By Doug Applegate, Family Ministries Director.
I hate to even say it, but I’m going to anyway … we’re living in a strange and “unprecedented” time. And I know it’s impossible to “do church” the way we used to, and a lot of people want to get back to the pre-COVID days.
So, what DOES church look like now for families?
I want to share a couple quick stories of what some Ridge families are doing that are participating in online church.
Well, my family has older kids. I have an 18- and a 21-year-old at home. Our expectation is when I don’t have to be in the building, I stay home, and we watch the second service, online, together. Everyone can get up when the want to, they just have be in the TV room by 10:30. It’s casual. We listen to the worship. We talk a little bit during the service. Usually about what’s being said. We shhh each other if someone starts to talk for too long or too loud. We share what initially hit us after the service and usually that evening I will bring up one of the NOW WHAT questions. I just say something as simple as, “Not sure if you thought about the sermon today, but let me ask this one question.” And from there, we can have a pretty decent conversation. It might last a few minutes or up to 15 to 20 minutes. Time is never the goal. We just shoot for a good conversation. Long or short. It’s all good.
Another family with smaller kids says this:
Our family has enjoyed Sunday mornings worshiping online together in the living room. Our 6- and 8-year-old girls especially like worship when we watch online services on the TV. We can sing louder and even dance around a bit before the Lord. The girls seem to worship freely, no longer overwhelmed by the size of the Worship Center.
As parents, it has taught us the importance of modeling worship. We remind the girls that we are not singing for each other, we are singing to the Lord.
Some mornings they are awake and alert enough to get their Bibles out and interact with the sermon. Other mornings we just cuddle.
We are the first teachers and models for prayer and worship our kids will see. Now more than ever is a time for us as parents to lead our children.
So, what’s happening this fall?
We are working on RIGHT NOW, this month. Ridge Kids, Preschool, Nursery, JUMP, SPARK, and Junkyard are trying to figure it out. We want to be able to provide something for families, kids, teens, and parents. But we haven’t landed on exactly what that will look like. We are praying and hoping to have a plan in place that we can implement around Labor Day. That is our GOAL, it is NOT A GUARANTEE.
A question a lot of us staff are centering on is how do we ENCOURAGE and SUPPORT our kids, teens, and parents?
One thing I can ALMOST guarantee: Family ministries are going to look different. But they will be AWESOME!