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Staging a Family Jam

Sue Lennartson

Your recipe for spreading the good news to families

By Sue Lennartson

Picture it -- a lively Fam Jam concert for families! It's a multigenerational gathering for 90 minutes of nonstop music, drama, prayer, and fun. Follow this outline to pull off your own Fam Jam.


Lead families in singing "This Is the Day," "In the Beginning," and "I Will Call Upon the Lord."

You'll need overhead transparencies of all the lyrics to the songs. Throughout the evening while families are singing, lead them in motions or these lively games.

  • Freeze! -- While the music plays, people clap their hands. When the leader says "Freeze," everyone freezes like an icicle in a Minnesota winter -- including the band.
  • Balloon Freeze -- Give everyone a balloon. Have extra balloons for ones that break. While the band plays, have everyone keep a balloon up in the air using a body part that you call out, such as elbow, knee, foot, hand, or head. On "Freeze," everyone stops and holds a balloon.
  • Feather Catch -- Give everyone a large feather. Have them each hold the feather over their head, drop the feather, and catch it with the back of their opposite hand. Decrease the volume of the band with each new instruction, such as "Catch the feather on your knee, foot, elbow, or stomach."
  • Beach Ball Popcorn -- Toss several large beach balls out into the audience. Encourage everyone to bounce the balls and keep them up in the air.


Lead families in this prayer as they repeat each line after you.

Dear God, Thank you for this day. Each day is a gift, and we thank you for this one. Thank you for our family. Thank you for our friends. Thank you for loving us. We love you, Jesus. Help us to be loving and kind. In your name we pray, Amen.


Lead families in singing "What a Mighty God We Serve," "Rise and Shine," and "God Is so Good."


Use The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister to stage a colorful production. People become the fish and all the creatures of the ocean. Use scarves, face paints, and sparkly stickers for the rainbow fish; scarves and fabric for the other fish; and large plastic garbage bags for the squid. The narrator reads the story while the characters silently act out the story. At the end of the story, give sparkly stickers to everyone in the audience.


Lead families in singing three of their favorite songs.


This story is told through characters, costumes, and fabric. You'll need costumes for eight "people" characters and as many "animal" characters as you wish; a rolled-up map; a rainstick; cymbals; an 8-foot piece of brown fabric; 1-foot squares of white and green fabric; several 8-foot pieces of blue fabric in different shades; and five separate 5-foot pieces of fabric -- each in a different rainbow color (red, orange, yellow, blue, and green).

The narrator reads the story and the costumed characters act out the directions in the parentheses.

"Our story of Noah and the great flood begins like this. There was a time after God created the world that people forgot about God."

(Noah, his wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law form a circle on stage, join hands, and bow their heads.)

"Only one man remembered God. His name was Noah."

(Noah faces the audience, smiles, and takes two steps forward. His family gathers around him and faces the audience.)

"God said, 'These people make me sad. I will start all over again.'"

(The family stretches out to form one long line and joins hands.)

"God told Noah to build a big boat called an ark. God gave Noah the directions to build the ark."

(Noah pulls out a map from his belt and opens it. His family pretends to discuss the map.)

"When Noah finished the ark, God brought animals for Noah to put on the ark. There were all kinds of animals on the ark."

(The animal characters make animal noises and join the family. The family and the animals wrap up in a large piece of brown fabric with their upper bodies showing. They face the audience.)

"Then God shut the door."

(The group holds the fabric about chest level, jumps up into the air, and lands with a loud stomp.)

"Soon rain began to fall. It rained just a little at first."

(The audience makes droplet sounds by clicking their tongues. Use a rainstick for the sound of rain.)

"Then the rain came down faster and faster. Lightning filled the sky."

(The audience members tap their feet in fast, irregular rhythms. Two people for each piece of blue fabric come to the stage. Each pair lifts its blue fabric in front of the ark. Stagger the motions of the fabric -- up and down -- for a wavy effect. Use cymbals for the sound of lightning.)

"Soon everything was covered with water. The waves carried the ark across the water. Noah, his family, and all the animals were safe and dry inside the ark."

(People continue to wave the blue fabric on the stage. Starting from the back of the audience, other people bring long pieces of blue fabric over the audience members' heads and move toward the stage. The ark waves back and forth, being tossed by the waves.)

"One day, the rain just stopped. Noah looked out a window in the ark. There was water everywhere."

(Noah's family lowers the brown fabric. Noah looks out, lifts his hand to his eyebrows, and searches for land. All fabric carriers place the blue fabric at their waist level.)

"Noah sent a dove out to look for land, but the dove came right back. There was no dry land."

(Noah waves his arms to send out the dove. Someone lifts up the white fabric square, runs out to a spot in the audience, and returns to the ark.)

"Again, Noah sent the dove out. This time it brought back an olive leaf. There was dry land somewhere."

(Noah again waves his arms to send out the dove. The person with the white fabric dove runs out to another spot, finds the green fabric square planted in the audience, picks it up, waves both pieces of fabric, and returns to the ark.)

"The next time Noah sent the dove out, it did not come back at all."

(The dove flies out again as Noah sends it, but this time the dove doesn't return.)

"The water had gone down. It was time to leave the ark."

(Noah's family drops the brown fabric. Everyone looks around in wonder.)

"Noah, his family, and all the animals came out of the ark. They were on the top of a mountain."

(Noah's family and the animals smile and stretch out their arms.)

"Noah immediately prayed and thanked God for keeping them safe."

(Noah lifts his arms in prayer. Everyone else kneels.)

"And you know what happened next? God placed a beautiful rainbow in the sky. God promised that water would never again cover the whole earth."

(Noah's family and extra helpers pick up the five pieces of rainbow fabric. They wave the fabric up and down, carry it into the audience, pass it over the people's heads, and make their way to the back of the audience.)


Have each family and their friends gather in a circle and join hands. Encourage each person to say something they're thankful to God for. Encourage people in each prayer huddle to take turns praying for needs or thanking God for blessings.


Lead people in singing "Father, I Adore You," "Jesus Loves Me," and "In My Life, Lord." Sing the last song through four times. Each time the song is sung, substitute "In my life" with one of these phrases: in my heart, in my family, and in my world.


For a high-energy closing, lead families in this song to the tune of "Jailhouse Rock." (The words in parentheses are echoes.)

Verse 1 Callin' all our families to gather in. Time to sing our praises now and smile and grin. We're gonna shake the walls and shout for joy. Come on Mom and Dad, every girl and boy!

Chorus Let's sing. (Let's sing.) Everybody, let's praise. (Everybody, let's praise.) Everybody in the family, is movin' to a Fam Jam beat!

Verse 2 Riley said to Christian, "How I love to sing!" Eric said to Ryan the very same thing. Sarah grabbed Leah and said, "Let's go!" It sure beats the TV and a video.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 3 When we're Fam Jammin' it is oh, so sweet, Sunday school songs with a good news beat. Jesus is the reason why we feel so great. We start real early and we go real late!

Repeat Chorus


Susan Lennartson is a FAM JAM musician and a congregational ministries consultant. To contact her, call (612) 429-4871.

Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are subject to change.



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