Reconnecting with church community: Facebook Live

20 Jan 2021
We’ve now been out of church for pretty much ten months – which is a huge amount of time in our kids’ lives.

Older kids may be struggling to stay engaged with online church, or may have disengaged completely, while younger children might have trouble remembering what ordinary church was like or who was there.

So what can we do to help them reconnect with their church community? Essentially, it’s about laying a foundation now of what church is so that when we go back in person, our kids can easily re-engage. It's also a wonderful opportunity to teach them about church in a way that generations before haven’t had to do.

In one of our Bedtime Drinks with Rachel sessions, Rachel shared some ideas for how to do this. You can see the video for each age group below, and we have put together a guide to what she said.

 

 

 

1. Get rid of the ‘shoulds’

We are all probably feeling the ‘shoulds’: I should get him to engage with his Zoom youth group, we should be watching online church, we should get her to like church. But these aren’t helpful. We’re in a strange season, which none of us have been in before. It’s okay to be loving church like this, it’s okay to be struggling with it and it’s okay to be missing it.

2. See what church is

Church is so much more than meeting together on a Sunday - it’s something bigger and more wonderful than we often think. Biblically, there are five values of church (for more about this see chapter 11 of Parenting Children for a Life of Faith – Omnibus Edition, or session 8 of the free Parenting for Faith course):

  • Drawing near to God
  • Spurring each other on
  • Being the body of Christ
  • Loving and being loved
  • Being transformed by the Holy Spirit

These are the core values of church, and don’t only take place on a Sunday morning. Now we have to do church deconstructed. We can still do and be church regardless of whether we are able to meet together or not. 

3. Name and label things that are church

As you go about your normal day to day, name and label what is church, so that your children learn what church is and how to recognise it. For example, after an encouraging chat from a friend in the supermarket: ‘I love how church can happen here!’

4. Find ways that work for your kids to help them do and be church 

Although church is about community, community can be just one other person, or one other family or a small group. Could you Zoom with grandparents who pray for you and you pray for them? Could your teen go for a walk with someone they admire from church? On your family’s daily walk, could you wave to someone from church through their window? Could you encourage the pastor about his sermon?

 

Questions Rachel answered:

Have you seen any encouraging ways that a church group together has kept young kids connected to each other, when their relationships are very immediate? Our church has gathering time into coffee time zoom which kind of meets that (kids see each other 'doing' church or just showing a toy/craft). Taking initiative on own can feel a bit overwhelming/challenging! (under-5s)

My children have been accessing online zoom church, which was going well until school online daily lessons. So now my children r now screen tired by Sunday now. So struggling to encourage them to join in. (5–11s)

We’ve come up against knowing the best way to engage some children. The parents are struggling too. They aren’t interested in the children’s service type FB stream and also are zoomed out. We gave out Easter bags and had a fair response. I have tried to personally contact may of the families and email out every two weeks with details of what we are doing and put the link out relating to our theme and suggested YouTube videos so they can do it if they want. Any other ideas please? (5–11s)

Any more ideas for giving a pre-teen some purpose in her life towards others or any outward stuff they could do at this strange time? (Pre-teens and teens, answered in the video below.) The book Rachel talks about is Parenting Children for a Life of Purpose, which has been been republished as part II of Parenting Children for a Life of Faith –  Omnibus Edition.

Image acknowledgements

Image by Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro