Almost every family agrees that having a regular time to read the Bible and talk about the gospel in the home is vital; however, the majority of families don’t have a regular time of worship together. So why is there such a disconnect between what we know is at the center of God’s heart (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and what we actually do?
Perhaps the issue isn’t vision, but practice.
Many people think of family worship as an hour of singing, Bible reading, in-depth teaching, and prayer. What does that sound like? That’s right! What most of us experience in our regular church worship gatherings. And most people are intimidated by that picture of a family worship time, don’t feel qualified to lead it, and quite frankly are turned off by a concept that seems so rigid and…gulp…perhaps even boring.
But what if we totally changed our thinking of what a family worship time looked like? What if we imagined family worship as something that is accessible, relatable, and even fun? In other words, what if we designed realistic times of family worship that families felt up to leading and that engaged kids in meaningful ways? Maybe then families would have regular times of family worship like they know they should have and that they want to have.
And that is where you can equip your families with The Gospel Project for Kids materials. Families can use a few different resources from The Gospel Project to design regular times of family worship to reinforce what is learned at church or even to teach a session they miss because of travel, illness, or for whatever other reason.
Here is what a family will need:
- The Gospel Project for Kids Family App: The Family App is available for Android and iOS devices and can be downloaded by families at the app store of their choice. Once they download the free reader, they would purchase and download the content for each quarter. The Family App includes the preschool and kids versions of the Bible story videos, audio versions of the Key Passage and Unit Theme songs, and several learning activities and games, including digital coloring pages.
- Parent Resources E-mail: The e-mail in the parent resources document contains a brief Bible study highlighting the Christ Connection which will help families understand this vital take-away from the session. The main point and big picture question and answer are also part of the suggested e-mail. You can access the parent resources documents on the additional resources page and schedule these e-mails to be sent to families weekly.
- Activity Page: The activity page provides some basic information about the Bible story as well as family discussion starters and activity suggestions. Make sure that your leaders either give these directly to parents at pick-up time or that kids take them home each week.
- Big Picture Card: The cards feature the teaching picture on the front and helpful content on the back including the Christ Connection.
Here is how a family can use those resources for a weekly 20-30 minute family worship time perhaps around the dinner table:
- Talk about the Big Picture Card. Look at the story picture on the front of the card and ask what the story was about. Ask what the story teaches us about Jesus and use the Christ connection printed on the back to guide that conversation.
- Watch the Bible story video. Watch the Bible story video in the app.
- Talk about the Family Discussion Starters on the activity page. Talk through the family discussion starters on the activity page.
- Consider doing one or more of the Family Activity Ideas on the activity page. Some of the activities can be done pretty easily, while others take a little more prep.
- Pray. Pray as a family for any needs and thanking God for His goodness most clearly seen in Jesus. Pray also that each family member can love God more and obey God out of gratitude and with joy.
- Play a few of the games on the app. Play the games on the app and allow natural conversations about Jesus and the gospel to occur.
Families can supplement this time by reading from The Big Picture Interactive 52-Week Bible Story Devotional or the It’s All About Jesus Bible Storybook.
Now, what about when your families know they are going to miss a session or more? Using the same resources, you can suggest that they follow a similar, just amplified, plan. You will need to be sure to give the family that session’s activity page and card ahead of time if at all possible. Here’s one 30-40 minute plan to recommend:
- Complete the Activity Page: Kids thrive when they experience various learning styles which makes the activity page so important. If the page is more challenging (such as finding hidden objects), you may want to provide the answer key to the parent as well.
- Review the Big Picture Question and Answer: Use the activities and games in the Family App to review the Big Picture Question and Answer.
- Review the Bible story’s background: Use the game on the Family App where kids need to put the Bible stories in order using the teaching pictures to see where that session’s story fits into the big story.
- Watch the Bible story: Watch the Bible story through the Family App.
- Talk about the Bible story: Use the parent e-mail and the story summary on the Activity Page to talk about the Bible story and ensure it is understood.
- Talk about the Christ Connection: Use the parent e-mail to talk about how that story points to Jesus and the gospel through the Christ connection. The Christ connection is bolded in the parent e-mail and it is also on the back of the Big Picture Card.
- Practice the Key Passage: Use the Family App games to practice the Key Passage and listen to the Key Passage song.
- Participate in a Family Activity: Consider participating in one or more of the suggested family activities on the Activity Page.
- Pray: Pray as a family for any needs and thanking God for His goodness most clearly seen in Jesus. Pray also that each family member can love God more and obey God out of gratitude and with joy.
- Give the Big Picture Card: Give the Big Picture Card, and if desired, talk about the story as you look at the picture on the front.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian, his wife, Tara, and their three children—Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb—live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 4-5 graders at City Church.