Doing family church at home is easy and simple. There’s very little planning or expertise required, just willing participants. The upside, particularly for children, is they get to see that church is a priority, they see their faith practiced outside the church, and they see a strong example of real-world faith from their parents and their elders. The good news is it’s easy to do family church at home! Keep it short (Yay!). A 20-minute service, all in, will do tremendously more for your family than not having one at all!
In the time of Coronavirus, we’re not sure when we’ll be able to get back to gathering in large numbers. We don’t know how long this will last. In the meantime, traditional church families are most likely not practicing any kind of Sunday morning routine, such as a church service. That’s bad, especially for the children who need to see an example set by the adults of the priority that church and the faith should have.
Here’s how to do family church at home!
Call everybody together at a set time
Call everyone to a space where you can all sit together, like a living room, and where you can all see the leader who will move the service through its steps.
It doesn’t matter if all of this is off-the-cuff. Just do it! The value is in the doing, not in how great you are at doing it.
Follow your church’s pattern
If your church is like mine, you might follow something like this,
- Open with prayer
- Sing a few songs
- Read a small portion of scripture
- Have a prayer time
- Have a sermon time
- Sing a closing song
- Close with prayer
Congrats! You have your family church plan! And isn’t that nifty, it’s a perfect 7-point plan!
It’s totally fine to copy your church’s service. Your church is a ‘little church’ just like each of you is a ‘little Christ’ (as a child who imitates a grown up).
Open with a prayer
Prepare the hearts of those around you to help remind them we are meeting and remembering Christ and that we are trying to do something fun but still serious.
You could also open with a song but be sure to follow quickly with a prayer to prepare your family for a time of church.
Sing a few songs (How?)
Use YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, or your personal music collection of Christian songs, whether online, or digital, or CDs, or straight from hymn or chorus books!
If someone can play a piano, keyboard, guitar, or other instrument, all the better! Have them lead the songs!
Include musical instruments for adults and children
Involve children by giving them something to bang! It could be a kitchen pot and wooden spoon. Lead them with a pot and spoon yourself and show them how to keep with the beat of the song.
Providing children something to “give” to the service teaches them they, too, can serve and it’s not so scary. It’s also fun for them and broadens their horizons about what church can be!
You should probably take away the instruments when songs are done to avoid children making a racket when attention is needed!
Read a small portion of scripture
Psalms and Proverbs have so many great bite-size pieces of scripture that make them perfect for this time in the service.
You could also ask family members if they have a favourite portion of scripture they’d like read. You can ask them to read it, if they would like, or you can read. If they read, it will help them develop confidence in their public speaking ability.
Having trouble deciding? You can’t go wrong starting at Psalms 1. Just read the whole chapter. That’s it!
Read a brief story with a moral
We are magnetized by new and interesting stories. That’s why your pastor probably peppers his sermons with them. It’ll work the same with your family church.
You can easily find short stories from the bible, think David and Goliath, or the Old Testament Kings who prayed to God when they had no other help. You can also find well-written stories in publications like Our Daily Bread.
Ask members to pray in prayer time
Because it’s a small group, adults and children will feel much more comfortable a note of thanks, or a prayer request, or even praying out loud.
Encourage members to say a little prayer.
The benefit of including everyone will be to give them confidence that they can speak in front of people!
Have a sermon time
An adult, the father preferably or another respected man, but a mother or respecting woman if men are not available, should lead the sermon time.
Here, you can also pick a portion of scripture. Consider New Testament passages, perhaps a story of Jesus’ miracles, or an edifying section from Paul.
You can go anywhere in the bible. Reading a chapter (or two) is all you need to do and then you can pray and that’s it. If you feel a bit more confident and you feel a bit more creative, you might find yourself inserting your thoughts between verses, or asking your family members (especially kids) about what a certain verse means.
Involve them! They’ll be much more attentive if you do!
Sing a closing song
Just your regular church, most likely, you probably end on a song. You can’t go wrong with that. Mankind was designed to respond to music and the bible reminds us God wants to hear ‘a new song’. God is creative and He made us to be creative, too!
Close with a prayer
Closing with a prayer helps bring closure to the service and cement the idea that something proper and concrete was started and was ended, rather than just being a haphazard ‘come if you like’ kind of deal.
You’re probably able and creative enough to just follow your own church’s pattern without needing all this advice.
So, go to it, enjoy, and know that you are setting an example for your family and children that church and faith are a priority even in the real-world and on days not named Sunday!
These ideas came from the example set by my mother and father who would gather us all to the living room on snow days or days when we kids acted up and prevented the family from getting to church.
The lasting impact of the example they set by living their faith in the real-world shows in my life in many ways but also in the simple fact that I published a blog like this.
Thank you, Lord, for parents who set good examples!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16