Today, just today, I got 15 emails from different teachers and schools informing me of many important things that I needed to follow up on with my kids who are currently learning at home. This is in addition to the Remind, Class DoJo and text notifications and emails related to work and home life.
And the thing is….all of the information matters.
These are not ignorable emails. Nearly every single one include the words “important” or “imperative.” Each email must be read and gleaned for this important, imperative information and then disseminated appropriately to a calendar, a child, or another person.
It’s mentally taxing. It is also necessary if good communication is to happen.
Children’s pastors, youth ministers, and NextGen leaders across the country are facing a dilemma. How can they communicate to weary-worn parents suffering from overcommunication? How can they get parents to respond, participate, and commit to being present if their voice is drowned out by the myriad of other urgent voices? How can they do their job if the ones they are called to serve aren’t available to them?
Parents and caregivers are also faced with their own dilemma. How can they do it all? Their energy wanes and, while they don’t want to put church in the backseat, once school is done and lessons are turned in and all the new information assimilated, the mental capacity to join another Zoom, fill out another form, and serve in another place is lagging.
There is no easy answer.
Some on either side of the equation have just thrown up their hands and said, “It’s too much” and are choosing to not do anything at this time. Others have decided to keep pushing forward with tenacity but end up frustrated by a lack of reciprocation. Everyone is feeling the weariness creep in.
While the answers may not be “easy”, there are some ways to give both ministers and parents some space to breathe and to move forward together. It is going to require grace from and for each other AND it’s going to require an “all hands on deck” culture within the church.
Below are some ideas for helping the faith community come together to serve each other at this time.
- A NIGHT OFF– For many parents, the current COVID culture has them running from sunup to sundown with school to work to home life. What a blessing it would be if they knew, once or twice a month, a meal would be provided for their family and they’d have a night off to spend an evening together. Consider setting up a Meal Sharing program where older members of your church partner with a younger family to bring them a meal every once and a while.
- Wanna bump this up a notch? Create “Conversation Cards” around different discipleship topics and have the card delivered with the meal for the family to discuss as they eat.
- On the Conversation Card include a list of resources for parents in case they’d like to discuss the topic further.
- A NIGHT ON – The Zoom life has led to fatigue for both parents and kids and having to add another scheduled Zoom to the calendar can be disheartening. Consider creating a space on your webpage for families to access in their own time with videos and interactive activities that can be completed throughout the week or months.
- Kick it up a notch by creating a “scavenger hunt” where they go through different clues which lead the through the videos and activities. Use text to send the clues to the family as they complete each task.
- Create a fun prize for any family that completes the experience such as “Ice Cream On Us” for all (Use gift cards) or “Family Pizza Party” (Gift card) or “Game Night” (Board game for the family).
- A “NIGHT” IN SHINING ARMOR – Some parents are looking for nothing more than a prayer, a pat on the back and maybe a momentary distraction from the stress. Sometimes the best gift is simply to show up with a word of encouragement and a quick prayer.
- A friend recently shared that she has had her ministry team mobilized to stop by kids houses with milkshakes for the family, which is incredible. What if this was extended to the whole church for participation? What if older Sunday School classes “adopted” younger classes and took time to do these drive-by blessings?
- For older congregation members who are homebound, consider giving them the names of families from your church and having them write notes of encouragement or prayers that could be delivered to them; be sure to include a return address and card for the family to respond in like – who knows where it could lead?
If the faith community comes together to support parents and children at this time, the future of the church will be one of more connection and relationship, which is a good thing for everyone.
While it may be tempting to try to keep things as “normal” as possible at church, the reality of the current situation means it’s unlikely that things will look the same as they have in the past. This is the time to mobilize the Church to be the community it has always claimed to be.
Ready to Start, Not Sure Where?
ReFocus Ministry is pleased to present a four-part webinar series on generational discipleship and connection for churches interested in exploring intergenerational ministry both in their church and in their homes. Each session will focus on a unique aspect of gathering generations together, both the challenges and opportunities, as well as practical tips to begin implementing now during this time away from regular church gatherings. There are now TWO options for attending the webinar:
- One Day, Full Webinar – Saturday, October 10
- Four Day, Four Session Webinar – Thursdays in October, 9:30 am
Sessions can be attended individually or all four can be attended as a series.
Session 1 – ReConnect. This first session of the webinar focuses on defining generations, generation gap, and the need for generational discipleship in your church. This is the “What” behind generational discipleship.
Session 2 – ReGenerate. This session focuses on the the research, the reasons, and the heart behind connecting generations from both a secular and spiritual viewpoint. This is the “Why” behind generational discipleship.
Session 3 – ReProduce. This session offers practical tips, strategies, and ideas to being connecting generations in your faith community and in homes in meaningful, lasting, life-changing ways. This is the “How” behind generational discipleship.
Session 4 – ReLease. It’s time to go and do! This session will provide a discussion and debrief around the questions, “What? So What? Now What?” and give you an starting point for incorporating generational discipleship as a meaningful part of your faith community. This is the “Who” behind generational discipleship at your church and in your home!
Anyone registered for all four sessions will receive a FREE half-hour coaching session/follow-up specific to your ministry needs.
To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/reconnect-a-webinar-for-generational-connections-tickets-121384392987. Questions? Feel free to email me at email@example.com. Can’t wait to journey with you!
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
Check out to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page. Join our conversation at theReFocus Family and Intergen Ministry group on Facebook.
About this Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. She also serves as the Minister of Generational Discipleship with the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ.
With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, ChurchLeaders.com, and Seedbed.
One thought on “All Hands On Deck: It’s Time to Be the Church”
Christina, Thanks for this! I feel all of this. I loved the scavenger hunt idea partially because my family recently did one that was through a local radio station and it was food for the soul. It was a lot of work figuring out clues (but learning about Chicago is a hobby so it was relaxing for me) and then my family probably spent 40 hours traveling to the different locations that were the answers to the clue – we weren’t on our screens, we talked, enjoyed our city. It was refreshing. The winners were announced last night and I spent the rest of night sad, not because we didn’t win – but because I will miss what this has meant for us. Also, I should be clear sometimes Ben was on a screen but that allowed for a date like time for my husband and I – so it was also great! For that hunt, they used Eventzee app – which was easy to use and access.