How to Have a Family Communion Time
Pastor Marguerite Reeve
When Jim and I were expecting our first child we started praying about how to impact our kids with the same life-changing Jesus who had transformed our lives! We had a relationship with the God who created the world, not just religious knowledge about Him. We wanted the same for our kids.
Through trial and error we developed a Family Night that included a short Communion Time at the end. Following are a few of the principles that worked for us. Feel free to take them and adjust (and keep adjusting!) to what works best for you:
We chose Thursday evenings, cleared our calendars, and didn’t answer phones so our kids had our undivided attention. Nowadays, that would mean no texting, emailing, or going on social media where often more time is spent time telling everyone else what fun we are having as a family instead of fully being in the moment and actually having fun as a family.
- Enjoy each other.
Choose activities all can enjoy. One thing we’d do when our kids were young is bake chocolate chip cookies together, taking lots of taste bites and timing it so the cookies came out of the oven just as our favorite TV show started. (That was before DVRs, Netflix, or DVDs!) We’d snuggle on the couch, eating warm cookies as we watched the show. Another thing we enjoyed was having the kids act out Bible Stories. Jim and I were the audience, and our job was to applaud—loudly! Sometimes I’d videotape it and play back later. Lots of laughs, giggles, and fun memories! You’ll notice it does not take a lot of money to have fun together, but it does take discipline to make it happen on a regular basis.
- Be flexible.
What works when your children are 2, 4, and 6 will not work when they are 10, 12, and 14. What meets the needs of your daughters may bore your sons.
- Ask for God’s help.
He will help you come up with creative ideas and solutions for your family’s needs.
- Before bed we’d have a short communion time.
I’d fill five small cups with grape juice and break off five small pieces of bread (or graham crackers or whatever was on hand!) and put them on a plate. I’d then light a candle, turn off all the lights, and call the family together. (Although I could not use a candle when our youngest Jeff was little because he would sing “Happy Birthday” every time and blow out the candle and get his siblings mad at him!)
We’d keep the communion time very short, usually only 5-10 min. Sometimes Jim and I would share how God had been working in our lives…and any answered prayers we’d had. The kids then got a chance to tell us their answers to prayer. Sometimes communion time was as simple as, “Tell the person on your right ‘Jesus loves you’ and so do I.” Then we’d serve communion to that person. Of course we had our share of disaster nights. Sometimes we’d hear, “Danny’s cup has more grape juice than mine!” or “Julie got a bigger cracker than I do! Mooommmmmm!!” On more than one night I felt like saying, “Sit down, shut up, and be blessed.” (So glad I’ve learned not to say the first things that come to my mind!)
Not every Family Night was exciting or successful, but over time the commitment to spending time together deposited much into our kids’ hearts, minds, and spirits. If you have a Family Night that “bombs” don’t give up. Go back to the drawing board and try again! I see the fruit of those times as a family now in how my grown kids live their lives. And those same values of faith and family are being passed down to their kids.
Praying for you and your family!