In what ways are you engaging your families this year? In our crazy busy world families are looking for ways to build memories with their children more than ever. This year as you plan to engage families here are a few design ideas for the things you may offer. This list has come together over the eight years I have been on staff with Quail as I have polled parents. While the Christmas concerts and services are awesome, and should be attended, I do not think they substitute a place for families to engage one another, laugh together and fellowship with other families. I know what you’re thinking, Christmas is less than three months away and you want me to design something new?! No, even I am not that crazy. My goal is to spark ideas that can accent your existing activities or formats to engage families and provide a platform to invite extended family members as well.
Here’s what we do.
1. Halloween – We have the carnival like most. But we also give our congregation tracts to hand out at home to Trick’ or’ Treaters. On the backside of the tract is a label that has our service times and upcoming Christmas programs. We encourage our families to engage neighbors and hand these out. Some even set up a game in their drive-ways as a family for passers by. (Our carnival is intentionally not on Halloween so our families can be in their communities on that night.)
2. Thanksgiving – By far my favorite! Think pie! I love opportunities for kids to be hands on and learn something from older generations and parents. Personally, I believe baking is one of the coolest things that can serve in that role. Both a recipe is shared, but personal style and tips coming from an older generation, handed down to a younger, makes a great memory! For example, this year we will have a pie crust making class; kids and parents can come and learn how to make a homemade crust from some of our baking geniuses at church. Everyone will leave with a ready to bake crust.
We will also be having a pie potluck, homemade pies, coffee and board games will make for a Friday night of fun. Families will make memories as well as engage with other families from church. In a large congregation, families long for this kind of interaction.
3. Christmas – Happy Birthday Jesus Party. This is a party at center for at risk kids. Families will go down to the Center and interact with at risk kids as they lead games, songs, and a gift exchange. This almost serves as a mission trip in our city. This is the only Christmas some of the kids we minister to that day get. Awesome opportunity for families!
While these may not fit you, here is how we have arrived to some of them. The following questions help design great family experiences.
1. Does it engage the whole family? (all ages and stages)
2. Can families invite other families to join in?
3. Is there a cost (we try to keep this minimal if any)?
4. Are you engaging multiple generations?
5. Is there fellowship opportunities that allow relationships to be built with other church families?
6. What does it lead to next?
7. Can it be placed at or during an existing event (like adding cookies and cocoa fellowship after the Christmas concert)?
8. Does it engage families with special needs children?
9. Does it engage single parents?
10. What is the spiritual goal (entry point, seed planting, gospel shared)?
Hoping your holidays are full of many memories!
This article originally appeared here.