As family ministries we are convinced: Family is the place where children learn which values are important for life. Of course, this also applies to our faith. Even though there are wonderful programmes such as children's services, children's camps, faith courses, etc. where children can experience who God is, children are most influenced by what their parents model for them.
For this reason, we decided to focus our Family GoCamp on experiencing something together with God as a family. In the morning we started with worship, a drama and input - in a variety of ways and in simple language. We accepted that there was a bit more chaos in the room than in a normal church service and that parents might feel intellectually underchallenged (compared to normal sermons). In exchange, we could demonstrate practically how a family devotion could look like at home.
Afterwards, the families could engage in some crafting and sharing with their children about what they had heard during "creative and quality time". We also encouraged the families to involve their children in the occasional washing-up and cleaning tasks. In the afternoon, there were varied activities with sports and games. In the evening, after the bedtime story, the men, women and teenagers met by their own (on different days). In addition, on one afternoon we enabled parents to spend time as a couple by looking after their children.
Overall, we received a lot of positive feedback from the 8 families that were participating. Here are some of their comments:
"For me it was precious that we could find time as a family to reflect on where we are together as a family with God, what our values are and that we want to hear together what God has in store for us."
"I found it really really nice that the kids were so involved in all the programs, with praying, with eating, with helping ..."
"I liked that we could do the creative times together. We don't have quite as much time together at home and it was nice to see how our girls were able to thrive there."
"I want to practice it more to have quiet time with the kids, as a family ..."
"The children played together, we haven't experienced it like this before - it was quite special how quickly everyone became familiar with each other."