Tag: Family Event

Good Friday Family Event: Summary

If you’ve visited this site in the past two weeks, you’ve probably seen something about the Good Friday event we held almost three weeks ago. I didn’t hold anything back, everything we did is here. Below I’ll post all the links to the individual posts for quick reference.

I must say that this past Easter was the best Easter weekend experience I can remember. From Good Friday to Saturday and Sunday Easter services with our Family Egg-a-Palooza in the middle, it was hands down amazing. No doubt about it, we’ll do the Good Friday experience again. As a team, we’ve talked about just making some slight modifications to what we did this year and improve the whole experience  We can change the content enough that it would feel new and unique, maybe changing out one or two of the stations.

The idea that came to us for the next version of the Family Good Friday Experience is where the event is more like a scavenger hunt. Rather than getting stamps in a passport, families are seeking pieces to a larger puzzle that will come together after they have visited all the stations that we’ve put in place. It could be a new twist.

I’ve also decided that we will have a phone app to pull this off. We’re in the process of building the content of a Family portal on our website for all things kids/students and resources at Gateway which would easily translate to a mobile app. The Good Friday Family Experience next year could be the perfect opportunity to launch the app. Regardless, we will use the app in parent’s phone to scan QR codes throughout the event to link to videos that will tell families more about each station. The more ways we can engage families, the better.

Below are the links in this series:

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Good Friday: Meaning of the Mystery

All the stations as part of the Good Friday Family Experience were great hands on environments that introduced kids to the events of Holy Week, but without focus, they could all seem fairly random as well. It was very important that there was an opportunity to bring all the pieces together and connect the dots. That was the point of the station, Meaning of the Mystery.

This was a veyr simple station, We took one of our large group environments, turned down the lights and used colored LED lights to create atmosphere and only light a very small section of the stage so that there were no distractions and only one focal point. Every came in every 20 minutes and sat on the floor around the stage. Our smallest group was about 25-30 and our largest was a little over 100. We did 6 in all though.

It was essentially a 12-15 minute talk that brought all the pieces together. On the stage I had 5 boxes. A heart was in the first, an apple in the second, a stuffed animal lamb in the third, a crown in the forth and a cross in the 5th. Over the 12-15 minutes, a story was told using an element from each box to support the story. This technique kept the kids engaged to the story because there was a new visual every 2-3 minutes with anticipation for the next one and it connected to much of what they had just experienced.

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Good Friday: Bag of Silver Craft Tent

Okay, this wasn’t really a craft tent. We started with an idea and it morphed as we got closer to the event. The betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver was a major event of Holy Week, so we wanted to connect the kids to this as well. So, we decided to order little pouches and a bunch of silver coins. That might be an understatement. We planned for 500 kids, so we ordered 15,000 silver coins. Let me tell you, 15,000 of anything is a crazy! It was awesome. We had a treasure chest box, so we filled it to overflowing with the pouches easily accessible to the sides.


Here’s the idea we went with. Judas had a weakness… money. For him he had a price and that happened to be 30 pieces of sliver. The scriptures state that there may have been some things that happened that week that were outside Judas’ control (that’s a completely different conversation), but I’m convinced that things happened the way that they did with Judas because of a an area of sin that he didn’t have under control. The love and temptation of money was too much for him to handle.

As families entered the room, our hosts (who were a cross between used car salesmen and game show hosts) interacted with everyone. The promised money (silver coins) to perform various actions in front of the crowd. Many kids did the chicken dance for a few pieces of plastic, several adults recited all the words they knew to variou 80’s hits. It was fun, but then the point was made that in the same way we can all be convinced to do something embarrassing or funny, Judas was temped to do something unspeakable, and he did it.

Kids went into the tent, grabbed a pouch and counted out 30 pieces of silver. Once they got their coins, they had time to read through the passport page about this station and discuss the questions.

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Good Friday: Passover Meal

One of the stations we were most excited about was the Passover Meal. What happened at this important meal was huge. Too often, the topic of the last supper is cut short. Sure, it’s important because that is where Jesus did the first communion and it is where the story gets really interesting when Jesus rats out Judas with his plan to betray him. These are important parts of the overall plot, but there is so much more to this meal than those things and we wanted to capture that in this station. On several occasions, we referred to this station as a seder meal, but there were several who cautioned us against using that term in particular. This meal is very significant to the Jewish faith and we wanted to make sure we didn’t dishonor it. Instead, this station was simply about teaching what happened at the Passover Meal.

With the number of kids coming through this event, we considered many options on how to create a meaningful experience. I wanted to do whatever was possible to get the actual food on the table in front of these kids. I wanted to engage their sight, touch, smell and taste. It was a big hit as both parents and their kids walked out knowing so much.

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We had fun with this breakout. We decorated the room to look like a 1st century dinner. We got 8 foot tables and put two of them side to side so that we could comfortably seat 12 people at each table. We covered with table clothes and burlap accents. We put the LED candles on every table and adjusted the room’s stage lights to light up each table with a soft glow. The room was incredibly inviting. At the front, we set up a cooking station where Chris, our Student Pastor would lead the station. We made it to look and feel like a cooking show. Chris wore what a chef would wear, he had stainless steel tables, food processors and even a cutting board with a “cutting cam.” We literally took one of our video cameras, hung it above the cooking area and displayed the image on the screen to the right of the stage. Chris could show the entire room what he was preparing just by holding it over the cutting board. It was so much fun, everyone LOVED it!

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Good Friday Family Event: Lambs and Donkeys

We held two stations outside and they were huge hits. A donkey riding station and a little lamb petting zoo.

Donkey Walk 

With the Donkey Walk, we wanted to introduce the part of the story where Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey. Funny thing, when I wrote the material for the passport, I imagined a wobbly little donkey. The donkey’s we got were beasts. Now they were stubborn and difficult like donkeys can be, but they weren’t little or wobbly.

The passport guided families around this experience  but I’m not going to lie. The only thing kids had on their mind at the Donkey Walk was getting on a donkey. It was fun and highly attractional. The only problem we ran into was that some people parked their cars, saw the line forming and decided to jump in line before getting the passport. Initially, we had some volunteers make an issue of it… and some people were bothered. We had to make sure our volunteers understood that it was best to direct people inside before they got in line if at all possible, but it wasn’t the end of the world if a kid did the Donkey Walk before they got the passport. Some of those kids got their arm or hand stamped instead.

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Spotless Lamb Petting Corral

This was just your typical run of the mill petting zoo, but we only had lambs. We didn’t make a big deal out of it, just let kids into the corral to pet them. We didn’t want to push the envelope telling all the kids that it was lambs like this that were slaughtered for your sins, but we didn’t avoid the subject either. This mostly all came together in the final station, the Meaning of the Mystery. We did try to tell the story of how Jesus came into the temple where there was chaos as all the merchants were trying to sell lambs for the sacrifice.

These two outdoor venues were the most expensive part of the whole experience, costing a little over $1500 for the four hours. Totally worth it though if you can make it happen.

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Good Friday Family Event: Passport and Event Guide

I’ve been writing about our Good Friday Family Event. Below are the documents that were essential to the event. One was the passport that every kid received. It guided them through the whole experience. It was connected to the Good Friday Event Guide which had info on all the stations, both for just adults and families. This guide had descriptions of the family stations, but more importantly, it included a map.

Also, a few hours before the event, we sent an email out to every parent in our database with a final invite to our Good Friday experience along with a link to these documents, so that way they could have a digital copy on them while they were there.

We’ve got some ideas of how to morph this for next year, going more digital, but I’ll wrap up this series with things we’re thinking about for next year. Below are the documents.

passport EventGuide

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Good Friday Family Event: Orientation Video

When people walked on the campus, they were directed to the kid’s building if they had kids. Once they were greeted at the door, they had the opportunity to check in their younger kids (4 and under) into childcare and all others were pointed toward the “Journey through the Passion” orientation. We wanted to make sure that everyone understood what was going to happen this night, how to use the passport and what they needed to make sure they did in case they didn’t have time to do it all.

The orientation video was a four minute video with a 3 minute countdown on the front end. The first orientation began right at 5:00 (when the event started), meaning the orientation video began playing at 5:03. As soon as the video was over, families were escorted out the back of the building where they could access some of the stations while new families came into the orientation room through the front doors. We ran the orientation every 10 minutes from 5:00 until 7:20 (I think) so that even if a family came right near the end, they could at least visit one or two stations before everything shut down at 8:00.

Here’s the video:

KQ Good Friday Experience from Gateway Church on Vimeo.

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Good Friday Family Event

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.

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Hosting a real drive-in movie

Here’s an idea I had several years ago and has proven to be a very effective event. Four times a year I plan a drive-in movie to hold my church parking lot. Here’s what I do. I project the movie on a large screen on...

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