6 fantastic family night ideas that’ll help family members learn about each other and their faith!
Go, go, go! That’s all families do today. They’re frazzled from running to meetings, lessons, sporting events, school activities, church, work, parties…they long for a break just to be a family for once.
How can your church programs help families feel closer instead of fragmenting them even more? Provide events that bring families together. Get started with these intergenerational family-time ideas.
We schedule meetings for different ages all on one night of the week. Then we bring families together before the meetings start with a low-cost meal, such as spaghetti, a salad bar, or tacos. Church members serve dinner for $1 (kids pay less). We have “dinnertainment”—people act out parts in simple skits. I bring copies of instant skits and assign roles on the spot. We also provide activities for children, such as balloon-blowing contests or simple relays. We recognize people who received honors during the week, such as kids making the honor roll. Each week, families update their prayer needs and answers to prayer on our prayer chart. We have a flannel-backed bulletin board with a tree shape on it. Family members write prayer requests on Velcro-backed leaves and put them on the tree for everyone to pray for during the week.
Joan Zeldenrust, a Christian education director in Lansing, Illinois.
2. Community Building
We use family nights to build community. We make giant dominoes by cutting 3 X 4-foot cards out of tagboard, cardboard, or poster board. Then we draw a line down the middle and paint dots like dominoes, such as six dots on one side and three on the other. We make several dominoes with a blank side. Then, we spread out the dominoes on the floor.
Then we start the music and have people walk around the dominoes. When the music stops, family members each put their toe on a dot. The blank space can hold as many people as necessary. Each time we stop the music, we remove one domino but always leave a domino with a blank side on it. No one is eliminated. Family members help others get on dominoes so that everyone has a place each time the music stops.
Glenn Bannerman, president of Bannerman Family Celebration Services, Inc., in Montreat, North Carolina
3. Family Fun Night
We have a fun family night every third Friday night. It’s an easy, uncomplicated, informal time to socialize. Each family brings a pizza and liter of soft drink. Families eat together and play volleyball. Young children watch videos. Sometimes we go to someone’s pool to swim.
Judy Kile, director of education, youth, and evangelism in Kansas City, Missouri
4. Pizza Party
Our families enjoy making pizza together. We have all the supplies at the church when families arrive. They pay a small fee to cover the cost. Families make the dough, top it, and let it cook. While it’s cooking, we have a short devotional.
Keith Johnson, pastor of children’s ministry, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota
5. Talent Show
We have a family talent show once a year. Families prepare acts to do together. We also have individual family members perform. We serve light refreshments and enjoy one another’s talents.
Kathie Taylor, a Sunday school teacher in Stamford, Connecticut
6. Church Connections
We connect families to the uniqueness of our church. For example, I dressed mannequins with church vestments. I made signs for different parts of our church such as “Hi, I’m the nave. It’s like worshipping in an ark.” When families arrived, we had a short family worship. Then I gave each family a list of 40 to 50 items to find in the church. Families have 20 minutes to find the items. Afterward, I gave them a list of questions to discuss: What was something new you learned? What funny thing happened to you? What were the most meaningful things that happened to you?
Dick Hardel of the Augsburg Youth and Family Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota
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