For our Family Night in May, I wanted to introduce parents and grandparents to “The Big God Story”. I was still excited about all the things I had learned at The Gathering and looking forward to starting “The Story” curriculum by Zondervan in the fall, so it seemed like a perfect theme for our quarterly event.
The Night’s Schedule
- What we’ve been learning and memory verse
- Prayer (child-led)
- Singing to the Lord
- Lesson Time
- Practice Time for Parents
- Snack and Dismissal
Songs To Sing
I was really struggling with song choice for the night. I wanted something that was fun and would get the kids moving and engaged, but not too crazy. Often, parents are a little intimidated, especially if it’s their first parent night. We want them to be able to pick up on the song right away and not feel out of place. Of course, I love when the songs are relevant to the night and the lesson or Scripture passage. We settled on:
- Big House: A favorite for the kids and an easy song to pick up. We used the Uncle Charlie video which I picked up during a Only144.com sale. I love it because it’s just the chorus of the popular Audio Adrenaline song so no tricky verses to try and sing through.
- Love the Lord: Another easy song to pick up on, with motions that aren’t too crazy. This song was a great recap of what we’ve been learning with 252Basics. May’s Theme was Responsibility and last week we learned that all our responsibilities as Christians boil down to Loving God and Loving Others. Again, this was an Uncle Charlie video — love those things!
- Genesis 1:1 This is a song by Group Publishing that we’ve been using for a long time. It really appeals to the youngest kids and since we’ve been using it for several years, it is seen as a “classic” by the older kids. It gives a great overview of the major stories in the Bible, and since we were learning about The Big God story, it seemed totally appropriate.
While I was at The Gathering conference a few weeks ago, David C. Cook was kind enough to give the live blogger team a basket of goodies. A few things were duplicates of things I already had, so I was very pleased to be able to pass the goodies onto the parents and kids. A few of the prizes included The Big God Storychildren’s book, The Action Bible (a favorite of mine — check out my review), and some music CD’s from the Tru curriculum including a new fave of mine, Radio The World. The kids were thrilled and it added some extra fun to the night.
It’s Lesson Time!
Before heading to The Gathering, I was listening to a podcast from Michelle Anthony called “Finding Your Place in the Big God Story”. It was so cool to hear the entire redemptive story from Genesis to Revelation (and it’s not over yet!) in one swoop and I thought it would be super helpful for parents as well. I was thrilled when I found the entire “Big God Story” inside Michelle’s book, Spiritual Parenting. Now I had a script!!
We recruited about 8 kids to act during key parts of the story (like Abraham, Joseph, Saul, David, Esther, etc) and one of the super techie guys at our church made up power point presentation to go along with the lesson . We had the kids dress up in costume and cross the stage (sort of graduation style) and stand front and center while I told about their character and then they went to the back of room, de-costumed and rejoined the group (quietly!) in the back.
Practice Makes Perfect
After the story, parents received one of these cool Bible Timeline cards I found at Living Water Bible Games. I laid out a huge variety of Bibles including the Read and Share Bible, The Almighty Bible, Kid’s Devotional Bible and some standard NIV Outreach Bibles. Families were to grab a card, look up the Scripture passage found on the card, discuss these 3 Questions and then place the card on the timeline.
Two of our preteen girls totally digging the Exodus book from The Almighty Bible series.
The Big God Story Timeline
I wanted to make the timeline challenging enough to require some thought, but not too tough. After all, we’re trying to empower parents, not make them feel like they are already 3 steps behind. I wanted to put a “cheat sheet” out, but couldn’t find a good timeline that fit on a handout, so I laid out some Cool Bible Tools with time lines in them for reference. I also added key events to the timeline to provide a starting point. Also, the Bible Timeline cards were numbered. Even still, I think I could have made it a little easier — there were a few cards that stumped parents.
Old Testament in Orange
New Testament Events in Blue
Brackets to show where the cards go
I wanted you to be able to see the whole timeline at once, so here’s a quick video giving you the complete view.
Grab a Popsicle Stick!
Inspired by Tru’s approach to the Parent HomeFront papers (sending them home the week ahead of time instead of AFTER the lesson), I sent parents home with a Popsicle stick with the next week’s Scripture passage written on the end. I explained the method behind the madness to the parents at Family Night, but then realized I forgot to explain it to parents who couldn’t make it to Family Night! Oops. Either way, they’ve got the lesson in their hand and hopefully will be able to read though the Bible passage with their kids sometime this week.
Room for Improvement
I asked a few Small Group Leaders how they thought the night went (it’s only our second family night, so we’re learning!) and they suggested playing some kind of large group game at the end to get families playing together and end on a high note. We’ll certainly think about that!
What About You?
Are you doing Family nights? What things have been a huge hit? A big flop? Leave me a comment and let me know!