(if you were wondering what I want for Christmas, this robot alarm clock would be just fine)
In the world of Orange, Red is the color that represents families.
Red reminds us that the love of a family is one of the greatest influences in a child’s life. My understanding of the Orange strategy, coupled with the influence of my friend, Gina McClain (currently @ Faith Promise Church), has led me to believe (with all of my heart) that what happens at home matters more than what happens at church. With that in mind, one of our strategic plans for this year has been to equip and encourage parents and children to live out their faith at home alongside friends and family.
You are not alone
Our first step in trying to go Red this year was to connect families together. As Henry Zonio (blogging @ Elemental CM) pointed out to me at the Idea Camp a couple years ago, the church often freaks parents out when it tells them that passing the faith on to their kids is up to them. Parents, at one point or another in life, go through times when they feel like failures. So, if you tell them that their kid’s decision to follow Jesus is all up to them… and they already feel like they’re in-over-their-head with “regular” parenting issues… parents will often disengage and stop trying to partner with you before they even start. But, if you can show them that they’re not alone – that there are other parents going through the same struggles and trials – parents are more likely to join the team. Tearing down the wall of “I’m a failure” begins with getting parents plugged into a community of failures… or, as I like to call us, parents.
Bringing families together
At Glenkirk Church, we started a new thing this year called our 1:1 events. Well, I’ll be honest, we only call them that behind closed doors. Instead, we’ve called them Father/Son Monster Truck Rally, Mother/Son BMX Stunt Show and Father/Daughter Bowling (our Mother/Daughter event is still yet to come). What do Monster Trucks, BMX tricks, and Bowling have to do with each other? The idea is simple: we’re giving families a chance to connect around shared experiences. We’re investing in families by investing in the relationships that exist in the unique relationships that exist between parent and child. We’re investing in families by investing in experiences that are shared with others in the community who have a common thread (one of the best ice breakers for a conversation between parents can be a quick conversation about daughters or sons… we see it all the time).
Sending families home
If connecting families is step one, then giving families an easy “1st win” at home is step two.
At the end of all of our family experiences (1:1 events, Kids’ Camp Wrap-Up Parties, Family Events, etc.), we hand parents a little tool we call a Table Talk. Table Talks are designed to give families a question or two to discuss during the next meal that the family shares together. Table Talks are usually quarter sheet take home pages… one side has 4-6 discussion questions (2 for the kids to ask the parents, 2 for parents to ask the kids and 1-2 to talk about together), and the other side has our line-up of 3 “next step” events (usually: our current sermon series, a discipleship event/program, our next family event). By giving families something they can do at home that a) everyone else is doing and b) isn’t hard to do, we hope that we’re beginning to model my belief that what happens at home matters more than what happens at church.
Want to know more about our 1:1 events or other ways that our church is engaging families? Comment below!
Check in tomorrow to see what “Going Red” has looked like for our church’s Sunday morning experiences…
(warning: we recently changed everything!)