What do we do with the kids? That’s a great question that will ultimately be answered collectively by the entire group. The make-up of the group will factor heavily into the approach that is taken. Here are a few options that may be worth considering or that may generate other ideas. Each group should remember that, as they work through this together, that the children are a part of the family as well; and that this time could be made to be extremely enriching and formative for them.
- Include the children in the entire meeting. This would be a good option with infants or young children who are able to sit and play quietly.
- Include the children in a part of the meeting (i.e. food, worship, opening). Then have a separate bible study/meeting for the children. In this case the group members could rotate the responsibility of leading this so that no one has to miss out each week.
- Hire a babysitter to provide care for the entire meeting. This may be an option for young children who are unable to be left alone or if the group chooses not to have a separate Bible study time. In this instance the parents could share in the cost of the sitter.
- Have one week each quarter where the children are fully included and the time (bible study, worship, etc) is geared towards them.
Food and Fellowship
Do we have to eat a meal together? No, definitely not. But each meeting should have some beverages and snacks available. Sharing food together is a theme found throughout the Bible, and for good reason. For example, having a drink in hand or a plate full of snacks often serves a great security blanket for someone who might be anxious or not naturally good at conversation. Ultimately, sharing a meal with a person or group of people is one way that cultures have always demonstrated fellowship and togetherness. There is a great deal of theology involved here with the way that we share the Lord’s Supper with Christ and one another.
Each group will decide for themselves whether or not they will eat a meal together or just have drinks and snacks. This decision will depend on the time of the meeting and preferences of the group. Whichever choice is made, each group should remember that this is less about feeding hungry people and more about the strange way that a drink and a snack takes down walls and helps people to feel more comfortable.
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