This family or children’s ministry idea comes from Ivy Beckwith, the author of one of my assigned readings for my class at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School about ministry with children.
Here is the description as I put it in my paper. I would encourage you to take this simple idea and make your own creative family memories out of it…..
Another practical way families can foster faith formation for one another is through ritual and tradition. Ivy Beckwith suggests many ideas for how families can do creative God-focused activities at home that sometimes turn into recurring rituals and traditions. She says that rituals foster things such as identity and healing within faith and family communities (Beckwith 2010, 78-80). One of the many ritual ideas she gives is an Easter tradition where the family makes butterflies and caterpillars out of craft materials. The caterpillars can hang on a tree leading up to Easter and then they are replaced with the butterflies on Easter morning. The family can then discuss the meaning of Easter and the new life we have in Jesus Christ (86). Oftentimes the best faith formation between parents and children happens in the unexpected moments – like while the crafts are being made, rather than during more formal settings such as the big reveal of the butterflies on Easter morning. Again, the role of the parents is to create environments and opportunities for God to reveal himself in any moment of the day – whether planned or mundane – and then to be ready at any moment to “give a reason for the hope they have in Christ” (1 Peter 3:15).
Beckwith, Ivy. Formational children’s ministry: Shaping children using story, ritual, and relationship. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2010.
My daughter was making a zoo with blocks and her little plastic animals. I figured, “Why don’t we just make a Noah’s Ark since we have all these animals?” I’m not the most crafty person in the world, but I know how to cut cardboard boxes. So I started cutting up an Amazon shipping box. Her imagination did the rest! She proudly drew the windows. She loves it!
The great thing about crafts with kids is that it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece! It’s clearly a rectangular box and is not the stylish boat shape you see in great art. But five year olds don’t care! They just want to play with friends and family and use their God-given imaginations. We adults could learn a thing or two from that.
Payoff: Fun, stimulated imaginations, opportunity to share a faith story and its meaning with my daughter.