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Enrich Yourselves
by Ron Rose

    Church is one of the last places left for effective family enrichment. So, make family enrichment part of your church culture. Some enrichment activities focus on individuals; others on parts of all of the family; still others attempt to do both. If you have the resources, both talent and financial, a rich array of opportunities can be provided.

    The best place to start is a church-wide town meeting. Ask: “How has this church helped your family in the past year?" Write the responses on a board or news print. Then ask: “What would you like to see this church do for your family in the next year?” Record this list the same way. Then ask: “If this church were to provide significant help for families in the next year, what would be the best times to offer this enrichment?” Use this information to plan your year.

    Don’t try to do everything at once. Collect all the resources you can. Begin with the “desire” that seems to be the strongest, while fully realizing that time will be the scarcest resource of all.

The Opportunities Are Endless

Wednesday Evening Class Series — Wednesday evening is a natural opportunity for offering a regular track or series of “needs directed” Family Enrichment classes. The limitation is time. You will probably only have 45 minutes to 1 hour. However, many churches have found this to be their most effective enrichment time. DO NOT assume that each topic has to continue for a quarter (13 weeks). One of the drawbacks to quality enrichment in churches is the assumption that all the studies have to last a quarter.

Discussion Groups — One church has trained a team of women to be parent education specialists. They hold evening discussion groups on parenting issues in their neighborhoods. These informal discussions have proven extremely helpful for single mothers. The discussions only last for 5 weeks and a group of men take care of the children during the 2-hour sessions. Each discussion leader is responsible for leading four discussion groups a year. Discussion groups can be focused around a resource, like a book, tape, or video. These discussions have do more than teach new information—they build a network of hope.

Film & videos — Using video tapes will be more and more popular with the younger families—they want everything video. Consider scheduling time on the local access cable channel for a family enrichment program each week. These tapes, or live classes, could be the same as the ones offered on Wednesday nights.

Weekend Workshops — Plan weekend workshops on areas of need that require more intense time. It is especially helpful to plan workshops for skill development needs, like listening, discipline, storytelling, and character development.

Retreats — When the need is focused on building closer, stronger, or more in touch relationships, then retreats are the perfect method. Retreats give participants the opportunity to experience the theme, not just talk about it. Spiritual Growth in Marriage; Family Faith; and Spiritual IRA: Intergity, Responsibility, Accountability; are excellent retreat themes.

All-Day Sunday — A number of churches have had success planning a family emphasis for all-day Sunday. These special days help all ages to sense how important the family is to the church. Combine the Sunday school classes, add the sermon time, schedule an afternoon class for those with family interests, then close the day with the Sunday night service. Resource people can be used for these events, but they are not necessary for a successful day.


  • Audio tapes designed for commute-time enrichment
  • Programming on local access cable channels
  • Special articles published in the church bulletin
  • Sermon series
  • In-home enrichment groups (These groups could also serve as an effective outreach into the community.)

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