas are here
- Trips to Local Zoo
- Fishing Trips
- Family Trips to the Park
- Picnics at State Parks – We Rented Shelter Houses
- Amusement Parks trips – We have a Kings Island, and Cedar Point within several Hours
- We Visited The Lifesize Ark Replica in Kentucky
- We Visited the Bible Based Creation Museum
- We ha Family canoe Trips – a great amount of Fun
7. Movie day
A family movie day at church can be a good way to engage families. It gives them a chance to watch something that they can talk about when they get home. Select a movie with a Christ-centered theme that has great lessons for every member of the family. Organize for popcorn and soft drinks for all to enjoy as they watch the movie. Have a debriefing session after the movie where family members get to talk about the story and what they have learned. This can be a regular activity which is a way to bring families together in church.
News Year Eve Party
We had a great time for Families. We had Fun having Games and Food as we Saw the New Year in as a Family.
8. Family picnic
A great way to engage families in the church is to have a picnic in your church compound. The family members can prepare food at home and share it during the picnic. Every family member, including the young ones, can prepare a food item for the picnic. This way, the family bonds are they prepare the food at home and during the picnic. You can have the picnic on a Sunday after the family service when all members are present.
9. Family Bible study
Families benefit from studying the Bible together and you can have a day when you can guide them through a family Bible study session. It can take 1-2 hours with a structure that allows each member to participate and learn something new. You can also teach the parents how they can continue with the Bible study at home. This teaches the children how to read and study the Bible from a young age.
Our family Bible studies began with a Common Meal then we moved to Family Bible Study. It is important to involve all the ages of each family. We used Technology to help teach and Visually share the Gospel.
When it was in a small group setting we had one of the Adults to guide the children together in fellowship and teaching, if the adults are seperate.
Ideas on how to engage families in church are limitless and you can check out how other churches are doing it. Be creative as Possible Each member of the family needs to feel valued by their church so that they can continue to attend each Sunday and grow in their faith. Pray and ask God for ideas that will work for your church and the families who attend.
Families benefit greatly from churches that consider them as a unit in their programs. Having a family ministry that focuses on supporting families in the church will be a valuable addition to your current ministries. Families need all the help and support they can get from their local church so that they can grow in their faith.