Many congregations include a Children’s Message time during worship when young children come forward to hear a special message about the scripture lesson for the day. Milestones Ministry suggests this time be renamed as Taking Faith Home Time.
In many cases when Taking Faith Home is inserted in the bulletin, we seldom mention why it is there or take time to talk about it. In what ways can we be more intentional about helping people practice faith at home? Use this time as an opportunity to nurture the faith of all present by highlighting some part of Taking Faith Home. Worshipers—children and adults alike–can be encouraged to use faith practices that connect with the Sunday Bible texts. Taking Faith Home Time becomes a way to bring the Sunday morning experience into our daily lives and be blessed by the worship service all week long.
In one congregation, Taking Faith Home Time was introduced by reminding the congregation that: “Most of us do not have our children or grandchildren here with us today for a number of reasons. Taking Faith Home is given to you each week to encourage faith discussions and share prayers with your children, grandchildren, and friends during meals, on the phone, or in a text so that we can meet them where they are since they are not here.”
One section of Taking Faith Home could be highlighted each week during this time and then the children or everyone together can read the Prayer of the Week or turn to one another and say the blessing. This is a wonderful way to equip and encourage parents, grandparents and other mentors to live out their role in faith formation with children and youth. This can be supported by having “faith talk” in the congregation so that we can be encouraged to have it in our daily lives. Because we believe that the home is church, too, let’s find ways to help people practice faith at home.
“Becoming fluent in a language does not happen in one hour a week. It takes being surrounded by a family and a community where it is spoken 24/7. To grow deeper in our faith, we need to speak the language of our faith more than one hour a week. If the one hour worship time is the only prime time in a congregation, there needs to be mention of and an intentional time taken to address Taking Faith Home. There needs to be a connection from worship to the home!” – Debbie Streicher
What could Taking Faith Home Time look like? Each week, invite children and grandchildren to join you. Ask everyone to look at the Taking Faith Home bulletin insert and remind them these are for them to share with others who may not be present today. Then choose either the Caring Conversations, Devotions, Service, or Rituals and Traditions section to talk about. And use either the Prayer for the Week or A Blessing to Give as you close and invite the entire congregation to say it with you and/or to one another.
“In our congregation, I choose what section I will use each week and sometimes design a simple sheet for the children to take to their seat with them. I also tell parents and grandparents to take one also to share the same message at home with children and grandchildren who are not present. For September 10, 2017, I chose the Service section and will talk about loving your neighbor as yourself. I will give them the sheet you see below and ask them to color the hearts and draw a picture or write an act of kindness next to each day that they will do for someone. The next week I will ask them how they did as a follow up. We will close using A Blessing to Give and I will ask the children to begin by going to someone in the congregation and saying the blessing as they physically bless them with the sign of the cross. Then I will invite the entire congregation to turn to someone and do the same.” – Debbie Streicher, St. Paul’s Lutheran, Cumberland, MD
The pictures below show a message for the screen and the way the Taking Faith Home bulletin insert will be used for September 10, 2017 at St. Paul’s in Cumberland.