Back before lockdown, when self-isolation and social distancing were not terms on our radars, Energize materials were mostly used outside of the home. At youth groups, toddler groups, kids clubs or churches - leaders across the country have been using these resources to help children explore the Bible and what relationship with God might look like. Currently, however, we face a new season - where youth groups happen through group chats, kids clubs happen on YouTube and church takes place from your living room (probably in your pyjamas!).
It seems a shame to see so many great resources sitting on the internet and not being used which is why we recently announced that you can add now add parents and carers to your Energize account free of charge.
So, here are '7 ways' that Energize sessions could be used at home:
If you have a regular group that is usually based on Energize sessions, why not find a way to keep this going? If you are a group leader you could choose a session to correspond with each of your usual group meetings and send out a session for your families to follow at home. It’s probably helpful to add most of the activity options to the session to allow families to choose the ones that suit them best - highlight that they aren’t compulsory! If you’re a parent looking to fill the slot your children would usually attend a group, why not choose a series to work your way through together, picking and choosing activities that work or you. There is also a unique series called 'Energize at Home' with activities that are specifically designed to be done as a family. Here's a link to that series
With lots of people spending their time at home and missing their usual daily activities it seems that lots of new activities are popping up - Zoom quizzes or family takeaway nights over FaceTime seem to be popular, but there is no reason you couldn’t start something new using Energize materials. Why not gather a few families and choose an Energize session to work through - you could do the activities separately and send each other photos of how you got on, or you could even try doing activities together over some kind of video call. There are many items on Energize with videos attached that you can easily watch together and then discuss in small groups. Kleer series is one such video series and there is a link below.
Currently, many parents function as both teacher and parent - a task that many teachers themselves have acknowledged to be an impossible feat. While some children may have been given lots of materials and resources to guide their education at home, other parents find themselves with time to fill with activity. For those in the latter camp, parents might find the Energize materials useful for devising some enjoyable, creative RE lessons which explore faith and beliefs from a Christian perspective.
Sometimes our children will have specific questions, get stuck on a topic or have a fascination with a certain Biblical character. Families can use the search function on the website to look up sessions based around topics that interest them and use them as a chance to dig a little bit deeper into their child’s interest. Here's a link to the search function
Some children love Lego, others baking. Some love drama, while others enjoy quizzes or film clips. If you go into the ‘Search Sessions’ section of the Energize website and click the button that says ‘Item’ under the ‘Type’ heading - you are then able to search for specific activities by Theme. Use the activity type drop-down box to choose activities your children will love and know that in trying it out, they will be exploring a Biblical topic in a fun way. Some of these are a bit generic but it will help you in the beginning stage of parring down the activity of your choice.
If you have children who are old enough, why not use this time to encourage them in their leadership skills in a safe space where you can surround them with help and positive feedback. Give children a section of a session to prepare or lead, and then have them explain it to the rest of the family. Alternatively, you could plan a session or activity together using the Energize and then ‘lead’ it over video call for another family member or friend.
The degree of expertise for multimedia provision varies greatly between churches, as does the resource available to provide for children and families.
You could organise your children’s activities to go alongside a Sunday service if you send out a link to Energize sessions that match the theme. Alternatively, parents might like to search Energize themselves to find activities that enable their children to connect with God and explore the Bible to go along with their Sunday service. Our new series, Energize at Home, is designed for families to do together. In the run-up to Pentecost, they will follow the story of Jesus after His resurrection up until Pentecost.
There is a myriad of ways that you could adapt Energize to suit your family. At Urban Saints, we want to resource you to disciple your family in the best way we can. We are praying for you and hope that in the midst of this pandemic you are finding a way to ‘do you.’
One of the verses that we love is Psalm 78:4
We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
What a great opportunity is presented at this time to develop a discipleship relationship with our children and young people! Who is discipling our young people? We believe you can!