This family-ministry event equips families to pray together, and
it helps make parents aware of their call to weave prayer into the
fabric of their family's everyday life.
Time: About three hours
Details: You'll need a large activity area, prayer
resources parents can take home, a comfortable area for discussion,
breakfast for your attendees, and various materials for the prayer
stations. You'll also need several volunteers to help families
experience the stations.
The Event: We kick off this Saturday-morning event
with a prayer of thanks led by our pastor and break fast for
everyone. Then we have kids move to one section of the room where
they do crafts, activities, and games related to prayer.
While the kids are learning about prayer, we have a pastor from
another church talk with parents about how and why to pray for
their children. The pastor leads parents in experiential activities
to help them learn about prayer and about the difference it makes
in our lives. We give parents a chance to ask questions and also to
experience a variety of prayers. Before the event, we collect
prayer resources for parents, such as helpful articles (with
reprint permission), samples of Christian parenting periodicals,
our own tip sheet with appropriate Scriptures, and a booklet of
ideas they can use. Parents are always interested and curious, and
they willingly talk about their frustrations, fears, and joys when
praying with their children.
For the second half of the event, we invite families to visit
our developmentally appropriate prayer stations. Each station is
for a specific age group and has instructions to guide the
families' prayer time. Here's a sampling of our ideas.
Ages Birth to 2-We placed items on the floor
toddlers could relate to, such as a large bandage, a photograph of
a family, and a stuffed animal. We had parents use each item to
prompt a prayer of thanks for things such as love, fixed boo-boos,
family, and pets.
Ages 3 to 5-We created a "church" using
cardboard boxes. Families crawled inside and wrote or drew their
prayers on the walls of the cardboard box. Then the entire family
discussed their prayers and closed by praying for each other.
Ages 6 to 9-We placed fire trucks and police
cars on the floor. As kids played with the trucks, they said
prayers for the special people who help protect us.
Ages 10 to 12-We set up a television playing
nonstop news and placed newspapers on the floor. Kids and parents
looked through the papers and chose a news item to pray about.
Overall, we had at least 10 stations. Families were welcome to
visit as many as they liked.
This event has been a great success. It's very moving to see
moms, dads, and kids bowing together before God. Many parents tell
us this event has helped ease their fears of praying with their
-- Leslie Roach Lubbock, Texas
Our ministry loves families, and our goal is to find unique ways
to help them play together. This scavenger hunt idea is one of
Time: This event works best when you meet for
breakfast, distribute lists, and reconvene before lunch.
Details: Before the event, you'll need to create a
Scripture-related scavenger list. You'll also need to provide each
family with a disposable camera and a Bible. Plan for a simple
breakfast and lunch.
The Event: Depending on the size of your group,
one family can form a team or you can create a team combining two
families. Begin your scavenger challenge with a quick break fast.
Distribute a Bible and disposable camera to each family, and then
give them their scavenger list. Each item on the list should
include a Scripture reference and an instruction, such as "Take a
photo of the tallest person in your family standing next to a
Other instructions might include, "Take a photograph of a 1977
penny in the city fountain," or "Take a photo of the shortest
person in your family asking a stranger what the capital of Peru
is." Each instruction should include a photograph as "proof." Have
families discuss the related Scriptures as they work to cross the
next instruction off their list. For a complete scavenger list, go
to Web Extras at www.cmmag.com.
Families will need transportation (automobiles, bikes, in-line
skates, or public transport) to achieve each instruction. The
sillier the instruction, the better.
When families reconvene by your set time, have them all take a
final photograph together. Then enjoy lunch as families compare
Make this wacky scavenger hunt a fond memory by developing the
photos, placing them in small albums with the instructions pasted
below each photo, and distributing the albums to each family.
-- Adapted from an idea by Kari Brimacombe Arlington,
IT'S CHILI HERE
Everyone loves Bingo, and almost everyone loves chili. Here's an
event your families will find delicious and delightful!
Time: About three hours
Details: You'll need a large activity area; access
to a large kitchen; chili, cornbread, and salad supplies; Bingo
supplies; and donated prizes from your community.
Before the event, contact your local businesses to see if
they'll donate prizes valued at $10 to $20 for your Bingo game.
You'll also need to borrow a Bingo kit (check with your local men's
and women's clubs) and recruit a Bingo caller. Publicize the event
in your community, and make a special point to invite the families
in your church. (If you'd like to use the event as a fund-raiser,
sell tickets for $1 each and donate your proceeds to a shelter or
charity.) Enlist the help of volunteers to make enough chili,
cornbread, and salad to feed everyone.
The Event: Begin serving at 5 p.m., and start
the Bingo game at 6. Play until all the prizes are claimed.
Use these ideas to keep your focus on families throughout the
Cover the tables with butcher paper. Scatter crayons around the
Place question cards on the tables that include a Scripture, a
modern-day meaning, and thought-provoking questions.
Distribute helium-inflated balloons that contain a biblically
based "challenge for tomorrow" on a strip of paper inside.
Play icebreaker games throughout the evening designed to help
families get to know each other, such as "There's something weird
about Grandma" where kids must confess a quirky habit their
grandmother has to another child.
Close the evening by inviting your pastor to pray for all the
families in attendance and thanking God for time together.
OLD WORLD FAMILY FESTIVAL
This unique festival idea can be adapted to fit any season, and
it's guaranteed to be one of the most memorable events your
Time: At least three hours
Details: You'll need access to your entire church
building, plenty of decorating supplies, large cardboard boxes,
costumes, props, and food.
The Event: Decorate for your Old World Family
Festival by creating realistic-looking, Dickens-era cardboard
storefronts for a variety of shops people can visit throughout your
church building. Have your volunteers dress as shopkeepers,
blacksmiths, innkeepers, bobbies (English policemen), and more.
As families arrive, have bobbies direct them to the village
entrance. Inside the village have all the shops set up, costumed
volunteers acting their parts, smells and scenes of the Old World,
and loads of great activities and food.
Capture the essence of the Old World by emphasizing people's
faithfulness and facts about their religious practices and
spiritual lives of the time.
Depending on the season, the Old World Festival can include a
variety of activity stations. Here are ideas.
Winter-In winter set up a Christmas tree lot, a
mock ice-skating pond (where kids use in-line skates or roller
skates), and skits adapted from the Scrooge story. Offer a wintry
backdrop or sleigh where families can have their photos taken.
Spring-Celebrate an Old World spring time by
having families plant crops (seed window boxes), spin wool, and
enjoy tea. Use your storefronts for photo backgrounds,or offer
families the chance to dress in vintage clothing and pose for a
Summer-In summer, offer fish 'n' chips snacks,
play historical boardwalk games, and have families decorate their
own maypoles. Offer a photo op for families in a field of flowers
or against a backdrop of summer scenery.
Autumn-During the autumn festival, have
families take a hayride, sit by a bonfire, visit a candle-making
shop, cook kettle corn, and watch or perform in outdoor skits.
-- Adapted from an idea by Shar Borders St. Louis,
Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and
prices are subject to change.