Earlier this week we joined a great discussion on helping children’s work flourish in the pandemic, hosted by Care for the Family’s Kitchen Table Project. It was an energetic and inspiring evening, and we’d like to share a few of the insights we took from this really worthwhile event.
One of the real strengths of the evening was that we heard directly from so many people involved on a day-to-day basis with encouraging faith in families, and who have been continuing and developing this work in the context of Covid-19.
There was plenty of practical insights — particularly in the breakout sessions. People had found that some of their ‘go-to’ children’s activities didn’t translate well to the context of lockdown. Dance parties on Zoom, for example, didn’t work! Several people had also found that craft activities that worked well in church needed too much supervision from parents at home, which meant that in some cases families found it hard to keep children engaged. Several participants also noted that many children struggle to follow sessions on-screen for too long.
With this in mind, a clear theme of the evening was how important it is to listen to what the needs and concerns of families are. Central to being alongside families in a meaningful way is making sure that we don’t add to pressure on them, but instead help encourage easy opportunities where they continue to talk to each other about faith beyond Sunday.
Another key observation was that it is important to be consistent — once children have become enthusiastic about something you’ve been doing, it’s important to keep it going if you have promised to do so, and for this reason one should be realistic about the resources needed to sustain any of the activities you start.
To sum up, our key take-aways for meaningful children’s work in the online context:
- Not all activities that work in face-to-face church will translate well to families at home
- Think about activities that can integrate easily into the lives of families and which encourage opportunities for families to continue to talk to each other about faith throughout the week
- Be consistent
- Be mindful of your resources
Ultimately you know your community best; you know your own abilities, and you know the interests and circumstances of the families that are part of your church community; let the Holy Spirit guide you in working with families to together create something new and wonderful!
The Kitchen Table Project is a great resource encouraging faith among families at home.
We were also introduced to Together at Home resources and we love their excellent Psalm walks and also their Sunday packs linked to the lectionary.