Missing Church?  Here’s How Families Are Keeping the Faith At Home

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

This year will go down in the history books as one of great struggles unlike we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes.

Between the global health crisis and its economic consequences, many families are feeling the stress, including depression and anxiety due to loss of routine and activities.

Many of us turn to our religious services for comfort, but families have also had to adjust as church services have been suspended or restricted – so how are we keeping the faith?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned during these times of uncertainty, it’s that human beings are good at adapting to circumstances out of their control.

And more importantly, these difficult times often strengthen our faith.

But with state lockdowns and shutdowns in recent months and many restrictions on groups still in place, we have not been able to turn to our houses of worship for the comfort we so desperately need.

A 2018 Pew Research Center study conducted on the most important reasons people attend in-person church services shows just how much of an impact the shutdown of churches has on families.

Over 80 percent of respondents said they go to church to feel closer to God.  And more than 60 percent stated they attend services to give their children a good moral and spiritual foundation, as well as the overall comfort it brings that we are leading lives worthy of our faith.

And nearly 70 percent say that attending church is essential to their emotional well-being during times of uncertainty, stress, and illness.

So it goes without saying that people miss attending church now more than ever.

Missing these services has been challenging for families.  The comfort and routine of attending church strengthens family bonds and helps set a positive tone for the week ahead.

And children are often provided with a foundation of religious education through Sunday School, youth groups, and activities like choir practice and service work through the church.

There are many ways to “keep the faith” going at home as families all over the country continue to be faced with restrictions on in-person services at houses of worship within their communities.

Families are getting creative and reaching out to their congregations to make sure their children are still able to find comfort in their faith-based routines and church families.

Most churches are streaming their services online, and this is a great way to continue to worship as a family.

Others are holding Bible study sessions and virtual Sunday School classes so kids and parents can stay connected with this vital link to their communities.

And even if your church home has limited offerings online, you and your family can create your own virtual meetings with members of your church or even other friends and neighbors.

This is a great way to introduce people in your community to one another – especially those who may not attend church on a regular basis (or at all) – and is a perfect opportunity to reach out and include those you may know are most in need of comfort, like senior citizens and those with health concerns.

There are plenty of other ways to bring faith-based activities into your family’s routine as we continue to adapt to this health crisis.

Set a time aside each day or on Sundays for reading the Bible as a family and even sing some of your favorite hymns.

And this is a great opportunity for the kids to speak up and share their concerns about these uncertain times and learn to pray for others who may be experiencing the same thing.

There are many resources online that offer fun – and free – ideas for activities that help foster faith.

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Printables, games, and stories found online can be implemented as part of your “new normal” routine with the kids.

They can be incorporated into your new homeschool or distance learning day at home, can be done as part of home playdates or time spent with other family members, and can keep the kids busy as we continue to stay close to home.

While reading the Bible as a family or after your online church service, kids can draw what they feel the Bible passage of the day represents to them or can complete an online coloring sheet of a passage or sermon.

They can keep a prayer list of their own concerns and connect with their friends and family to make their own “prayer tree” over the phone or during a virtual call.

We’ve also seen many stories on the news of families using this time to make up their own at-home service projects.

From making masks to putting together kits of school supplies to collecting canned goods and supplies for those who are elderly or unemployed, a family service project can teach children to serve others – a major tenant of faith.

However your family has adapted to limited services in your house of worship, one thing is clear…

Families are finding ways to keep their faith strong at home through creativity, connection, and working together to maintain this essential part of our lives.

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