QB Kids & their Families Response to COVID-19 to Support Churches
In light of the QB priorities and the COVID-19 season, QB Kids & their Familiesnetwork is excited to provide support for pastors & churches as they look ahead to the future and consider changes they will make.
While the word ‘unprecedented’ is being used a lot – and there are certainly never-before-seen events unfolding in this world right now – a lot of what is happening to the church is not new. We know that throughout history households have worshipped together, church gatherings have met in homes, and there have even been limitations placed on our Sunday gatherings. Yet we have been graced to find new ways to worship, evangelise, make disciples and serve our communities in crises. We also know that by the grace of God, in many harsh seasons for the church, we have seen ‘unprecedented’ growth in numbers of people coming to Jesus, and depth of faith of those who know Him.
So, QB Kids & their Families pastors and leaders see the events of today as an opportunity to learn from ancient traditions, from Scriptural example (such as found in Deuteronomy 6), and from those who have gone before us to think creatively about the future for our children. Things we have long prayed for: parents in the home equipped to be the primary influences of faith for their children, and more whole-of-life (read: less service-centric) practices and habits of faith & discipleship for our families– are now becoming necessities and priorities. Because we believe in a God of hope, we trust that in this dark season for the world, that the light of the church will grow brighter and that the faith of our children and churches would grow stronger, so that many more will come to know and love our God and that He would be ultimately glorified.
To this end, we gathered a number of our key children’s & family leaders & pastors from across the state this week, and collated ideas and resources to pass along to our churches in hopes to support each other and collaborate well to bring strength to our ministry. Below are their thoughts and ideas:
Even in this season, our primary aim for ministry and discipleship with our children time remains unchanged. We hope to raise a generation of children who want to know, love and follow Jesus for their whole lives:
- We still want to help parents feel confident in being the primary spiritual influence in their children’s lives as they model and hand on their faith.
- We still want our children to have a range of connections within the church throughout the generations of the wider church family. (Friends, older children, young adults, strong leaders & pastors, seniors/grandparents, and many more).
- We still want to help our children know and love Jesus for themselves, and to desire to know and understand Him more as they grow.
- We still want to help our children feel empowered by the Holy Spirit to know their purpose in His plan, their role in the church, and to contribute to the world missionally as they are called and gifted to.
- We still believe the whole church flourishes when children are a vibrantly celebrated, valued and prioritised group within the church family.
So, we broke down the following suggestions into ideas for ‘Engaging children & families in the wider church’ and ‘Engaging children in the home’.
- Ideas for engaging/discipling children & families in the wider church
- While ‘ streaming’ services, consider how to include children in the process:-
- Having children assist with worship/elements of the service, so that other children can see their friends/other children represented in the worship experience provided (singing/music, taking communion, praying, welcoming people etc)
- A known/familiar kids’ leader sharing with the children from the platform/streaming so they don’t feel forgotten
- Include songs the kids know and sing from their kids ministries in the ‘praise and worship’ time
- Pastors addressing children and acknowledging their presence as part of this new way of doing church streaming, talking to them/asking them questions during their sermons
- Providing easy activities (sent out before hand for parents) for children do during service that relate to content
- Pastors making reference to provided activities for kids
- Having a streamed/recorded service especially for kids content provided by kids’ teams for the whole family to watch together asides from the main streamed service
- Surveying/communicating with parents and asking what their actual needs and wants are in this season (at risk at information overload for them in this season)
- Consider live streaming ministries such as Playgroup – a playgroup leader to lead the singing, stories, craft and games via Facebook live to a private Facebook group for playgroup families in the community. (Consider dropping off/mailing packages/digitally providing materials for these crafts and activities)
- Starting a youtube channel/facebook group in order to directly stream/record videos for children throughout the week with different leaders providing connection – praying together, reading a picture book, facilitating Bible lessons, cooking classes, making craft together etc.
- If churches currently use a set curriculum to provide lessons, consider opting out for now, to provide kids talks and resources on what the wider church/pastoral team is studying for a season so that all families are talking the same conversations of faith in the home.
- Encouraging children to do the same thing at the same time as each other such as create crafts to put in their windows, decorate their driveways, or dress up, and ask parents to post photos (where comfortable) to Facebook or social media so that children can see other children doing same/similar activities together.
- Facilitating existing ministries such as Friday afternoon programs online – live streaming or pre-recording talks to post at the same time that ministry would normally happen (Eg. Friday afternoon at 4pm) -can be a ‘condensed’ version of the ministry
- Encourage children to write letters or draw pictures of encouragement for friends and others in their church family or community.
- Video chats via Zoom/FB messenger or other platforms from children’s leaders to their small groups of children to keep connected (while maintaining and upholding church policy guidelines such as from QB Safe Church policy**)
- Encourage children to call or video call friends to ‘check in’ and build/maintain connection with other children in their church family
- ‘Adopt a grandparent’ and encourage children to write or draw to, or call an older (possibly more isolated) member(s) of the congregation to care for them in this time.
- While ‘ streaming’ services, consider how to include children in the process:-
Ideas for engaging/discipling children in the home
- Many of our churches using provided/set curriculum have suggested their kids team provide an ‘at home’ version of a lesson each week – prompts for questions to start discussions, crafts & fun activities and videos to watch online, so that parents can facilitate the lesson in a flexible way for whatever works for their schedule (around a dinner table, as an afternoon/morning home-school session, a bedtime routine option). This can be emailed out, posted on a group Facebook or communicated digitally on a weekly basis for parents to use. (See the ‘Resources’ list for ideas for where to look for materials and resources if this is something your church is looking to provide and don’t have access to set curriculum right now.)
- Other churches have (as previously stated) switched to ‘piggy-backing’ onto what the wider church would be studying (and putting their curriculum on hold) and providing materials for families to use in a similar way, based on what the church is studying in this season, so that there is simply one conversation topic for families each week. Again, these can be emailed, posted on a website each week, posted on a Facebook group or even (for smaller churches) written and mailed/dropped off each week.
- Providing ‘how-to’ resources for parents via various platforms – such as ‘how-to’ read the Bible together, how to help children pray (Support resources for parents available in ‘Resources’ list)
- Encourage parents to choose a ‘rhythmic activity’ that already exists in their home (driving to school, around the dinner table, teeth brushing, before school starts, outdoor play time, after dinner one night, during when ‘lifegroup’ might have been on, Friday nights) and dedicate it to family devotion (and/or meal time) where they might sing together, read and act out a Bible passage and then talk about it afterwards. (see Resources for video resources of Bible stories to help families)
- Create a sharable Playlist of songs that children sing at church to sing at home or in the car together and allow children to teach parents the actions.
- Memorise Bible verses together and challenge other families to memorise them too, and come up with creative places to write them (On the doors of homes, in chalk on driveways) so members of the community can read them too.
- Encourage children to be a part of whatever care families provide for others in the community and beyond– shopping for supplies, laundry, writing letters to sponsor children or missionary families in other parts of the world etc.
- Encourage parents to lead their families through communion meals with their children during this time.
Curriculum (Video, lesson planning) Resources
- DIG In Build Your Lesson Bible Experience
- Orange Digital Experiences for your Children’s Ministry
- Lifeway Kids (The Gospel Project for Kids)
- Minno (Previously JellytellyTV/Makers of What’s In the Bible/VeggieTales)
- RightNow Media
- Crossroad Kids Club
- Wholly Kids (helps parents understand what kids can learn developmentally about faith)
- Parents Cue (Orange parent’s blog)
- The Gospel Coalition
- The Bible App for Kids
- Chat Matters Discussion placemat
- Talking with Kids about Coronavirus via Gospel Coalition Australia
- Colin Buchanan’s The Lord is King (written for his daughter after the events of September 11) listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3kW3L1CslQ
- Sovereign Grace kids
**New guidelines for QB Safe Church policy concerning ‘online and digital safety with young people’ currently being updated & coming soon and will be circulated to churches.