The packages have been opened, the treats have been enjoyed, trips have been taken, and a vague sense of normalcy is beginning to return to homes. Bedtimes start to be reinforced again. Twinkling lights disappear and houses “go dark.” Slowly but surely we leave the “most wonderful time of the year” behind us.
If your family is like mine, the adjustment from the wonder of Christmas or the carefree schedules of vacation or the adventures of spring and fall breaks to the monotony of everyday life can be rocky. Over the past few years, there’ve been a few things that have helped us ease into these transitions a bit more smoothly and disciple our kids in the faith at the same time.
- Learning How To Celebrate…All the Time – As Christians we have the unique opportunity to never live a mundane, monotonous life! Our Savior promised us the gift of abundant life. There is a sense of hope and expectation available to us every single day. Teach your kids to find the treasures in the normal moments of life so when the big hyped-up moments go by, their excitement for life doesn’t wane. Celebrate often!
I encourage families to have three “celebrations” in their back pocket: a 30 second celebration (for small but special victories), a 2 minute celebration (when something pretty incredible has happened and we just need to praise God), and a special event celebration (for us this was a Star Dinner when a person in the family has achieved an important milestone like reading their first book or graduating from college).
- Follow the Calendar – No, not that calendar…the church calendar. Advent and Christmas are just the beginning of the incredible story of God’s promise, appearance, revelation, salvation, resurrection, and indwelling. Epiphany begins on January 6; a season of celebrating God revealing himself to all mankind through the story of the Magi. Easter and Pentecost follow and then the story becomes ours as we enter “ordinary time” made extraordinary by God using us to tell His story. The church calendar is more than just ancient tradition or a way to mark off time; it’s a chance for us to engage the metanarrative of Scripture in our homes with our families. And we can do that all year long. Note: This is my FAVORITE video for explaining the church calendar, check it out!
- Remember Together – The holidays and/or family vacations are often times chock full of activities and experiences that can’t be fully appreciated on the moment because of time constraints or just plain weariness. So, use the time afterward to remember with your family the meaningful moments. Write them down. Send thank you notes. Print the pictures. Then gather together to say “Thank you” to the One who gives the gifts of love, joy, peace, and hope. Re-open again the gifts of Advent and Christmas, this time with a slower pace, and greater chance for gratitude.
We’ve all probably already seen the picture on social media counting down the days to Christmas. But we don’t need to wait a year to experience the joy of celebration again. Let’s make part of our transition to regularly scheduled life include celebration, anticipation, and even thanksgiving by inviting Jesus into our everyday.
This post was originally published by the same author here.
COMING IN 2024
What’s in the works for 2024?
We’re so glad you asked. We are so excited about what we have in store for 2024 including….
- 2 New Family Faith Formation curriculums – Worship Tools and Gospel Tools. These family-focused curriculum help parents/caregivers gain the tools they need to develop discipleship-at-home practices in a community setting. The family learns together with other families how to interact with each other around topics of faith, formation, and fun. You can see our current offerings HERE.
- 4 NEW Free Resources – That’s right! FREE! Each quarter we will offer a free resource to help your families at church and at home to actively engage with Scripture and each other. For our current FREE Resources, check out our website!
- 4 ReFocus Roundtables – ReFocus Roundtables are online discussions around relevant topics in children, youth and family ministries focused on finding ways and spaces to connect generations for discipleship. Each Roundtable has it’s own unique topic such as Including All Ages in Sunday Worship and Developmentally Appropriate Church. We will be hosting 1 each quarter so keep your eyes ope to see how and when you can join us!
- 2 FREE Webinars – Intergen 101 is our 1 hr. Webinar focused on helping provide ministers with the basics of connecting generations. We anticipate offering this at least twice this year!
- A Family VBS Adaptor Curriculum (Make ANY VBS a Family VBS) and trainings for your whole team! – We are incredibly excited about this! We’ve had so many people reach out to us around the topic of creating and running a Family VBS, we’ve decided to put together a resource to help you take any VBS curriculum and turn it into a Family VBS. In addition to the Curriculum Adaptor, we will offer trainings for your team and one-on-one coaching as needed. Details to come!
and so much more!
To get added to our mailing list and receive first dibs on all our offerings, drop an emoji below and send us your email address via messenger or to email@example.com!
REFOCUS MINISTRY COHORTS 2024
Are you interested in going deeper into your understanding of generational discipleship, lifelong faith formation, and intentional discipling community? ReFocus Ministry Cohorts provide ministry leaders with the opportunity to expand their leadership skills in a twelve-week shared learning experience.
Facilitated by Christina, a cohort group of 4-6 individuals from multiple faith organizations meet weekly to explore and apply the principles of leadership in generational discipleship, intergenerational ministry, and church culture transition.
About the Author
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 a pastor at Plowshares Brethren in Christ 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.