Staging a Family Jam

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Your recipe for spreading the good news to families

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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.

JAM SESSION

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

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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.

ECHO PRAYER

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.

JAM SESSION

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

FAMILY SKIT

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.

JAM SESSION

Lead families in singing three of their favorite songs.

THE FIRST RAINBOW

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.)

PRAYER HUDDLES

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.

JAM SESSION

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.

FAM JAM ROCK

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

JAM SESSION


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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