Try This Fresh Idea for Helping Families Explore Faith Practices this Summer

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After 18 months of mask wearing, homeschooling, work Zooming, hug missing and hand washing, the availability of vaccines has provided North American families with the opportunity to catch their breath before (yay!) life moves forward in the fall.  

What if, this summer, instead of providing a variety of things for a family with children to do, we provided them with simple faith practices to help them be; encouraging and equipping them to explore each practice at their own pace? 

Below you’ll find a simple idea your church can use to help families experience rest while exploring the faith practices of prayer, wonder, and celebration. 

I’ve packaged mine in that so-familiar symbol of summer: the jam jar. Another idea would be to tuck the tools inside a small terracotta pot. And, of course, you don’t have to include all of the practices and tools in your set that I’ve included in mine. Tailor this idea to fit your context. You know your families best! 

Place some or all of the following inside your container of choice:  

  • Prayer Sticks. Print one of each of the following prayer prompts on jumbo sized wooden craft sticks (or use sticky labels if you have a lot of families):

    • God, you are…

    • I’m sorry for…

    • Thank you for…

    • Please…

  • A Wonder Stone. Paint or print “I wonder” on to a palm sized stone.* 

  • Celebration Fun. String some jingle bells onto a ribbon and knot the ends. A festive decoration such as a paper streamer or colorful banner is also fun to include. 

  • Devotional. I love the pocket-sized Everyday Family Faith because, in addition to providing families with a refreshing sampling of several faith practices, it’s fun to use and theologically terrific. Another option might be to provide your families with a new storybook Bible.

  • 5 Ways Tools. Tuck in a printed copy of each of the following free downloadable resources: 5 Ways to Pray with Kids5 Ways to Celebrate with Your Family, and 5 Ways to Wonder with Kids. Each of these family-friendly, colorful pages describes the faith practice and then provides do-able ways to weave it into family life. 

  • An Invitation. Add a warm letter inviting families to experiment with the resources you’re providing in whatever way works for them. Here’s mine: 

Dear Family,  

After 18 months of mask wearing, home schooling, work Zooming, hug missing, and hand washing, we hope this summer provides you with an opportunity to catch your breath before (yay!) life moves forward in the fall.  

We hope the fun tools we’ve tucked into this container will help you experience sabbath rest and also grow in faith together as you pray, wonder, and celebrate God’s goodness. You might find it helpful to place it on your kitchen table throughout the summer months! 

Prayer Sticks. Take turns choosing a stick and completing the sentence out loud as you talk to God together. 

Wondering Rock. After reading a Bible story together, take turns holding the rock and sharing what you wonder about the story. 

Celebration Bells. Hang the bells in a place where someone can ring it whenever there’s something to celebrate or to thank God for. Use the provided decorations to create a celebration space whenever and wherever you please. 

Devotional Resource. Use this simple devotional resource to draw closer to God anytime and anywhere this summer. Pack it with your picnic; bring it on a walk; take it to the park; and more.  

5 Ways. As you read these tools you’ll learn more about each faith practice and the simple ways you can weave them into your life. 

Let us know how it goes! 

With love, 

God’s Big Family, your church

I hope these ideas are helpful as you plan ways to support family faith formation at home during this season. For more summer ideas for families, check out my previous posts here and here. For more fabulous resources related to faith practices, visit the Faith Practices Project, where you’ll find explorations of 12 practices, each of which include ideas for families.

  

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