A little over a week ago, we hosted a Good Friday event for families at Gateway. It was amazing and I want to share how and what we did to pull it offer. First though, let me give you some of the background.
I’ve been at Gateway for just under 5 years and this is the third year since I’ve been at Gateway that we’ve done anything on Good Friday. They began with a Programing and Arts Director that came to Gateway just over three years ago. The first year, it was just a service. We offered children’s programing for kids up to 5th grade because the content in the service was too mature for kids. It was a great service and it felt good to be doing something for our people on Good Friday. Last year we made a switch to provide a “come and go” multi sensory experience. People arrived on the campus and were handed a map and a schedule and encouraged to hit as many things as they had time for. There was a service with communion. there was a space that showed short films, there was an art gallery, there was a room with prayer stations and there were displays with diagrams and replicas of the spikes and whips used on Jesus along with several other venues.
Last year, we pulled the trigger a little late for this Good Friday experience and didn’t have the time we would have like to plan a similar venues and events for kids/families. So, we had childcare up to age 4 and two scheduled events for families. It was okay. Because things were planned so late, I wasn’t even able to attend due to a prior engagement. However, the experience planted a seed to do something really significant this year… and that is what we did.
This year we created an amazing, multi-sensory experience designed for kids and their families that would truly teach kids (and even their parents) the significance of Good Friday. We called it Journey through the Passion. Families would arrive and watch a 4 minute orientation video to set up the experience. Each child was then given a passport. This passport was a 16 page document (designed to look just like a real passport) that would guide them through five different venues as they learned and experienced the final week leading up to the cross. The Passports explained each venue, the context of what was happening in Holy Week and closed with 2-3 questions the family could discuss before moving on to the next venue. Oh, and just like any passport, there was a place to get your passport stamped by a guide at each venue.
Kids were able to visit venues in any order they liked as long as they ended with a station called “Meaning of the Mystery.”
The five venues were:
- Palm Sunday Donkey Walk
- Spotless Lamb Petting Corral
- Bag of Silver Craft Tent
- Passover Meal
- Meaning of the Mystery
Pretty cool, huh?
This week I’ll publish posts describing everything we did to pull off this event. Honestly, it wasn’t very hard to pull off. We had almost 400 kids come through (that how many passports we handed out), not sure how many parents. This means we probably had somewhere between 1000-1300 people participate. Stay tuned for more details.
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