Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Additional Resources: Bread and Wine Event

For the past few weeks, I have been sharing tips for planning family events on the Means of Grace. For the next few weeks, I'd like to share some additional resources for those events. Today's post goes along with the post Bread and Wine Means of Grace Event.

One of the suggested games and activities for the Bread and Wine family event was bread and wine trivia. I have compiled a series of trivia questions you could use for this activity. Feel free to borrow the whole thing, take select questions, rewrite the rules, or use it however you feel is best.


Pastor Jonathan Fisk of Worldview Everlasting is also an excellent resource for teaching on the Means of Grace (as well as other points of doctrine). This video on the Lord's Supper would be a good opener or conclusion for the lesson, it could be used to set up for the event, or it could open or close the event for you. Other videos and resources can be found on WorldviewEverlasting.com or on the Worldview Everlasting YouTube channel.


I hope these resources help make your event successful, fun, and filled with learning! As always, I would love to hear how it turned out. Contact me here or on the Families of Faith Facebook page. God's blessings!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Words! Means of Grace Event

Adaptable for the whole family, this event is part 3 of my Means of Grace planning series! The final topic: Words!


Objective: To teach the concept that the words of Holy Scripture are a means of grace through an intergenerational event themed around words

Advertising: Use the same tips as in event 1, Just Water? Promotion for this event could say, "When are words more than just words? Why do we believe words are a way God offers His grace to us? What's with that big Book of His, anyway? Join us to find out these answers and more!"

Games and Activities: As with the other two events, any games or activities based around the theme will do. These are some of my favorites. Choose activities based on your congregational demographics.

  • Scrabble/Bananagrams competition
  • Bible verse scramble relay
  • Guess the Book: Lay out 5 cards with Bible book names. Read a verse from one of the five books, and allow participants to guess which book the verse comes from. Award points for correct answers. Add or subtract cards based on desired difficulty level.
  • Bible trivia
  • Word Link (find instructions here)
  • Charades

Lesson planning tips:

  • As always, remember the attention span and cognitive ability of your group. You don't want to be too juvenile for your older listeners, but you don't want to talk over the heads of the youngest listeners, either.
  • As with the previous two events, it should be led by a theologically trained teacher such as the pastor or a commissioned staff member.
  • Potential source texts include:
    • 2 Timothy 3:14-17
    • Romans 10:14-17
    • Matthew 4:1-11

Small group discussion:

  • Separate by demographics such as
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Family
    • Random assignment
  • Assign a mature, trained leader to each group. Consider having a small group leader training session prior to this event to ensure leaders are prepared for questions that may arise.
  • Provide each group with a list of questions based on the lesson. Possible questions include:
    • Who wrote the Bible?
    • What does it mean that the words of the Bible are a "means of grace"?
    • What does it mean that we find Law and Gospel in the Bible?
    • What is the Bible good for?

Keep in mind:
  • Small children may not be as engaged in this topic as with the previous ones, particularly if they are not able to read. Consider having a nursery/childcare option for families with small children, or use games that will be more effective for younger, non-literate participants (such as charades and Pictionary).
Sample schedule 1:
2:00 Welcome. Detail schedule, process, and any rules or announcements. Pray.
2:10 Charades
2:45 Bible trivia
3:15 Lesson
3:30 Small group discussion
4:00 Close

Sample schedule 2:
2:00 Welcome. Detail schedule, process, and any rules or announcements. Pray.
2:10 Word Link
2:30 Bible scramble relay
2:45 Bananagrams tournament
3:15 Lesson
3:30 Small group discussion
4:00 Close

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bread and Wine Means of Grace Event

Part two of my Means of Grace event planning series! This one covers Holy Communion in a fun and educational event for children to adults.

Photo credit: All-free-download.com
Objective: To teach the meaning of the Sacrament of Holy Communion through an intergenerational event themed around bread and wine

Advertising: Use the same tips as with the Just Water? event. An advertisement for this event could say, "Wine in church? Eating a body and drinking blood? Are we cannibals? Find out the answers to these questions and more at our family fun learning event on Communion!"

Games and activities: As with the Baptism event, any games around the theme will do. The following are some of my favorite ideas.
  • Tour the sacristy with speakers such as the pastor, elders, and members of Ladies Aid explaining their part in preparing the Sacrament
  • Have a bread-making event. Donate the bread to a local food pantry, sell it for fundraising, or let participants take it home. Consider recipes such as matzah bread or no-yeast bread
  • Bread and wine trivia
  • Grape stomping (bonus points if you preface it with an I Love Lucy clip!)
  • Grape toss (like a water balloon toss, but with grapes)
Lesson planning tips:

  • Remember the attention span and cognitive ability of your youngest listeners.
  • As with the previous event, it should be led by a theologically trained teacher such as the pastor or a commissioned staff member.
  • Potential source texts include:
    • 1 Corinthians 11:23-29
    • John 6:35, 53-58
    • Luke 22:14-20
  • Luther's Small Catechism is a great source to guide your lesson plan.

Small group discussion:

  • Separate by demographics such as
    • Family
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Random assignment
  • Assign a mature, trained leader to each small group. You may wish to have a training event ahead of time for all of the small group leaders to ensure they are prepared to answer any questions their group may have.
  • Provide each group with a list of discussion questions based on the lesson. These may include:
    • What has to be used for Communion?
    • Who can give Communion?
    • Who should take Communion?
    • Is Communion a symbol? Why or why not?

Keep in mind:
  • If you choose to do the bread-making event, remember that yeast-based recipes will take much longer than yeast-free recipes.
  • Allergies and physical or behavioral sensitivities should be thought of when preparing. (For example, how will you prepare for attendees with gluten intolerance or recovering alcoholics?)
Sample schedule 1:
2:00 Welcome. Detail schedule, process, and any rules or announcements. Pray.
2:10 Tour the sacristy
2:30 Bread-making
3:00 Lesson (while bread is cooking)
3:15 Small group discussion (while bread is cooking)
3:45 Enjoy fresh bread and fellowship
4:00 Close

Sample schedule 2:
2:00 Welcome. Detail schedule, process, and any rules or announcements. Pray.
2:10 Bread and wine trivia
2:30 Grape toss
2:45 Lesson
3:00 Small group discussion
3:15 Tour the sacristy
3:30 Refreshments

As always, please leave feedback and suggestions if you use any of these events!
Click here to find part one, "Just Water? Means of Grace Event"

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Just Water? Means of Grace Event

My regular readers may have noticed that my posts for the past few months have been more serious and less program-oriented than this blog began. I'd like to go back to sharing some programming tips and options for church workers, but rather than sharing ideas for demographic-specific programs, these programs will be more in line with my constantly developing philosophy for family life ministry.

With this in mind, today I begin a new three-part series on how to cover the Means of Grace through family events. Topic one: Baptism!


Photo credit: All-free-download.com
Objective: To teach the meaning of the sacrament of baptism through an intergenerational event themed around water

Advertising: Get the news out in whatever way works best for your congregation and community--and in as many ways as possible! Have a bulletin insert, put up flyers in the church and community, announce it during your worship service announcement times, and make sure your advertising begins several weeks in advance! Highlight the games and learning opportunities that will be provided. An advertisement could say, "Is baptism Just Water? What's the deal with it? Join us for a family fun and learning event filled with water games, a lesson, and small group discussion on baptism!"

Games and activities: Any water-based games and activities will do. You can host your event on congregational property, go to a public park, or rent a facility. Below are some options based on event size and finances, but feel free to mix and match based on your demographics and budget.
  • High budget/large group ($1000+ or 100+ attendees)
    • Rent out a pool, beach, or water park for a few hours/a day
    • Rent a dunk tank, inflatable water slide, and/or inflatable slip n' slide (prices may vary by location)
  • Medium budget/medium group ($500-999 or 50-99 attendees)
    • Sprinklers
    • Slip n' slide
    • Backyard pool party (only an option if someone in the congregation has a backyard pool they are willing to open for the event)
  • Low budget/small group (Less than $500, less than 50 attendees)
    • Water balloon toss
    • Leaking bucket relay (video example here)
    • Water limbo (instead of a bar, use a hose!)
Lesson planning tips:
  • Should be led by a respected and theologically-trained member of the congregation--ideally an ordained or commissioned staff member (Ex. Pastor, Director of Christian Education, Director of Family Life Ministries, commissioned teachers, etc.)
  • Should be understandable for your youngest listeners but not so juvenile as to lose the interest of teens and adults. To this end,
    • Use concrete examples whenever possible
    • Consider incorporating humor
  • Should not exceed fifteen minutes in length (young children will probably lose focus after the first five minutes)
  • Some Scripture options include:
    • 1 Peter 3:21
    • Mark 16:16
    • Romans 6:1-10
    • John 3:1-5
  • Luther's Small Catechism is a great guide for directing your lesson plan
Small group discussion:
  • Choose the demographics you would like your small groups to be. You can separate the groups by
    • Families
    • Ages
    • Gender
    • Random assignment
  • Assign each group a leader. These leaders should have training on the issue, be old enough to teach (I recommend 18+, at least), and be comfortable leading a group of potentially varied ages.
  • Provide each group leader with discussion questions based on the lesson.
  • Sample questions:
    • Is baptism a symbol? Why or why not?
    • What has to be used for a baptism?
    • Who can do a baptism?
    • Who should be baptized?
Keep in mind:
  • Be aware of attire regulations and ensure that these regulations are shared with attendees BEFORE the event. (You may also choose to provide swimsuit covers or t-shirts for attendees that come unprepared for the regulations.)
  • Consequences for inappropriate behavior should be determined ahead of time and shared at the beginning of the event.
  • Providing water and a shaded cool-down area will help prevent attendees from dehydrating and overheating.
  • Be aware of your church's insurance requirements, as well as the requirements of any outside facilities you may be using.
Sample schedule 1:
1:00 Opening, welcome, and prayer. Detail schedule, rules, and consequences. Separate into teams if desired.
1:10 Water balloon toss
1:30 Activity 2
1:45 Activity 3
2:00 Lesson
2:15 Small group discussion
2:30 Open activity time
3:00 Close

Sample schedule 2:
1:00 Opening, welcome, and prayer. Detail schedule, rules, and consequences.
1:10 Open activity time
2:30 Lesson
2:45 Small group discussion
3:00 Close

If you use the tips here, have other ideas, or want further clarification and assistance planning, let me know! I'd love to hear how your event went and what advice you'd give to others incorporating the same sort of program.

Next week will cover a similar event discussing Communion!