Notes from #OC17 Main Stage 6 and 7: Dr. Bernice King, Jud Wilhite, Lecrea, Doug Fields


Build a Bridge

Tasha Morrison

This journey has taken me to places that are meeting in places constantly different than ourselves.

12k people community on social media engaging in conversation daily.

God is doing work in our churches but this work first begins in our hearts.

Dr, Bernice King

This issue of racial reconciliation is something the church holds the keys to.

We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. If we are going to overcome this dark time, we have to be out front in showing the way in the right spirit. God gave us a command to love our enemies. We have to raise the standard and show people how to be like Christ. We are called to be christ in the culture. We must first get our heart in order.

Get out of your churches and get out of your communities. Take the courageous steps that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ took when He met with the woman at the well.

The white community does not know us. Only through the eyes of tv and media and that is not us. Get to know us. Leave the community and connect with someone that does not look like you. Hang out in their world. Men hate each other because they fear each other

“I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Your goal is to win over people not win people over. Listen to understand. Refuse to have to be right. Start from maybe I’m wrong or maybe I’m ignorant. Or maybe I just need a little more information. Part of healing is allowing people to get stuff out.

We will never all agree. At the end of the day, we can find win/win solutions. Is there some place where we can find something to agree and forge a common path together?

If reconciliation is the goal then our tactics have to be consistent with that goal.

White people don’t feel like they are invited to the part and black people don’t feel like white people want to come. TD Jakes

We forget that this country lost a leader, but you lost your dad as a 5-year-old.

What killed my father was not hate, it was indifference and apathy and absence of the people of God and the Spirit of God.



Keep Forgiving – Jud Wilhite

Forgiveness: It’s easier to talk about than to actually practice.

Punching the wall. This became a defining moment. Embarrassed that he lost control. Is this the person I’m becoming. Is this who I”m going to be. I need to do some soul work. In a lot of years of ministry, he began to carry wounds. Harbor bitterness is people leaving the church, staff quitting, friends going to another church who say not to take it personally. How else should I take it, because I”m putting all I’ve got in this.

If you start holding onto a grudge long enough, it begins to take a hold of you. A seed of bitterness that get’s planted and begins to grow.

You don’t have to be in ministry long to have an opportunity to hold onto bitterness.

How you deal with your ministry pass actually determines how successful you will be in your ministry future.

Eph 4:26-27 Anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Bitterness, hurt, and anger. Starts with a foothold and becomes a stronghold.

The devil wants to get a foothold in your church. Let God transform the pain and the hurt of you begin to transfer that pain and hurt. Your heart beings to shut down towards others. You start to secretly enjoy it when other churches go through drama or difficulty. You engage in gossip and enjoy it because your heart is getting hard. It’s not that you are running hard in ministry, it’s that you are caring a weight that you don’t need to carry.

You’ve got to stand in your second chance.

Mix Tapes – Get a jam-box with two cassettes. Master side and record side. We all have our mixtapes. We have the majority of the thoughts we had today are the same as the day before. What kind of mixtape are you playing? The old you is gone the new you has come in Christ. New creation in Him. In Christ you are free.

You are somebody because Jesus died for you. You do not need more followers, more accomplishments, your life all together, all you have to do is claim the fact that you have a second chance in Jesus Christ. Some of you have been followers of Jesus for a while but you are still living in condemnation. How do you know? Your thoughts. You are still praying for forgiveness about the same thing you’ve been praying for 1000 times. Reach down and undo the chains. Jud carries a 28-year sobriety coin because it reminds me of not who I was but about who I am today. Forgiven. Renewed. Reminds me that no matter how much someone has hurt me in my life, I have infinitely offended God more yet He forgives me. It doesn’t matter what happens today because I’m still doing better than I deserve.

Instead of being about the mission, we get distracted on our own hurt and pain and become selfish about it.

You’ve got to give a second chance.

Players gonna play, hatters gonna hate. What’s my response? I’ve got to shake that off.

When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

Write down all the names of those who have hurt you over the years. Not offend but hurt. Just under 10 names. Realized it was not that many. We often get hurt by a few people and project it onto everyone else. Most people have been pretty good to us and have shown kindness to us. Few have damaged our hearts. Projecting onto everyone what a few have done. More forward towards healing. Not the pace that you are running at but the weight you are carrying. What are you carrying? What do you need to forgive? Because the work you do is too important.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

You don’t give up when things get hard or you don’t go your way.

I lead a church and don’t agree with everything we do. Get over it and get on mission.

Don’t get discouraged because it’s hard or you don’t feel talented enough. Don’t give up when you can’t see the dream any more. Don’t give up when you see that your friends are happier than you, especially on social media, because they are not. Christ has redeemed you. You have a calling and it matters. In Christ you are not a victim, you are a victor. More than a conquerer, not what happened to you but what Christ is doing through you in faith. Not just your familiars you are forgiven and free. Step into it, walk in. Be free and be empowered to make an eternal difference. Don’t let bitterness way you down and cause you to give up, what you are doing is too important.



Redefine our audience – Lecrea

We want to get to know your perspective. Sam Colier

Voice in the community, advocate for change. Through music and writings.

More than anything I’m trying to be the best Lecrae that I can be.

If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.

You are created by the creator of all humanity and His acceptance is all you need. You need to be comfortable in your own skin. This is me, and that’s who I need to consistently be.

Rejection from Christians has lead Lecrae down this path

No one deserves the amount of praise celebrities gets.

As somebody who grew up the way I grew up…I longed for acceptance. I longed for a sense I was on the right trajectory.

Jesus wasn’t a conservative or a liberal, they both hated and killed him. Success is not what I do in comparison to you, success is what I do in comparison to what I was created to do. I had to come to grips with the fact that running my race was going to be painful.

The gates of Hell will not prevail. Gates were made to keep people out. We are supposed to be out there loving people and being gracious to other people. Jesus got in trouble with the crowd He hung out with. We need to make people who are not in the church a priority.

A man telling the story about how he killed a bear. It became about him telling the story and not about him actually killing bears.

What ends up happening is that people realize that you’re a real person, when you spend time with them. When we are salt in our neighborhoods, people can taste it. Our identity is wrapped up in being right instead of thinking about Who’s righteous for us.

@lecrae #OC17


Do more than just talk about it – Doug Fields

Does what I’m doing matter? Have you put your heart into what you are doing and then wonder, did it make any difference?

When we are “for the neighbors”…we do more than just talk about it.

“Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:31

Jesus was super clear, He said love your neighbors. Message and method. Do as I have done.

John 13:34

If Jesus did it, then we should do it. If we don’t do it, the ones who follow Jesus won’t do it. What gives you credibility as a leader isn’t what you say, it’s what you do. If you love teaching, fabulous but no one remembers what you are teaching anyway. What you want them to remember is the way you communicated to them but they never do. What they say is, “I remember that time, we were at Denny’s and I spilt ice tea on you.” Or I remember that time my aunt was dying and you came to the hospital.

Jesus was not in a hurry.  

Jesus actually seemed to frustrate others at the pace he lived his other.

Jesus in the synagog with the official.  Mark 5

Jesus will you heal my child and Jesus says yes. Jesus stops them on the way to the house and says, “Who touched me?”  That’s a weird question to ask in a crowd. If I were the the dad, I’d be like why did we stop?  Come on we got to go, you got to heal my child.”  Peter was like “I would never touch you.”

Mark 5:32

His sense of purpose and timing frustrated otter people because he wasn’t in hurry.

Lazarus. Jesus wouldn’t have done a good job on your church’s pastoral staff.

Jesus also called other people to slow down. Martha.

Ministry is a race and speed is our drug of choice. We want to grow the biggest yet this was not Jesus’ style. Less run and more walk. Less race and more face to face. Jesus modeled unhurried ways for us. He had a lot to do.

Being neighborly takes time.

Slow Yourself Down. Not a lazy life. Not that you don’t work hard. Just less speed and more Jesus. Less activity and more love.

The greatest command is not to get more things done. It’s to love Him and to love others.

We need to stop honoring business. It is a badge of brokenness. Busy people are broken somewhere. There is a symptom not being dealt with. Business moves into our character. We don’t listen well. We don’t relax. Even at the grocery store we are running Grocery store algorithms and competing in our minds because hurry is a part of our life.

Busy is the enemy of neighborly.

Jesus spent time with messy people.

People in the church are weird.

Jesus spent time with the immoral woman. Luke 7:39
Jesus spent time with people of questionable character. Matthew 9:10

Jesus spent time with notorious sinners. Luke 19:6-7

Chubby bunny became choking your buddy.

Jesus was neighborly with messy people. Get some messy friends. Are you doing life with anyone that has church people questioning you because church people are scared of messy people. Messy people are not the enemies. When you hang out with them you begin to understand grace a little deeper. Do for one what you wish you can do for everyone. You might not be able to have 12 messy friends but you can have one, without motive.

Jesus expected God’s power to show up.

We have become so robotic and skilled in what we do that we don’t depend on God’s power. We just get so used to doing ministry, so busy and overwhelmed, that we stop expecting God’s power to show up. So we are limited to our own power. Guilty of shallow and small pre-service prayers. Don’t you want some things in your ministry that you just can’t explain outside of God’s power. That’s what Jesus did, He expected God to show up. Jesus turning water into wine.

John 9 when Jesus heals the blind guy. He spits. To make a mud pie, you need a lot of spit. He puts it on the guys’ eyes and says, go and wash…which is a nice thing to say after you spit on someone. He said go and wash and the guy came back seeing. Somewhere after the “Go” God’s power showed up. What’s this mean for you? GO with confidence and expectations that God’s power is going to show up! This free’s you up. You don’t have to quantify the results. Do in faith and God is pleased. The challenge is to lead like Jesus led. There’s just too much at stake to go back the same you were when you came. As for me, I’ll go back and be neighborly.

@DougFields #OC17


Who You Are Matters! 3 Ways To Develop Your Character

If you were promoted based on your character, how far would you go? Or to put it another way, if someone were to look at your heart, what would they walk away thinking about your character?

If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of me. – Dwight L. Moody

But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve. – Jeremiah 17:10

Our character matters to God and he knows who we really are. One of the keys to living a fulfilled life, and a life that with a solid reputation, is developing your character. Here are three easy to read but hard to apply steps for developing your character.


Change your thinking – Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Evaluate not just your thoughts but why you are thinking those thoughts. Identify faulty thinking and then align your thinking up with God’s word. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says to take every thought captive to obey Christ. And Philippians 4:8 says to, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Where does your thinking need to change?

Check your motives – Why are you sharing that post to social media? Why did you bring up that story in your recent conversation? Who are you trying to impress? Jesus warns us in Matthew 6:1when He says, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.” Check your motives, not just in your relationships but in all of your work. Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Ask yourself why you are doing the things you do. Make adjustments to give God the glory and remove yourself from the pedestal that rightfully belongs to God.

Reinforce your integrity – Your character takes years to develop but a moment of weakness can lead you astray. What guardrails have you put up in your life to stay on the right path? Where are you weak and what have you done to strengthen and protect these areas? Proverbs 10:9 shows us that it’s just a matter of time before weak integrity is revealed when it says, “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.” If you want to strengthen your integrity you must spend time focusing on God’s Word. Psalm 1:1-2 says:

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.

Where are you susceptible to fail and what are you doing to protect your character?

John Wooden said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” Who you really are matters to God, your family, and your community. Do something today to change your thinking, check your motives, and reinforce your integrity.

4 Stories of Messy Leadership (And Why You Need It)


There was a time in your life when someone gave you the opportunity to try what you are currently doing. Maybe they saw a glimmer of hope or maybe you just asked to help, but someone opened the door to messy leadership and allowed you the opportunity to fail. In Tweetable Leadership, Jim Wideman writes, “Most people forget they haven’t always been able to do what they are able to do now. Someone let you sorry all over a group of people and get better. You need to return the favor and believe in others.”

In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” And in the very next verse, Jesus sent out the twelve disciples to begin doing ministry. These disciples might not have appeared fully ready to lead but Jesus uses broken people to fulfill His mission. When you embrace messy leadership, you are giving broken people a chance to answer God’s call on their life. We must give our volunteers the same chance we were given even if, in our eyes, they might not appear ready.

Embrace The Rookie

When the rookie walks up to you and asks how he can begin serving on your team, embrace his eager heart. He might be learning the stories for the first time as he prepares each week, which means he will have fresh insight. He might be nervous to pray for the first time in front of the group, which will remind you how many in the room might be feeling the same fear. And even though the rookie might start out as a door greeter, maybe one day down the road he will be leading this ministry. When a new volunteer begins serving on your team they can help open your eyes to how a visitor experiences church for the first time. Solicit feedback and give the rookie opportunities to shed a fresh perspective on your ministry.

Encourage The Nervous

Most people list public speaking as their number one fear. When someone builds up the courage to take the stage, find ways to praise all the things they did right. Eventually, the nervous worship leader will loosen up and their gifting will shine through. The nervous teacher who becomes too deep and begins saying words like “millennial dispensationalism” may eventually relax and teach so that kindergarteners actually understand. The first time these fears take over don’t criticize or belittle your nervous leader, instead, point out what they did well and give them a few tips on how to improve. Soon, you will have a team of leaders, all functioning within their own gifting, which will allow you to do the things only you can do.

Equip The Busy

Maybe you have a CEO on your team who can only give two hours a week or maybe it’s a teenager who is trying to balance school, sports, and a part time job. When you are trying to equip the busy, things might get messy because your CEO might not lead the way you had in mind and the high schooler might bring a little too much chaos to the small group. Just because people are busy doesn’t mean you don’t have a place for them to use their gifts to build the kingdom. When you equip the busy teammates, you find ways to fit ministry into their schedules. You might need to tweak expectations or communicate in a different mode but when your busy volunteers are equipped they can bring a high level of professionalism or maybe a needed shot of energy into your ministry.

Empower The Unique

When an overzealous rockstar is looking for a place to serve, it might get messy, but you should bring him on your team. This rockstar might be too much for the adult worship service but he might be just what you are looking for with the kids. The class clown might be a distraction in Sunday school but when you put him in a costume and give him a purpose, he might just become the perfect host. And the tech genius who works behind the scenes to make sure things are running smoothly might not ever teach a lesson on the stage, but if you empower him to lead your sound booth you might help him find a great fit for his gifting. When you look at their gifting and give the unique a chance to lead, you can make the church actually look like the full body of Christ.

Jesus is in the business of using messy people to accomplish His great work. Let’s do our part of embracing, encouraging, equipping, and empowering the church to reach the next generation.

(Originally shared on the D6 Blog at

45 Awesome Drop of the Hat Activities from I Love Kidmin

You finished teaching, but there are still 10 minutes before parents pick up their kids! What do you do?

Recently on a webinar with Ryan Frank, we talked about how sometimes we need to stretch the clock. Ryan shared practical time-fillers and activities to do at the drop of a a hat and then challenged the kidmin community to share some of their own ideas on the I Love Kidmin group. Here are 45 awesome drop of the hat activities that you can easily add to your kidmin tool-belt.

A photo by Ben White.

Random Fun

Beanboozled. Russian Roulette with candy. Maybe you will enjoy a peach flavored jelly bean or maybe it will taste like barf. Yum.

Cap It. Water bottle flipping game but with objectives and boundaries!

Heads or tails. A coin flipping game where kids guess by putting their hands on the head or tail. Guess right and stay in, guess wrong and you’re out!

Head, shoulders, knees, cup! Follow the instructions and be the first person to grab the cup.

Minute to win it! Sixty seconds to complete takes using random items from around the house. Here are 30 examples.

Giant cup stack. Play the cup stack game but consider giant cups or buckets. Fastest stacker wins.

Mannequin challenge. Have the children freeze in place while you play a worship songs and capture the video.

Teaching or Review

True/false chair: Think musical chairs but with true and false questions!

Books of the Bible team challenge. Books are listed on craft sticks in baggies. one for OT one for NT. Challenge each team to put one set in order the fastest.

Globe beach balls. Pass the ball around and wherever your thumb lands, pray for them.

Tic tac toe review. Dividing class into 2 teams. Ask questions, team 1 tries to answer. If they are correct, they get the x, if wrong, the question goes to team 2. First team to get 3 in row wins.

Family feud. Play with whatever you were talking about in large group.

Review game or Bible trivia. Get bean bags that you toss and the kids race to pick up the bag and bring it back to you in order to answer the question.

Share missionary stories. Update the kids on what the church is doing oversees.

Bible drill

Get Them Moving

Freeze dance. Play music while the kids dance and when the music pauses all the kids must freeze in place. If they take too long then they have to do 10 jumping jacks.

Chicken in the hen house. Partners will make shapes using their body. Last to complete are out!

Impossible shot. Create a very challenging challenge for students to take turns trying.

Ship Shore. Very similar to simon says but directionally focused.

Musical chairs

Four corners. Use a mega dice or colors to switch things up!

Simon says / Jesus says. Follow the directions and the more the leader laughs the for fun this game will be for the kids.

Red light/green light or wax museum. Don’t let the game leader see you moving! 

Crows & cranes. The leader calls out either “Crows” or “Cranes.” This let’s you know if you are the tagger or the person being tagged.

Indoor snowball fight. Either buy fake snowballs or wrinkle up paper and throw them at each other. Consider adding a twist like capture the flag or protect the president.

Hip hop to it! Have all the kids hop on one leg while playing Christian hip-hop if they stop they are out, if they switch feet they are out. Winner is last one hopping.

Get Them Quiet

Silent ball. Leader counts down, “3, 2, 1, silent” and passes the ball to another person in the play area. Drop the ball, make a bad pass, or make a sound and you’re out.

Guess the time – Choose a time like 60 seconds and everyone tries to guess how long that is. Start the timer and kids hope up when they think 60 seconds is over. Time doesn’t stop till last kid stands. Note time when first kid stands just to react

Sleeping lions. The room of kids go to sleep and the lions try to get them to wake up by telling jokes or being silly. Anyone who wakes up becomes the lion.

Doggie, doggie, who stole your bone. Similar to heads up seven up but with an object that the kids go get.

The Quiet Game. Teams have to sit absolutely still and quiet for a timed period. Anywhere from a minute to five minutes.

Community Building


Throw and Tell Balls

Team building activities

Who Am I? 

Sit down if…


Easy Classroom



Parachute games

I spy

Rock, paper, scissors and creative variations. Egg, chicken, eagle.

Relay Games

Feather blowing competition: kids try to blow one another’s feathers off a table using a straw

Juggling contest

Keep the balloon up

Consider using lesson review words or phrases in these games.

What would you add to this list?
Comment below AND post to the original Facebook post by clicking HERE.

How Can You Leverage Technology With Your Child?

Are you amazed when a young child knows how to use your smartphone better than you? Have you ever asked a teenager to fix a computer problem? Kids and students growing up today are referred to as digital natives. A digital native is defined as a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and therefore familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age. For this next generation they have never needed directions to get somewhere, just an address, and if you asked them to grab a tablet they would never go to the medicine cabinet. Technology is being integrated into every facet of their lives. So how do parents leverage technology to build relationships with their kids? With the help of the reThink Group, I want to share with you how to leverage technology through the different phases of childhood.

In the preschool phase, we embrace their physical needs. When it comes to technology we need to enjoy the advantages of technology so they will experience boundaries and have a positive experience. Begin setting screen time limits and establish screen-free times and screen-free zones in your house. Say things like, “Playing on mommy and daddy’s phone can be fun, but you always need to ask us first.” As a parent, remember to be a positive model by being present with your kids. Capture the moments, but don’t be so distracted by sharing them online that you miss them in the moment.


In the elementary phase, we engage their interests. We need to help elementary kids explore the possibilities of technology so they will understand core values and build online skills. As kids are approaching sixteen they are looking forward to their license but have you set the expectations for your elementary child on how and when they can receive their “technology license”? Say things like, “Google can be amazing, but it’s very important that you don’t ever Google without me” and “We’re here to help you learn how to use technology in a safe and fun way. That’s why we have to know your passwords and what you’re doing with your phone. As you get older, you’ll gain more freedom. But for now, we’re in this together.” As a parent, use technology to play and connect with your kids, they will love this!

In the preteen phase, we affirm their personal journey. As kids are growing up and becoming teenagers we need to utilize technology to collaborate a plan so they will respect limits and strengthen social abilities. Preteens desire freedom online, but they are not ready for it yet. Create clear limits and expectations when the time comes for giving your student a cell phone. As students become teenagers and you help them start social media accounts, do this together and always know the passwords. Say things like, ”Will you show me how to set up my own Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc? I want us to be able to follow each other. But I promise not to comment on your pictures.” “Have you run into any jerks online lately? Read or seen anything that made you feel bad or uncomfortable?” As a parent, don’t make privacy something you’re taking away from them, but rather something you’re working toward as a team.


In the teen phase, we mobilize their potential. As students are moving through their high school years we need to expand their potential so they will establish personal boundaries and leverage online opportunities. If your student has earned your trust then consider giving them more freedom with technology, but if not then help them see how they can work towards this privilege. Say things like, “If someone looked at everything you post online and tweet, what would they learn about who you are?” “I know it’s tempting to use your phone while driving. I’m tempted to do it too. Can you help keep me in check about not using my phone while driving? And, of course, I’ll do the same for you.” As a parent, encourage your student to plug into online hobbies that will help them use the gifts that God has uniquely designed them with. 

As your child is moving through the phases remember that the goal of technological responsibility is to leverage the potential of online experiences to enhance offline community and success.


Join #OC17 as We Discover What It Means to Be for Our Neighbors


Have you ever heard a short phrase that changed your perspective on ministry? Maybe you’ve heard three little words that challenged your thinking and helped you become a better leader. Over the last three years, these short phrases have been the theme for the Orange Conference: “Monday is Coming,” “It’s Just A Phase,” and “Say Yes to the Next Generation!” At this year’s conference, we will discover what it means to be “For Our Neighbors.”

What would happen if the neighborhood around your church suddenly decided…

Your church is somewhere they can build solid friendships

Your church is a safe place for their kids to talk about important stuff

Your church actually helps when something goes wrong in your community

Your church can help their family win at being a family

Your church answers the questions they are really asking

Your church gives them hope and a reason to believe

What would happen if those of us who are in the church simply decide…WE ARE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS

What would the church look like if we…

shifted from thinking like insiders to caring for outsiders?
redesigned our services around serving?
prioritized love the way Jesus did?

As Christ followers, we need to have the reputation for being people who love their neighbors. In John 13:35 Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” And in Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus commands, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

When you attend you will discover how to capture the heart of families who never attend church, rally volunteers to reprioritize how they care about kids and help parents in your community win at being a family. Consider attending this year’s Orange Conference to discover what it means to be for our neighbors!

How to Have a Successful Family Service


Imagine the entire church family coming together to worship God. Both young and old, standing shoulder to shoulder with the same teaching and shared experience. Creating a family service that appeals to all generations is possible. With a little planning and a lot of forethought, you can create an opportunity for the families in your church to worship together. With families on the same page, spiritual conversations will be easier the next time the family gathers around the dinner table. Kids can see their parents model worship. As the families in your church grow together spiritually, you will begin to see the fruit grow in each home. To have a successful family service you will need to think about each element of the service through the eyes of each family member.

Keep the ages and development of kids in mind.
You will want to create a family service that is engaging to both the preschooler and preteen. Think through a variety of teaching options such as games, videos, skits, and illustrations. You can engage kids of different ages by the use of mystery and fun props. Keep in mind that generally, the attention span of kids is equal to their age. Therefore breaking your service up into three- to five-minute blocks will help re-engage kids of every age. Having smooth transitions is key to keeping kids wanting more, so make sure all elements of the service flow without dead time. Specifically for the teaching time, you need a skilled leader who can bring a story to life for all ages. In your planning meetings, make sure your team of game leaders, skit actors, storytellers, worship leaders, or whoever is on stage thinks through how the kids in the room will engage in their service element.

Keep parents in mind.
If you engage the kids but lose the parents, the family is unlikely to return for a future family service. The use of humor is often the best way to engage parents. Even if the humor goes over the heads of some of the kids, when their parents are laughing they will lean into whatever is happening on stage. Parents love to see their kids having a good time as they learn at church. A family service can also be a great time to model a family having a spiritual conversation. Show the parents how they can creatively teach their kids as they sit at home or drive along the road. As you are wrapping up the service, help parents see their next step and give them easy ways to win at home!

Keep those without kids in mind.
When most churches host a family service there will be people without kids who show up to be a part of the church family. Those without kids and even grandparents play a key role in the church community so remember to keep them in mind when planning a family service. Through the variety of teaching formats, there will be something in the service that challenges them. Communicate to this group, helping them see how they can apply the message to their workplace or neighborhood. And remember, fun appeals to everyone in the room, so work hard at creating a fun environment where everyone can learn.

Keep those without parents in mind.
Whether your family service is during a major holiday or Sunday morning, there will be someone without their parents in the room. Maybe it’s a teenager who drove to the church by himself, or maybe it’s a ten-year-old whose mom passed away last year. Don’t make it extremely awkward by telling everyone to turn to their parents and interact. You can address the parents in the room, and you can pull parents on stage for games, but keep those in mind who do not have their mom or dad by their side.

When you work hard to create a successful family service that appeals to everyone in the room, you will create a memorable moment for the church. You can spark spiritual conversations around the dinner tables in your entire community. Start the conversation today, and begin to dream about what a family service might look like in your church.

(Originally posted to D6 Family at:

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