Wednesday, October 1, 2014

6 Tools to Build Bridges Between the Church and the Home

Photo Credit: Daquella manera via Compfight cc

In my last post I talked about the fact that your church's family ministry will likely look very different from mine.  Why?  Because God has a unique plan for the families in your church.   

Because of this, the bridges you build between the church and the home will have their own distinctive feel.  But that doesn't mean you and I won't use some of the same building blocks to get there.  We might.  It's just that the way we combine and utilize them will reflect the individual identity of our church, families and leadership.  

Here are six bridge building blocks you might consider.  They're not an exhaustive list for sure, but they may be helpful in connecting with the families in your church.

Communication Pieces
This is anything you send home or pipe out digitally to families to get them having spiritual conversations at home.  

This can be everything from blog posts to family discussion cards, CDs or video links that prompt kids and parents to talk about faith together.

Sometimes you can tie these to special season like we did a few years ago for a fun series of family cards we did called the Monsters Who Stole Christmas.

Family Worship Services
Over the past several years we've created experiences to get kids and parents worshipping together. For many summers we did a big family production called Who's In the House that was half worship service, half Disney-style musical. We've also done simpler versions during our weekend services and special Christmas services, anything to get moms, dads and kids worshipping together.

Family Fun Nights
This could be a family carnivals, a holiday memory-making event, family skate night or drive-in movie night. Anything that's a fun excuse to get families to hang out together and experience community works here. It's also a great opportunity to encourage families to invite their unchurched friends to check out church in an easy, non-threatening environment.

Family Service Experiences
There's nothing that connects the bigger church to individual church families like serving together. A few weeks ago we had hundreds of kids, parents and grandparents who came together to pack a million meals in 24 hours for our friends in Haiti. You can check out the video here.

Teaching Experiences
Teaching experiences might be a sermon series on family discipleship, parenting workshops, baby dedication services or even environments that teach multiple generations at the same time. We do a cool event called KidSplash where we lay out John 3:16 in a way that both parents and kids can understand it. We've had more than 2,000 people go through KidSplash in the last five years, with lots of kids and parents getting baptized as a result of God working through this experience.

Special Touches
We encourage our Children's Ministry Life Group leaders to make a special effort to build bridges with the families they serve. Our leaders sometimes send e-mails or cards to parents introducing themselves, have face-to-face conversations to get to know parents and send kids special cards called "Fan Mail" to cheer kids on or celebrate them in some way.  

We also went the extra mile during promotion season this year and gave families some special themed photo ops as their kids promoted up to the next environment. This experience also included family open houses and a special video tour we made available to parents of children promoting up from the Nursery to our Preschool environment.

So there you go, six ideas that you can use in a ton of different ways to begin building bridges between your church and families. Use them, adapt them or throw them out. Hopefully if none of these are a good fit for your ministry, they will serve as a springboard helping you discover the unique D6 Destiny God has for your church.

Have you had success with any of these building blocks or are there others God is using in your church to get families talking about faith at home?

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