Media

Ideas for Using ‘Strong Women’ this Mother’s Day

We’ve all been shaped, in some way or another, by the love of a strong woman. Maybe it was a mother who, knowing us better than ourselves, made tough choices to help us become the best version of ourselves. Or, maybe it was a teacher who saw through the ruse of laziness and helped us learn things we thought were impossible. Perhaps it’s a friend who has a knack for speaking the truth into our circumstances in strong, but loving ways. Or is it a wife who, with quiet strength, knows just how to make us feel loved and valued when we doubt ourselves the most?

As inspiring author, Shauna Niequist so perfectly states in her book, Bittersweet, “Mother’s Day is… about looking through our lives and recognizing the act of mothering everywhere we see it, and more than that, recognizing that when any of us mother– when we listen, nurture, nourish, protect–we’re doing sacred work.”

This Mother’s Day, use our newest release, Strong Women, to recognize that sacred work within your church community. In this video, four women talk candidly about how their lives have been shaped by the love of their mothers. Watch this heartwarming collaboration of women now, and then click here to purchase:

The women in our lives have long reflected the heart of God in both quiet and tangible ways. With this collection of candid stories about a mother’s influence, celebrate the strength and love of these women as your community honors them this Mother’s Day.

Here are a few easy ideas for including this video in your weekend services:

Strong Women Photo Tribute

In an easily-accessible area (maybe a foyer or unused classroom?), take photos of people celebrating the strength of women in their lives. You can make this as easy or complicated as you want! Have them hold a sign that says, “Your strength taught me…” with a blank area for finishing the statement. (You could use a dry-erase board, a chalkboard, or individual sheets of paper with the prompt pre-printed.) After the picture of their finished statement, snap a quick pic of them holding either the dry-erase/chalkboard or the other side of their paper with an email address or phone number where you can email/send copies of the photos for them to share with the strong women in their lives. Or, if time allows, take the pictures with a smartphone and send them immediately after taking them!

If you have tech-savvy people who can make this happen easily, ask them to put together a super quick slideshow of the photos and show it at the end of your service as a great follow-up to the Strong Women video. Even if the slideshow won’t work, the pictures will be a special way to help folks celebrate Mother’s Day.

Strong Women Name Collage and Prayer

Before service starts, place a small piece of paper or cardstock in each seat. After showing Strong Women, ask everyone to write the name of a strong woman they know and want to honor. Then, invite the congregation to come forward with their paper and attach it to a larger poster you’ve prepared ahead of time (note: depending on your church’s setup and size, it might be easier to have two or three posters along the front of your church). Once all of the names are on the board, take a moment to pray for women in your church, as well as those who influence folks in your church. During this prayer, read names from the poster(s) (as many as time allows) and ask God’s blessings on the lives of these influential women.

Stories of Strong Women

Before showing Strong Women, feature personal stories from your community.

There are two approaches you can take for this activity:

First, you could ask a couple of people in your church ahead of time if they would share for a minute or two about a strong woman who has influenced their lives.

Or, you could have an open mic and invite people to come forward and finish a prompted sentence (such as, “Because of a strong woman in my life, ________.”). We’ve found it helpful in the past to give a head’s up to a few people and ask them to be prepared to share first, to encourage others to participate. You might suggest that they use concise statements to establish brevity (and avoid the need to interrupt someone who goes off-script- ha!).

After a few moments, show Strong Women, and then take a moment to pray for the women in your community.


However you choose to honor women in your church this weekend, we hope you’ll include Strong Women as a way to celebrate the strength of those who reflect the heart of God in our lives.

Media

Pushing My Buttons: Check Out These Ideas!

“You’re really pushing my buttons!”

“He’s really pushing my buttons today.”

“How does she know just how to push my buttons?”

Ah, parenthood. Kids have a special knack for knowing the exact things they can do to get under your skin, am I right? If you have kids, young or old, you probably chuckled a bit or at least felt a sense of camaraderie reading those phrases. Even if you don’t have children, I’ll bet you could hear your dad uttering at least one of them, right?

Our new Father’s Day release really shines a light on this idea, but with a whole new angle that, perhaps, you hadn’t considered before. What if every press of a button is actually your kids’ way of indirectly communicating their feelings to you? What if they’re not just being annoying, but instead, they feel left out or sad about something that happened earlier? We can reflect the heart of God as a loving father in the way we respond to all of those pressed buttons.

If you haven’t watched Pushing My Buttons, check it out now, and then keep reading to find some ideas for using the video in a Father’s Day moment this Sunday.

Ideas for Using Pushing My Buttons

Idea 1: Button Cards

In preparation for the Father’s Day moment in your service, print a copy of the button cards (download below) for every person. You can place them on the seats, in the bulletin, or you could hand them out at the door as folks enter.

Before showing the video, ask them to think of times when they felt like someone was “pushing their buttons”, and on the button side of the card, write a couple of words to describe one of those instances. You might give a couple of examples, like “drinking milk from the jug” or “left dirty clothes on floor”.

Then, show the Pushing My Buttons video.

After the video is finished, ask them to flip to the heart side of the card and write what the “button pusher” might be trying to communicate.

Finish the moment with a prayer thanking God for fathers, and praying that we would reflect the heart of God as a loving father: compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.

Click here to download the button card files (.zip file containing .jpg and .pdf files).

Idea Two: Big Buttons

Before the service, get a couple of large pieces of cardboard or poster board and some red markers. On one, draw a huge circle. On the other, draw a huge heart.

Position the posters in opposite, but easy to access, locations in your sanctuary/auditorium. Place the markers near the posters.

Show the Pushing My Buttons video.

After the video, ask folks to come forward and, on the circle poster, write a word or two about the last time someone “pushed their buttons”. On the heart poster, encourage participants to write a word or two describing what the “button pusher” may have been trying to communicate.

Once it seems that people are finished with the activity, finish the moment with a prayer thanking God for fathers, and praying that we would reflect the heart of God as a loving father: compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.


Hopefully, one of these ideas will work well for you and your church. Or, maybe they’ve given you an original idea to use!

And, of course, don’t forget to purchase and download the Pushing My Buttons video!

Media

What’s New With You? – New Year’s Service Ideas

Now that Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to think about the New Year. Over the next few weeks, your church community will have opportunities to not only think about the answered prayers and blessings from God over the last year, but also to look forward to the new year and anticipate what is to come. Take some time this January to plan with intentionality and think about how to make the most of the coming months.

Our latest video, What’s New With You?, emphasizes how we, as God’s creation, are wired to seek and anticipate new things. After all, our Creator seems to be all about making all things new…

If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out this new video, you can do it now. Then, keep scrolling for a few service ideas!

What’s New With ME?

Give your community a chance to share about something new that God has been doing in their lives. After watching What’s New With You?, put a prompt on the screen that simply says, “What’s New With ME?” and invite folks to come to a microphone and share (briefly) about something new that God has done in their lives.

(Pro Tip: We’ve found that it can sometimes be helpful to offer a “fill in the blank” sort of prompt, to avoid time-consuming rabbit trails. An idea for this would be:

“What’s new with me? God has blessed me with _______.”

The key to this approach is having a couple of designated people ahead of time who will volunteer to be first and give good examples of a concise response, such as, “What’s new with me? God has blessed me with a new job.”)

Word of the Year

New Year’s Resolutions can be overwhelming! Trying to think through every aspect of your life and choosing one thing to improve is challenging. Instead of resolutions, some people find it helpful to choose a single word through which to filter every aspect of their lives for the coming year.  For example, someone might choose “Simplify” and then work to simplify their belongings, their schedule, and their work load for the coming year.

For this idea, we suggest placing a blank index card on each seat before the service begins (Helpful hint: Have one person at the rear of the auditorium with extra index cards that can be distributed as needed).

After watching What’s New With You? together, ask everyone to take out their blank card. Spend a few moments sharing about the concept of choosing a “Word of the Year”, then give a minute or two of silence and ask folks to think and pray about their word for 2019. (You may wish to have quiet instrumental music at this point in the service.) Once this time has passed, have them write their word on the card, bring it to a designated spot in the auditorium (we like the idea of a container at the front), and then return to their seats. When everyone has placed their card in the container, take time to pray over the cards and ask God to bless the words and help them come to fruition in the coming year.

Media

Valentine’s Day Church Service Ideas

Valentine’s Day is almost here! What better time to share the incredible love of God than this holiday, when everyone is already thinking lovely thoughts?

So, if you ask almost any church-going person to define Biblical love, odds are that they’ll start quoting one of two passages… either John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” or 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind…”. I think it’s safe to say that most of us have at least a basic understanding of what Paul was writing to the people at Corinth when he shared his definitions of love. But how many of us can say that we live it out in our everyday lives?

Our new Valentine’s Day release, Love Actually Is, explores exactly what it looks like to live a life that reflects God’s love. Check it out now!

Wondering how to use our new video in a church service? Read on for some suggestions!

Valentine Cards

If you have a kid in elementary school, you’re probably familiar with Valentine Mailboxes. The theory is that each student makes/decorates a box for her classmates to deposit cards into on Valentine’s Day. We’re going to use that concept for our first suggestion.

Ahead of the service, construct six shoebox-sized boxes that have a small opening in which to place a small paper. On each of the boxes, write one of the qualities that love IS/DOES:

  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Protects
  • Trusts
  • Hopes
  • Perseveres

Place these boxes either on the stage, or at another location in your auditorium that is easily accessible.

Also before service, print these heart cards (they’d be extra awesome on cardstock if it’s in your budget/supply closet), and make sure each person attending gets a card. You could place one on each seat in the auditorium, include them in your Sunday bulletin, or recruit a couple of people to hand them out as folks enter the auditorium.

After showing Love Actually Is, invite everyone to take out their heart cards. Prompt them to think of one of the “love chapter” qualities that they can put into action over the next week. Encourage them not to be vague, but to think of a specific task that they can reasonably complete over the next 5-7 days. Research shows that we are more likely to achieve goals when we get SUPER specific! Once they’ve set their mind on a task, ask them to write a word on their heart to symbolize the action step. This could be a name, a descriptive word, a location… whatever helps them identify their goal.

Once everyone has completed this activity, invite them to place their hearts into the box that most describes the action step that they wrote on the card. You could either sing a worship song or play soft instrumental music during this time. We think it would work well either before or after the sermon, so do whatever works best for you!

As an alternate (in case time or space prohibits the above steps), you could eliminate the boxes altogether, and ask people to keep their heart card as a reminder to complete the task they identified during the activity.

1 Corinthians 13 – A Responsive Reading

After you’ve shown Love Actually Is, invite your community to pause for a moment and reflect on what it means to exhibit Christ-like love. Then, explain that you’re going to slowly read through 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and as you do so, you’d like people to either stand or raise their hand when they hear a quality of love that they’d like to be better-developed in themselves:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Once you’ve completed the scripture reading, invite your congregation to join in this responsive reading* based on the passage (click here to download a PDF of the reading):

God of Love,
We confess we are sometimes impatient, and often unkind.
We are quick to envy, and find subtle ways to boast.
There are times we are rude, and lift ourselves up as we put others down.
Loving God, teach us to love.

God of Love,
We confess that we are quickly angered.
We are quick to record how often we’ve been wronged.
There are times we celebrate the misfortune of others.
Loving God, teach us to love.

God of Love,
We confess that we put ourselves first.
We’re reluctant to give, we are slow to sacrifice.
There are times we hesitate to protect.
Loving God, teach us to love.

When we are tempted to judge, to assume the worst…
May love remind us to trust
When we are tempted to despair, to assume all is lost…
May love remind us to hope
When we are tempted to give up, to assume it will never happen…
May love remind us to persevere

All:  Loving God teach us to love. Amen.

(Credit: Dan Loewen, re:think worship)

*Congregation reads the lines printed in bold.

Loving Well

After your community has watched Love Actually Is, encourage them to think of someone in their lives who has loved them well, and has done a good job of exemplifying this kind of love toward them.

You could take this activity one of two ways:

First, you could have an “open mic” time where you invite people to come to the microphone and share briefly about this person who has loved them well. We suggest a specific prompt to encourage everyone to be respectful of others’ time. For example, “I have been loved well by ____. He/She demonstrated that love is/is not _____ by _____.” (Have them choose one of the qualities about love from the 1 Corinthians 13 passage: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  For example: I have been loved well by my Aunt Teresa. She demonstrated that love is kind by giving me a place to stay when I had an argument with my parents.

Or, as an alternative activity, you could provide these heart cards to each person, and encourage them to take a moment and write a quick note to the person they identified as loving them well.

Short-Term Small Group: Compassion

If you have a group of people who seem extremely motivated to learn more about developing the characteristics of love described in 1 Corinthians 13, we’d like to encourage you to start a new Small Group for your congregation. Our new Short Films For Small Groups collection contains 6 weeks’ worth of videos and thoughtful discussion, and we especially think the Compassion: Short Films for Small Groups product would be fitting for this topic.

We hope that at least one of these ideas has resonated with you and that you’re excited to focus on love with your church community! If you use one of our ideas, we’d love to hear about it- send an email to info@worshiphousemedia.com and tell us how it goes.

Don’t forget to click the button below to purchase and download Love Actually Is!

Media

Father’s Day Ideas for Using You Don’t Have to…

Dad jokes. Dad bods.

We sure like to poke fun at dads, don’t we? I think we’re all guilty- dads included. But how often do we praise fathers? And no, I don’t mean being overly impressed that a dad is capable of caring for his children… we see you, sweet lady at the grocery store, acting like dad deserves a Nobel Prize because he’s running errands alone with the kids. It’s called parenting and, believe it or not, dads are truly just as capable as moms!

Seriously, though, when was the last time you told a dad in your life that you are proud of him, or that you see how well he loves his kiddos? Dads are capable of some superhero-level things, and they are deserving of encouragement and praise.

Our new Father’s Day video, You Don’t Have to Save the World, is a really fun “suspense trailer” style of video that emphasizes how dads often save the day- but reminds us that being a good dad isn’t really about heroics, but about presence.

If you haven’t watched it yet- check it out now. Then read on for some GREAT ideas for this Sunday! (Oh and warning… it’ll have you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the twist at the end!)

We’d like to offer you a few suggestions on ways to incorporate this video into a Father’s Day moment this Sunday.

Recognizing Presence

Before the service, place index cards on each seat in the auditorium. After showing the video, invite everyone to think about their father or a father-figure who has demonstrated the gift of presence in their lives. Then, encourage them to write the name of this special man on the card and bring it to the front of the room. The cards can be placed into a box/container, OR (if you’re feeling especially ambitious) you could have a poster made ahead of time with a heart or the word “dad” drawn on it and ask them to attach their cards to the poster. Once all of the cards have been brought forward, join in a special prayer moment, thanking God for the men represented by each card and asking God to help remind us to show them our gratitude if they are still living.

Superheroes

As each person comes into your church service, offer them a name tag sticker (it could be either the “hello my name is” style, or just a blank sticker), and ask them to write their favorite superhero’s name on it. Then, have them wear the sticker as they go into the auditorium. When you get to the Father’s Day portion of your service, ask each person to think about what makes their chosen superhero so awesome… is it a specific skill, bravery, strength? Talk about how these same qualities are also what make dads so amazing, and then play the video.

A Moment to Share

After you play the video, invite folks to share about their dads. Before service, set up a microphone on a stand (or two, depending on the size of your church and congregation). Ask people to come and tell everyone something great about their dad or a father figure in their lives. We know that not everyone has a positive backstory regarding their dads, so it’s a great idea to clearly and verbally offer an alternative to sharing strictly about biological fathers. We strongly encourage having a script for them to complete, such as “My dad saved the world by ________”- this prevents a lot of the variables that often occur with an open-mic moment. In fact, we would even project the phrase onscreen to keep speakers on task. Also, ahead of time, contact 2-3 people and ask them to be prepared to share first, which will help others want to participate!

Hopefully, you’ll find something that works well for your congregation in this list of ideas! Or maybe you already have something awesome planned! We’d love for you to drop us a line at info@worshiphousemedia.com and tell us all about your Father’s Day service.