15 Programmatic Ideas for Hybrid Family Ministry
We’ve already outlined the need for each ministry to have its own online ministry coordinator in and the importance to building online communities, and not just entertaining kids. Specific to family ministry, it is the church’s role to come alongside parents as they are uniquely called to disciple their children.
15 IDEAS FOR HYBRID FAMILY MINISTRY
Here are 15 ways to move into synchronous equipping of families to build an online community:
- Remember when organizing programming, that modeling is a primary way to equip parents to disciple within their own home without you. Your goal should be to work yourself out of the job, so to speak. Remind parents they are uniquely called, they are equipped by the Spirit, they are supported by the Church who comes alongside them.
- Provide families ways to engage with the livestream that involve discussion. Make sure the children’s bulletin reflects the same sermon topic, perhaps consider crossword puzzles with key words from the reading, or a discussion question for families afterwards. For more ideas on keeping children engaged in worship, see here.
- With any material presented online, consider discussion questions that avoid “describe what happened” and aim instead for “how would your family react if this happened to you?” Always try to have listeners connect to their own experience; it is the primary way information is retained.
- Include children as leaders in morning prayer or compline online; have them fulfill a leadership role such as reading. Note: responsive reading on conference calls is more effective than reading simultaneously. Adjust liturgy accordingly.
- Podcasts for families (see “WeeWonder” or “Pray and Ponder”). Create your own and include feedback loops for families.
- With any material presented online, have children bring an item to the conversation that is personal and connects to content. An example is asking them to read the passage ahead of time and bring a stuffed animal or toy that reminds them of something from the reading to the conference call.
- Consider a weekly opportunity for a leader to read a story to the children, then have a brief discussion and prayer. Ask the parents to participate, and then the parents can repeat the activity one more time that week. This is modeling and equipping parents, while building community and fellowship, all through discipleship.
- Consider closed FB groups with story times, activities, etc. Be sure to engage with viewers, not just send out content.
- Movie/miniseries clubs: have family ministry watch a miniseries together (such as The Chosen, or Pilgrim’s Progress) and discuss it as a group, but also as families.
- Encourage parents to be seeking their own spiritual growth, making sure they know what is offered from the church and how you can help.
- Consider how-to tutorials for parents for things like reading the Bible as a family, praying together (see P.R.A.Y. or 5-finger prayers, or see Praying in Color, bedtime devotionals, dinner conversations, setting healthy rhythms, etc).
- Pay attention to who you are not seeing in your online engagement; move to non-tech ideas for those families. Consider using apps like MarcoPolo with those families especially. (Make sure you are never online with a child alone.) Be listening and keeping a finger on the pulse of what families are needing during this time.
- Record children’s sermons based on the preaching pastor’s teaching. Have them available immediately before or after the main sermon, so kids can engage with parents on the same material.
- Encourage family ministry programs to discover and claim a ministry verse, using it frequently, posting it during programming, praying over it with children, ensuring parents recognize it.
- Utilize Godly Play’s language of “I wonder,” giving ample opportunity for children to wonder with you in your lessons.
All of us are navigating a new normal. Hopefully these ideas will help your team focus on keeping people ahead of production, and discipleship at the center of ministry.
If you are a family ministry leader in the ACNA and would like to connect to other family ministry leaders, please contact Jessica Jones.