We want to help your family create a new rhythm for the new school year. We've been talking about this Helping Families Win initiative quite a bit. Our goal is really just to help you win! Now that sounds simplistic, so let me explain. We recognize that you have an incredible amount of influence in your teenager's life. I know it doesn't always feel that way, but you really do. You have a tremendous ability to speak into the spiritual journey of your kids. Unfortunately, youth ministry has at times unintentionally discouraged you as a parent from becoming the spiritual leader in your home. In one sense, youth ministry has kind of taken a role that says, "If you just drop your kids off, we'll get them all spiritualized and ready for you when you come back to pick them up. In other words, we've tried to become a parent substitute and tried to have more influence than you when it comes to kids' faith.
Here's the thing: as a parent, I believe God would not give me the responsibility to do something he has not equipped me to do. He doesn't work that way. So while I don't always feel like a good spiritual leader, my wife and I still have the responsibility to be the spiritual leader in our home. So maybe the greatest gift Wanamaker Woods could give parents is confidence and courage to do what God has wired them to do.
That's the motive behind what we're trying to do with our change on Sunday Nights. Rather than add something into your already busy schedule, we want to help create a rhythm that is a part of what many of you are already doing. Beginning this Sunday, we want to invite the entire family around a dinner table for a meal and spiritual conversation together. I know that there are a lot of questions, so to help, we've worked on a FAQ to help.
What is happening to Sunday Nights?
Rather than create something new to add to your calendar, we want to take what we're already doing and change it to better help families thrive. Beginning Sunday, August 20, kids and youth will be joining together along with parents and grandparents and other adults for a family time. We will start with a meal around tables, listen to a brief topic from Scripture, then begin a conversation that will continue through the week through cues and daily devotions.
Who does this involve?
Everyone! Our entire church is invited to attend because this is more than family time. It's an opportunity to engage our kids in spiritual conversations by parents and adults who want to see the next generation continue in their faith.
What if I don't have kids or grandkids or family here?
We still need you! As a church, our desire is to have adults who would like to invest in young people through spiritual conversations. We've traditionally worked off the adult-to-kid ratio of 1:8 (1 adult for every 8 kids). What if we flipped that and had 8 adults investing, pouring into, and speaking truth into each of our kids? Just imagine the difference and the impact that would make! In other words, we need you!
What if my parents don't attend?
We recognize that not all parents are in a place to be a spiritual leader. We don't want that to exclude you from joining us. We will have youth workers and kid's workers available and even some families willing to be "surrogate" families for those who don't have parents there.
Why are we doing this?
It really comes down to the belief that in order to reach our community for Christ, we need to focus on helping families—hence, Helping Families Win.
What will Sunday Night look like?
We will begin serving a meal at 6:00 PM. Find a table in the Family Life Center with your family and maybe a few others and enjoy the FREE meal. During that time there will be a few activities/games to do at your table. At about 6:20, one of the pastors will introduce the story and begin to communicate God's truth in an engaging way. After that we will transition into a time of table group discussion. There will be questions at each table specifically designed to help facilitate some great conversation. When we dismiss, there will be resources available for you to continue the conversation at home.
Is the meal free?
When and where is it?
Sunday evenings, beginning August 20, at 6:00 PM in the Family Life Center at Wanamaker Woods.
How long will this last?
The evening will last roughly one hour, from 6:00-7:00 PM. Right now, this is a strategy to help families win. We know it's going to be messy. We want to give it time to develop, so for now, we're going to meet Sunday nights through the month of September. After that we'll evaluate to determine if we continue or try something different.
Is there childcare available?
Yes. We will have nurseries open for parents who feel their younger children might be too distracting. We highly encourage kids to stay with us because of how much they absorb just by watching and listening.
Will the van ministry make trips?
Yes. We will have vans, but we highly encourage parents to participate and join us.
What if I'm a part of a Life Group that meets on Sunday nights?
No problem. We aren't asking you to quit something if you already have a group you're apart of. But if you don't have anything going on, come give it try!