This resource is part of a series of interactive, intergenerational ideas for engaging people in faith practices through worship and/or midweek gatherings, brought to you by Worship Ministries and Faith Formation Ministries as part of the Faith Practices Project.
Through the faith practice of celebrating we delight in circumstances, relationships, and occasions that help us remember and anticipate God's abundant goodness, creativity, faithfulness, beauty, and love.
Below you’ll find a variety of intergenerational ideas on this faith practice. Choose from and then use the ideas to shape a summer series, plan a midweek gathering, weave into an all-ages small group study or house church gathering, and more.
There are so many ideas here that you probably won’t need them all. To help make choosing easier, we’ve organized them into three categories:
- Gather activities provide an introduction to the practice through reflection and connection.
- Grow experiences offer an opportunity to explore the practice in community in a way that can be repeated at home.
- Go resources encourage and equip participants to live out the practice.
For a list of other scripture passages and songs you might also include during your gathering, see Build-Your-Own Worship Service (or Series) on Celebrating.
Experience the joy of blowing bubbles outdoors together. No time or space to blow bubbles outside? Follow or begin your experience with a reading of Psalm 100 or Psalm 136.
Create a celebratory mood by inviting all ages to decorate your space together. If people are seated around tables, you could provide each table with a box of different decorations they can use to personalize their space. Include bead or flower necklaces and noisemakers. Serve a special snack as part of your gathering. Play music as people gather and grow together.
Get inspired. In her blog post on OneLifeLeaders.com, Liz Bewley gives a quick tour of how Friday family dinners provide time for celebration and family faith formation. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the video.) After viewing the video together, share with each other what you’re celebrating this week.
Celebration jars. Provide each small group with a clear jar, markers, and colored paper strips on which to print their responses to questions like these: What was wonderful about today (or this week)? What have you seen, smelled, tasted, touched, or heard recently that filled you with joy? Where have you experienced God’s goodness? Fold the completed strips and add them to the jar. Take turns withdrawing and reading a paper strip from the jar. Rejoice together!
Walk for joy. During a 15-minute walk in pairs, trios, or individually, pay attention (and take pictures when possible) each time you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch something that brings a sense of joy and invites celebration of God at work. Create a “Yay, God!” list together when you return. End with a song of celebration. Or a dance party!
Create a celebration wall. Read the picture book Thank You, God by J. Bradley Wigger. On large sheets of paper, print out and hang each of the following headings (inspired by the book) on the walls in your space.
- Thank you, God, for family and friends who . . .
- Thank you, God, for home . . .
- Thank you, God, for food . . .
- Thank you, God, for words, stories, songs, and love . . .
- Thank you, God, for everything outside . . .
- Thank you, God, for all that breathes . . .
Provide all ages with colorful sticky notes on which to print or draw something they’re celebrating with thanksgiving in each category and attach it to the wall. Read the responses out loud, followed by a joyful noise of celebration.
Make and use ‘chatterboxes’ as a fun way to share celebration stories and rejoice together. For a pattern and inspiration, check out these chatterbox instructions from Flame Creative Kids and this video tutorial and snack-container idea from origamispirit.com.
Include questions like these:
- What’s your favorite way to celebrate?
- Name a gift from God.
- What does God give you every day?
- What fills you with joy?
- Show with your body how you celebrate.
- What’s your favorite celebration food?
- Shout a celebration word.
- What or who are you thankful for today?
Send people home with faith practice resources they can use to continue the practices they’ve experienced during your time together. Some ideas:
- A celebration jar filled with blank paper strips to complete over time at home
- A container of bubbles
- Chatterboxes with celebration questions
- A playlist of the songs you used during your time together and an invitation to add more songs to the list as you practice celebration at home
- 5 Ways to Celebrate with Your Family—a free, printable resource for households with children
- Faith Practices: Holy Habits That Help Us Love God and Our Neighbor, Listen to the Spirit, and Become More Like Jesus—one booklet per person or household