One possible format for doing church as a family could be:
Sung Worship (5 mins)
Scripture (2-5 mins)
Response Activity/Discussion (5-15 mins)
Prayer (5-10 mins)
If you’re musically inclined, why not have a go at playing and singing a worship song? Or if you prefer, you could use a song from our YouTube playlist, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsPr25exj6dSlK9-DrxNVjmC-wfh2LyD8. It has various songs that our children might know and enjoy; feel free to pick whatever song you like.
It’s great to encourage children to join in by singing, dancing, doing the actions, playing an instrument etc. Remember that the heart behind the music matters most to God.
Our Scripture as a church this week is Colossians 3:18-21. Here it is from the International Children’s Bible: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=colossians+3%3A18-21&version=ICB You could get different people to read different sections.
As an activity, you could either draw or make a model (out of plasticine, playdough, or whatever you have around) of the people in your family. If you wanted to, you could also write or discuss some ‘family foundations’ (key rules or principles that you agree as a family) that you think will help your family relate to one another God’s way. Try to use the passage as a basis for this.
With older children, you might also like to discuss some or all of the following questions:
- Why do you think it ‘pleases the Lord’ when children obey their parents? Do adults need to obey anyone? (Hint: the answer to this is ‘yes – Jesus!’, amongst other possible answers)
- The word ‘Fathers’ in verse 21 can also mean just ‘parents’ of both genders. Do your parents ever nag you? How does it make you feel?
- What do you make of verse 18? (Discuss how we deal with Bible verses that we might find difficult, if this is one such verse).
- How can husbands show that they truly love their wives?
- How does this passage help us to live our lives with and for Jesus?
Note: this passage, and verse 18 in particular, can be tricky in some respects. Two key principles might help:
- We read individual verses in the light of what all of Scripture says about a topic (e.g. there is plenty elsewhere in the Bible that helps us understand how God wants husbands and wives, and men and women more generally, to relate to one another).
- We approach Scripture with humility, knowing it to be God’s word to us. We therefore seek to understand how our minds and views can be shaped by God’s word, rather than trying to edit God’s word to make it fit with our (or our society’s) preconceived ideas. This will sometimes require us to study and pray about a topic, and we may come to different answers than we might get from a first glance at a passage; but the aim is always for us to approach Scripture with an open mind, asking God what He might be saying to us through it. This includes being willing to have our current perspectives challenged, and, where necessary, changed by God, as we go deeper with Him.
Spend some time asking God to help your family to grow in relating to one another in God-honouring ways. You might like to pray to forgive one another for any ways in which this hasn’t always been the case, and where people are holding onto hurt as a result. You could also pray for anyone who is lonely because they aren’t part of a family and would like to be; and those who have lost loved ones in the last year or so.
Remember that prayer is just talking and listening to God; it’s great to encourage our children to talk to God naturally, just as they would an adult or a friend.
You might like also to spend a minute or two of silence listening to God, and sharing what you think He is saying. Don’t worry if you’re not too sure if it’s God your children have heard – we only learn to distinguish His voice through practice!