FPCSS Director of Family Ministries and Christian Education
FPCSS Director of Family Ministries and Christian Education
Week 3: Ephesians 1:15-23
Verse 11 says we were chosen before God made the world, so we know our past. Verse 14 says we are guaranteed an inheritance, so we know our future. But what about right now? We have security to live and serve others, just like Jesus did by washing his disciples feet. We can use our security, knowing who we belong to, to give to others, to serve others, and to do things that are “beneath” us, because our reputation is not at stake. We already belong to God, so we don’t have to worry what others will think.
Do a family service project. If possible, do it secretly. Mow an elderly neighbor’s yard, or wash their car. Pick up trash on a family walk. Drop off a goody bag for a family in need. Collect gently used toys to donate. Leave a treat for your postal service worker or delivery person. Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru, but make sure to include the kids in the discussion. Better yet, let them make donations to the cause from their own money. Ask your kids for other ideas of people they see in need that they can help.
For a printable version, click here.
Week 2: Ephesians 1:3-14
This passage repeats the phrase “in Christ” or “in him” NINE times. Paul is trying to make it clear that no matter what is going on around us in the culture, our location as Christians is always in Christ! Because we are hidden in Christ, we can have the boldness we need to go against the culture and live as Paul instructs later in this book. If we know who’s we are, we can withstand anything.
Play hide-and-seek with your whole family. Try to include even the youngest members by having them hide with mom or dad. It might take some practice, but even tiny tots can hide under a blanket, in a closet or behind a tree in your yard. Bigger kids can find some pretty creative hiding spaces!
Later, perhaps at naptime or bedtime, talk about how fun it was. Use it as a transition to talk about how we are “hidden in Christ.” Jesus literally covers us, like a blanket. He covers our sin and we can have confidence to live boldly!
AND, as a way to connect the FPC community, take a picture and tag @fpcsiloam on Facebook!
I'm so excited to roll out this new Family Worship Guide! This is a tool to help your family establish and continue worship rhythms and routines together, not just during the Corona Virus Quarantine, but long after as well. While it’s not all inclusive, each element corresponds with our Sunday Morning Worship Service. Since this is our first edition, please click here first to learn more about how to use this guide! For a printable version, click here.
Week 1: Ephesians 1:1-2 & 6:18-24
Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesus about what it means to be distinctly Christian in a world that wants to say “Jesus plus…” For them, it was Jesus, plus Diana/Artemis, or Jesus plus the Emperor. Paul says it’s only Jesus.
Paul also writes to the Ephesian Christians to ask them to pray for him. He, being in prison, was probably going to have to testify soon, and make a decision between standing for Jesus and saving his own life. Paul asks them to pray for the courage to speak boldly about Jesus.
Because knowing what Christians believe is important to how we live, let’s memorize the Apostle’s Creed together. For the youngest children, you can start by teaching one line at a time, with lots of repetition. For older elementary kids, make it a game. Have siblings take turns with every other line or quiz each other. Talk about what each part means and why it’s important. For teens, try asking them to explain it back to you. Ask them to journal about how these beliefs are counter cultural.
This is a tool to help your family establish and continue worship rhythms and routines together, not just during the Corona Virus Quarantine, but long after as well. While it’s not all inclusive, each element corresponds with our Sunday Morning Worship Service. There will be repetition, because that is how we learn. Something we’ve heard a million times can suddenly hit a different way when the Holy Spirit pierces us with it. Lois Evans calls this a “rainbow word.”
Different elements will have varying frequencies. Some, like prayer or song, are daily practices. For those, start simple. Think about the anchors that already exist in your day. What are the constants? Do you always eat breakfast as a family? Gather right before someone leaves for work? Do you assemble for an evening movie or TV show? Perhaps it’s naptime or bedtime routines already in place. Whatever it is, pick an anchor that has a little wiggle room to be stretched just a few minutes longer.
Here’s what you can expect from each element.
Thank you for your patience on this weekly update. I have some exciting news to announce! For the summer, to correspond with the new Ephesians teaching series Jonathan is starting next week, we are going to have a special Family Worship Guide each week.
This new Family Worship Guide will have many of the same elements we’ve been practicing together during the quarantine period. And, we’re adding a “Family Activity” section with interactive ideas to further the concepts we’ve learned Sunday morning through the Scripture reading and sermon, and the discussion questions, prayers and songs we’re practicing through the week. We highly encourage you to share pictures of these family activities on the FPC Siloam Facebook page as a way to foster community while we are unable to meet in person.
For the remainder of this week, here are a few things to revisit from our Bible reading and study practice as specifically adapted from last Sunday’s Trinity Sunday focus (Hebrews 8:1-2; 9:11-15 & 10:19-25):
Preschool and Younger: This age group probably can’t quite grasp the complex concept of the Trinity, but we can start to lay the foundation by talking about God the father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit as we pray together. You can sing the doxology to reinforce this idea of Father, Son, and Spirit. They can also begin to understand the participation that we have with God through our worship. You can help them to better understand that we don’t just have to watch each Sunday, we actually get to join God as we worship him through prayer, song, kindness to others, etc.
Elementary: Kids in this age group are beginning to be able to grasp certain aspects of the Trinity. It is important to convey that the Trinity is a mystery that even adults don’t fully understand, but we can still seek understanding. There are a lot of metaphors, but they tend to require abstract thought which may not be developmentally appropriate yet. Instead, we can focus on the participation we have with the Trinity, our interactions with each person, and our participation in worship. You can use the metaphor of being a sports spectator versus a player on the field. We are invited, by the Trinity, to join in on the field. Ask them how they can participate with God during worship on Sundays and in his work on earth.
Middle and High School: Even as adults, the Trinity is a hard concept. As Pastor Jonathan said, there are a lot of metaphors out there to describe it, but they all fall short. Spend some time talking about several metaphors and how and where they break down. For example, the idea of the Trinity being like water that can be various states of matter (ice, liquid, vapor) breaks down when we realize that they cannot easily all be present at the same time, but God is always all three persons continuously and unchanging. This abstract thinking can help them to begin to dive deeper into what we DO know and understand of God and how the three distinct persons interact with each other as ONE God.
Like the other age groups, we also don’t want to miss the important note that Pastor Jonathan makes of being participants in worship, not merely spectators. You can discuss the difference between spectating worship and participation. How can we be active participants with the Trinity in our worship?
We hope you’re looking forward to the new format next week!
As we revisit each intentional practice we’ve covered during this quarantine season, we are back to the practice of song. Specifically, we are focusing on singing the Doxology and our call to worship refrains together.
Evaluate. Is this practice easily and naturally fitting into your family routine? Do your kids randomly start singing refrains on their own? Have you found that singing the doxology as a blessing at lunch time or the refrains at bedtime have fostered spiritual discussions or set the tone for the activity? Great! Keep it up and check out the “Digging Deeper” ideas below.
If it’s not working, again, that’s ok. Let’s brainstorm some ways to tweak this practice to better suit your family rhythms. Does it not fit well with the chosen anchor? If so, move it to a different time. If you’re having trouble remembering the melody of the refrain, check out the FPC Youtube channel for past services and skip a few minutes in. You can rehear the refrain, sing it together, and even reread the call to worship as a family, if you wish.
What if music is just not your family’s thing? We don’t all have the same giftings, but it’s important to remember that over and over, Scripture tells us to use song as a way to praise the Lord. It’s not the only way to worship, but it’s still an important component! If you, as the parent, are feeling self-conscious, remember with young children that they don’t really care how great of a singer you are, they just want to hear your joy. With older kids, it’s ok to be honest about your insecurity and to talk about it. Vulnerable conversation might lead to deeper connection. If your children are self-conscious about singing together, you can return to some of the ideas from the previous discussion.
Digging Deeper - If things are going well for you, try expanding your song set to include these additional worship refrains:
For older kids and teens, have each family member find their favorite hymn. Research together the hymnist, their life story, the circumstances in which they wrote the particular hymn, and the impact that the hymn has made on history. If you have instrumental musicians in the family, check out this Public Domain Hymn list for sheet music.