In September we will begin our 17th year of rotation. Wow. That is crazy to think about! We've had ups and downs in attendance over the years, but it still seems to be something that people appreciate and say they like. Recently though, we've seen a general decline in participation across all areas of our church -- worship, outside activities and Sunday school. We are actively praying for God to stir the hearts of people in our church and to help families make church a priority -- not just something we do if there's nothing better on the calendar. It's really about the hearts of our families...
A couple things we want to try (and I would LOVE other suggestions):
Family Bible Journaling
We are going to invite families to do a weekly Bible Journaling Project together this fall (we will do a 20 week "semester" (16 weeks + Advent) and then try something again in winter/spring -- possibly around Lent. (Our youth director and I are working on this together) We're going to use simple spiral notebooks for the journals and use 16 different psalms as the scripture. It will be pretty basic -- a simplified Lectio Divina in a way -- read the psalm, close your eyes and listen to the words. Then a few questions... What pictures do you see in your mind? What words jump out at you? What do you learn about God from this verse? How does this verse speak to you in your life at this time? Invite them to draw/write in their journals. End with a prayer. The idea comes from this site primarily...http://www.futureflyingsaucers.com/the-family-bible-journaling-project/
This is sort of a not-totally-gelled -in-my-mind plan... What if we had an interactive prayer station set up at the church in a central location (we have three worship services on Sunday morning).
There are TONS of ideas at this site: http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.co.uk
What if we invited not just kids, but parents and other adults to participate? What if we rotated the prayer stations so that every few weeks (once a month) the station changed? Would that help families realize that prayer is more than a formal "close your eyes and fold your hands" rote practice? We've done something like this during Holy Week, but never ongoing... Wondering if anyone else has done something like this?
I guess I'm thinking that my planning, programming, and striving to entice people to participate is missing the real heart of the matter -- people's hearts. I know this is the work of the Holy Spirit, not me... so... we are definitely in prayer for God's guidance and wisdom to help us lead purposefully.
Thoughts??? Anyone else find themselves in a similar situation?