Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Ministry - Family Fun and Growth Night!

Each year as we work to develop genuinely effective ministry to the children in our ministries we look at ideas, programs and possibilities for ways to grow and strengthen our ministry. There are many options to choose from, but as you look at the choices you have available to you, keep the following tips in mind . . .
  • First, as you consider what to do in/with your ministry - particularly in the Summer - keep in mind the following question, “Will this opportunity help strengthen and encourage the families in my church and community?” Time is a valued and rare commodity. We are all so busy. When we look at opportunities for ministry to the children in our church and community if we develop and design these opportunities to include the entire family, we will find we are not only increasing our ministry to families, but are also building and strengthening the family as well. When we do this, we multiply many times over the effectiveness of our ministry to children because when the family unit is strong and growing, so are the children in our ministry!
  • Secondly, ask yourself, “Will this new opportunity for ministry require additional volunteers to staff, plan and present?” Recruiting is often one of the areas we struggle the most with, so if we want to add to our ministry opportunities, we often also have to add volunteers as well. Along with considering your staffing needs, give time to considering creative ways to attract the volunteers you need to make a ministry opportunity effective and successful.
  • Finally, ask yourself, “Why do we want to offer this ministry opportunity and why should anyone decide to participate in it?” Know what you want to accomplish and how it fits with and strengthens your overall ministry vision/goals – if you do not have a written ministry goal, before you go any farther, take the time to develop one!
These questions will help you continue to grow and develop genuine, real and effective ministry. As you consider opportunities for growing your ministry, I’d like to outline an idea which keeps in mind all three questions.

Family Fun/Growth Night!

  • Goal/Purpose – to provide an opportunity, perhaps on a monthly basis, to model ways to grow a strong, close and healthy family!
  • Staffing Needs – one or two people with a heart for growing and strengthening families . . . their responsibility – to plan each monthly event, recruit families to take one night a year and lead other families in their favorite family games and activities.
  • Event in a Nutshell – one evening a month families gather at church for a time of games, activities, food, Bible study, stories and fun with the members of their own family and with other families from church and the community! (I recommend Sunday Evenings as this is a night many families already plan to be at church and most families do not have schedule conflicts for Sunday evenings, but whatever evening works best for the families in your church is fine!)
Steps to Make this Work –
  • Pray! Pray to discern God’s will and timing for your church. Pray families will participate and be strengthened as a result. Pray for a team to coordinate, plan, promote and present ministry.
  • Have your team select a date and time for the first Family Fun/Growth Night and begin to promote, have families register so you know who will be there and can plan appropriately.
When the date arrives, the evening schedule flows as follows:
  • Families gather in a fellowship area as families for a time of worship and celebration! Sing songs, pray and read books and/or devotionals.
  • Allow time for families to talk together about what they learned or something which struck them from the devotions/books.
  • Families move to game area – have games set up according to ages, preschool games, elementary games and allow families to play games together!
  • Move to activity area and provide supplies for families to prepare a snack together or to eat a snack already prepared by the host family for the evening.
  • Families enjoy their snack with other families – encourage them to talk about what they learned from the devotional/worship time and which game they enjoyed the most as well as have them exchange family prayer requests so they may pray for each other in the coming month.
  • Wrap up by calling all families together and challenge them to commit to at least one night in the coming month where they will set aside time with their family to sing, learn, play eat and pray together before the next Family Fun/Growth Night. Pass out commitment cards for them to sign and a recommended resource list. 
  • Pass out a sign-up list for families to take an upcoming Family Fun/Growth Night and lead the songs, reading, games and snack time. Host Family responsibilities include – selecting 3 or 4 fun family songs they can lead the other families in, select a book to read or a devotional to share with the families, introduce their favorite game and lead the snack time with one simple snack.
Always encourage church families to invite at least one non-church family to come along with them to the next Family Fun/Game Night – this is a tremendous outreach opportunity!

Many families want to spend time growing together, but are unsure how to go about doing so. The beauty of Family Fun/Growth Night is it provides a hands-on fun way to model what to do and breaks it down into a truly doable size for families to be able to continue at home on their own. This event is fun, simple and not a burden to maintain. In addition,it provides opportunities for families to share with other families some of their favorites and in the process to grow closer to their own family and other families!

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