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.
Dont 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 informationthey
build a network of hope.
Film & videos Using video tapes will be more and more popular with the younger familiesthey 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.)