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Souper Starry Night: An Intergenerational Invitation

During the season of Lent, ReFocus is excited to invite a number of guest authors to share their thoughts on ways that all generations can engage with Lent and worship, learn, and grow together during this season. Today’s guest blogger is DeDe Reilly who serves as the Director of Family Ministries at Macland Community Church. She shares with us an example of an intergenerational gathering that incorporates all ages in a time of learning and loving together. Thank you, Dede, for sharing this story with us and offering inspiration as we plan our own intergenerational opportunities this Lenten season.

Intentionally Multigenerational is one of our core values. We intentionally set the table(s) to connect every age group, at least three generations, in discipleship and worship faith formation experiences. Souper Starry Night is one of those church-wide gatherings friendly for all ages and stages.

Folks signed up to bring hot soups in crockpots, moon pies, chips, and water bottles. They also signed up if they wanted to play an instrument/sing, serve on the parking team (directing before and after), staging team (decor and take down), music team, dinner team (receive and set out), trash team (bag it and take it), and assist in the star activity stations.

With sharpies at the front of the serving line, folks wrote their names on large styrofoam cups (bowls are much too cumbersome to carry around and chat) and kept their original cup for refills. I confess I went through the soup line twice. So yummy!

Music selection was background music then songs co-led by the kids with full participation by the kids-at-heart from old VBS music like Waves of Mercy to classics such as I’ve Got Peace Like a River to I’ll Fly Away. It was the perfect time for a guitar-playing Jesus guy to play in public for the very first time coached on by our fantastic Worship Coordinator.

With COMMUNITY in our name, we’ll continue to meet and gather in public spaces and outdoors as often as possible. Souper Starry was hosted by a saint with a huge piece of land and a creek flowing in the back. The building had a roof and two out of four sides which used to house an RV, I think. A gracious gift of ‘what’s in my hand’. She’ll be getting a gift card and flowers when I return later this week to pick up my Solo Fire Pit which was WAY too hot to transport.

Star stations were spread out from the party barn to the creek:

Station #1 – Bag
Write your name on a bag with the sharpie.
Use this bag to collect all your goodies from each station.
Psalm 148:3 “Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you shining stars.”

Station #2 – Tapple
Play a game of Tapple with others at the table.
Category: Things in the sky
Genesis 1:16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.

Station #3 – Prayer
Pick up a gold star.
As you hold the star in your hand, pray outloud…..
S – Say
“Dear Lord….”
T – Thank
“Thank you Lord for (name 3 people & why)
A – Adore
“You are a great God who put the stars in the sky to give us light in the night. Thank you for being so kind and wise.”
R – Remember
“Lord, help to remember you in the morning, during the day, at night, when I’m alone, when I’m afraid, when I am sad, and when I am happy. Lord, help me to remember you are with me always.”
You can keep the gold star.

Station #4 – Family
Write the name of all of your family (or draw a picture) thanking God for each one.
Using the clothespin, clip each star to the celebration frame.
You are part of the Macland Community Church family!
Choose an ornament painted by MacKids and hang it somewhere at home to remember to pray for your church, ‘cuz your church is praying for you!
Exodus 32:13  “Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever,” Moses said.

Station #5 – Draw
Connect the dots to draw a star.
Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

Station #6 – Count
Guess how many marshmallow stars are in the container?
Place a star sticker on the paper and write the number you think are in the container.
Psalm 147:4 “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”
(At the end of the night, whoever came closest without going over received a box of Moon Pies, which turned out to be a lovely high schooler.)

3:30pm-5:30pm Staging
5:30-6:15pm Soup dinner & Star activity stations
6pm Fire pit ready for marshmallows
6:15-6:45pm Music & message
6:45pm Lingering
7pm Cleanup begins

Souper Starry Night was the perfect way to rest and laugh a bit after the first couple of intense days of preparing a new space we closed on just three days prior.

We have six more days of multigenerational hands-on labor to do before our first official worship service. Though, I really believe that anything we do joyfully that tells Jesus, “I LOVE YOU!”, even cleaning bathrooms and pressure washing sidewalks, is worship. 

This blog post was originally shared on Dede’s blog here.

DeDe Reilly serves the families of all ages and stages of Macland Community Church, a Global Methodist Church, located in Cobb County north of Atlanta. Married to Mr. Bob for 40 years, she’s Mom to two amazing adults with families and Mimi to four. In her spare time she’s an avid LSU fan and enjoys networking and connecting with others loving littles and bigs to Jesus.


Have you ever been to an eye doctor and they flip different lenses in front of your eyes and say, “Better or worse?” on repeat. And finally you land on a set of lenses that helps the whole world become clearer and once you’ve seen it, you’ll never go back?

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Vacation Bible School is often one of the highlights of the church year. It’s fun! It’s loud! It’s got snacks! But over the years, more and more churches have been wondering, “Has VBS run its course? Is it effective? Are we reaching our community?”

Let’s imagine a different kind of VBS.

Imagine the entire family moving through a faith experience together; playing games, building crafts, maybe even a short parent training on faith formation at home… all happening at one of your cherished church events – VBS!!

Now imagine a tool that helps make it all possible. Welcome to the Family VBS Curriculum Adapter!

This resource will go LIVE on Thursday, February 1, 2024. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for ways to purchase!

About the Founder of ReFocus Ministry

Christina Embree is the founder and director of ReFocus Ministry. She holds a masters in ministry focused on Children, Youth, and Family Ministry and a doctorate in spiritual formation with a focus on age segregation and intergenerational ministry.

In addition to coaching churches of multiple denominations and traditions all around the globe, Christina serves as the Minister of Generational Discipleship for the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ and as Next Gen pastor at Open Door Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

She is widely recognized as a speaker and author in the areas of generational discipleship, intergenerational ministry, and family ministry. As the mother of three children, she is familiar with the challenges of faith at home and pastoral ministry. She along with her husband Luke share a love for the church, their community, and the global work of peace and restoration through Jesus.

Interested in having Christina visit your church, speak at your conference, or coach your team?

Christina speaks on a wide range of topics related to children, youth, and family ministry with a unique focus on connecting generations for discipleship within your church. Her personalized approach allows you to pinpoint the needs of your community and gain the insight that you are looking for. Whether this is a volunteer team training and pastoral staff meeting or a ministerial conference, her experience and knowledge will help you determine the next step forward in creating lifelong disciples.

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