If you have been around Christ Community, even to visit on a Sunday, you quite possibly have heard us talk about being a 2-service family. We want to help define the term and dispel the myths surrounding this “insider” lingo.
In short, this means folks attending one service for corporate worship and serving during another. For families with kids, that can look a lot of different ways. It may mean children attend their age-appropriate class during both services, while parents attend corporate worship at one service and serve during another. Or, kids might attend class while parents serve, and then the whole family attends corporate worship together. For families with older kids, it might mean the whole family serves together during at one of the services and attends corporate worship together as a family during another. We love all of it!
As each campus grows, so does our need for volunteers, especially in Children’s Ministries. This is a win-win for everyone! This creates the opportunity to become a 2-service family, which is also an opportunity to grow as a family in faith and in relationship in the church, which has lasting and eternal impact for your kids. There’s something about kids being in a corporate worship service with their parents. They see how to do “big church,” they see their parents worship and pray, they see them take notes or look in their Bible, and they have the opportunity to talk as a family about the sermon afterward.
When you serve together as a family, you not only teach your kids selflessness, but it also allows your kids to make valuable relationships as they serve with other adults in the church and have other God-loving people speak into their life. All these things add to the likelihood that your kids will “stick with” their faith, even after they have left your home.
But I get it, it’s our job to say this stuff, so don’t just take it from us. Let’s hear what a few of our families who have adopted this habit have to say about it.
MEET SOME OF OUR FAMILIES >
Read below about a few of the ins and outs and obstacles of this life-changing choice by some of our families.
(Click on a question below to read the answers.)
1. Why have you committed to be a 2-service family? What made you decide this was important for your family?
Weigand: “We decided to move to two services because we wanted to have our kids experience worship with us and other adults, as well as making connections with peers their own age.”
Welch: “We thought it was important to attend a service with our kids as a family but we also felt the desire to be involved in serving. We wanted to show our kids how important it is to be part of a community and serve others.”
Fox: “I wanted to be involved and contribute. I also wanted my daughter to feel like we are committed to Sundays and show her what serving looks like.”
Ott: “We have long been passionate about worshiping together as a family, squirmy children and all. We also recognize the value our boys receive from lessons and activities designed for their age group. We love being a two-service family because it allows our boys to experience both multi-generational corporate worship as a family and age-appropriate teachings amongst their friends.”
Mary & Mike Poggie: “Mike and I both grew up with some disjointed Sunday School experiences. And we either felt like outsiders…or like we were being punished by our parents. So when we (trepidatiously) started sending Claire as a toddler, we couldn’t believe the pure joy she experienced in “church friends.” It was her favorite activity of the week. And, not only that, she was genuinely learning! And we realized that this program was something very cool and we wanted to be able to help in any way we could. Church is free. Children’s Ministries is free. Our entire family was being served in a quality way every single weekend and it just sort of made sense to us to not only be a part of a community that our daughter was building, but to also give back to an organization that has given us so much. And an extra…ninety minutes? maybe?… isn’t that much of a time commitment in the long run. “
Emily & Mark Hartter: “We decided to be a 2-service family because we want to serve and invest in the church body as well as participate in a worship service.”
2. How has this change been a positive experience for your family? or how have you been blessed by this experience? or seen God at work?
Welch: “We tend to serve in the classes our kids are in, and we get to help guide them. They get to see how we feel about God as well.”
Fox: “We have met many people we would not otherwise have met. The time in between services is time to get to know other volunteers that are serving. We feel like Sunday mornings are really all about time at church and not just coming and going, but really engaging and talking with people because we are at both services.”
Miller: “We were SO blessed getting to just simply spend time with all of the kids in our classes, seeing their hearts and learning about them, listening to their questions and exploring them together. For me personally, as a baby Christian just baptized, I felt like I learned so much from these amazing kids. Multiple times I felt like God spoke to me through them.”
Ott: “Where do we even start?! It is hard to describe the feeling we get when we hear our boys singing (or in Prosper’s case, whistling) out the hymns alongside so many other voices. Or when mid-week, one of the boys asks or comments about something they heard in the sermon: They are really listening to – and contemplating – Paul & Bill’s words! Because we worship together, we have an hour every week when we are physically close to each other, hand-in-hand, or arm-around-shoulder, or head-resting-against-side. Although they don’t often say it, it is clear in their actions that our boys love this as much as we do.”
Long: “We are able to talk about these ‘moments of service’ at dinner times throughout the week. It just helps us to reinforce to our kids to have an attitude of service.”
Sogard: “It is also good for the kids to realize that church is about everybody there, not just us and what we want to do on a Sunday.”
Damron: “For me the relationships I’ve developed with the girls and frankly all the kids has been most rewarding. Sometimes I watch them during [Kid’s Singing/Worship] and am overtaken by the Spirit to the point of tears. I stop singing and just listen to their innocent voices singing in unison…not harmony…unison, and it is beautiful. Lily said we tend to, as a family, approach this as a service we do for others…a common goal that unites our family. She also said she appreciates the responsibility given to her when she serves.”
Weber: “There’s something about serving that just uplifts us – it’s carried over into our relationships outside of children’s ministries, and even outside of the church. Serving every week has molded our hearts into feeling like serving people and is spilling over into serving outside of the church.”
Mary & Mike Poggie: “This is church-family cultural immersion, man. I’m always telling people more often than necessary that we’re naturally church introverts. Come in late. Sit in the back. Leave immediately when it’s done. Don’t make eye contact. We went to church for almost three years and those sweet people kept welcoming us as new every Sunday. When we decided to join our newest campus [Shawnee Mission], we wanted to end our introversion. And [serving together] has been one of the most wonderful ways we’ve found to accomplish it. Getting to spend time with the kiddos and other volunteers, having an opportunity to work under the guidance of seasoned leaders these moments are invaluable to us as a family and we’re grateful for the church-based friendships we’ve been able to forge. That’s something I haven’t done since high school and it’s something Mike hasn’t done ever. But for Claire? This is just what she’ll always have known. What a blessing! And, not gonna lie, Mike and I learn a LOT about the Bible from those lessons.”
Emily & Mark Hartter: “We both have been blessed by getting to know more families in the church by serving in Children’s Ministries, and we enjoy the kids’ enthusiasm. We’re excited about the vision of multi-generational worship and our kids being exposed to adults worshiping Jesus.”
3. What obstacles did you think you'd have when you made this change, and how did you work through them?
Weber: “When we made this change we were worried about a few things. One was that our children wouldn’t last through two services, or want to be at church that long. It doesn’t seem to bother them at all! We’ve had a few Sundays where one of them has been reluctant to go to their class or stay in their class but we’ve always found a way to work it out (either they’ve come upstairs with us, or been able to stay in another class with their sibling). Another issue we were worried about was feeling like church took up our whole Sunday (our small group is Sunday evenings) and I think we’ve just been able to let that go. It’s an old feeling from before we even had a home church and before we had our amazing community group. Being scared to give up weekend time and commit was an obstacle, but that is what God has asked us to do. He’s asking all of us. We’ve realized that our church community and our community group is where we enjoy our time on Sunday.”
Weigand: “We were concerned that having the kids in service would be a distraction to people (including us!). And we did spend the first several weeks reminding our two boys to listen to the pastor and whisper if they needed something. We overcame it by allowing our youngest to bring a book to look at for parts of service. Our oldest enjoys working on the Kid Connect sheet. It didn’t take long before our kids were able to focus and truly get something out of the service. They especially LOVE the music!”
Mary & Mike Poggie: “We actually signed up to just be subs. The reason why we limited ourselves initially was because 1. we (and everyone we know) consider ourselves to be extremely flaky, and 2. why on earth would someone trust these two weirdos to teach their children their first fundamental lessons about God’s Word?! We’d never done that before! We didn’t go to Bible college! That’s a huge and scary and important responsibility and what if we mess up and then all of the children are spiritually ruined forever – are you hyperventilating, because I’m hyperventilating? Do you mind if I go lie down for a minute?! Well, lo and behold, 1. We’ve only messed up our now-regular-schedule ONCE. I know. We can’t believe it either. It’s not as hard as we thought it was. 2. It’s not that intense. Nobody is expecting the volunteers to be grand theologians that have it all figured out. In fact, I’d argue that it’s good for kids to see that no one has answers to every spiritual question and that Christianity allows for that. The lesson plans that are provided are simply laid out for us, and the journey of a child’s eternal soul isn’t ACTUALLY dependent on whether or not I’ve had enough coffee that morning. It’s not been an intimidating experience on that front at all. Sometimes we struggle with classroom management stuff because teaching kids can be a little like herding cats sometimes. But, the other volunteers and staff are a wellspring of resources and brainstorming. And we’re all in this together.”
Welch: “The time commitment was the biggest concern because Jack and I both work full-time jobs outside of the home. We just decided this was something we were going to do, no options and just started doing it. Its part of our routine now and we look forward to it.”
Miller: “Oh, so many obstacles – with two babies, nap times are always a challenge. As well as feedings. Our family actually lives about 30 minutes north of the church, so there was another challenge in making it out of the house early enough for us to attend first service, and then serve at second service. It definitely was an adjustment, and there were some mornings where we barely made it up and out of the house in time but we always did. God definitely helped us there. We definitely had to get a lot more organized, and find the beauty and the joy of waking up early. As time went on, it became just a part of our life.”
Ott: “We just had to adjust our expectations: We are going to experience worship differently when we have our children with us. We also had to stop fretting that our kid(s) might bother the people around us. We’ve found that others rarely notice our kids’ noise and commotion as much as we do. Over time it got easier, and now we delight in the sounds of someone else’s talkative or even whimpering child in service. Our boys are used to the length of service. They enjoy the worship music. They soak up the sermon. They feel included, not just tolerated.”
Emily & Mark Hartter: “The Sunday morning time commitment is longer as a 2-service family and our kids can sometimes be disruptive during the service. This is a work in progress!”
4. What would you say to families who are thinking of becoming a 2-service family?
Weigand: “To those who are considering two services, we know it can seem intimidating! Volunteering is incredibly rewarding! It’s also important for kids to join with the whole congregation for a formal worship service so they see they’re an important part of the church family.”
Fox: “It will seem overwhelming at first and it takes time to get the rhythm, but a rhythm will come and God will bless you in ways you didn’t imagine. Plus your kids will see your faith in action serving others and loving a church enough to give. They will hopefully begin to see how meaningful it can be to really invest yourself in something out of love and service for God.”
Miller: “The blessing you get out of it is so worth it! The friends you meet, the things you learn, the fun you have with the kids – the whole experience is totally worth it.”
Ott: “If you are on the fence, give two services a try. Make a real commitment to block off your Sunday mornings for church. Worried about bringing the kids into worship with you? Start with a rotation, where you only bring one or two in with you at a time. That way you can focus your attention on that child’s needs until you both get used to it. Then thank that child for worshiping with you. Nervous about serving in Children’s Ministries or some other area during that extra service? Try a few different areas of service until you find one that fits you. Just try it: We promise that you will be blessed in ways you could not have imagined!”
Long: “For families considering this, I think you would find it to be an incredible experience for your entire family and give you memories to talk about for years to come. It has helped our older kids “stay plugged in” as they now have younger kids asking about them and how they are doing. It also has parents of those kids we are serving ask about our older kids and how they are doing. It has really brought us into the entire church family.”
Sogard: “Spending time at church with your family is a good thing. We love getting to know the other kids and watching our kids in different settings.”
Damron: “[Our son] Wes said, ‘Just do it! Take the plunge! Don’t overthink it. Sure, life is busy but serving God’s people with your family is rewarding and worth the time investment. Once you get in the rhythm of serving, it becomes second nature.’ [Our daughter] Lily said, ‘While it can seem inconvenient at first, it makes you feel more connected to the church.’ Bart adds, ‘It serves others, teaches your own family a valuable lesson, and there is individual growth in the opportunity.’”
Mary & Mike Poggie: “Do it. Jump in. If your kid isn’t ready to sit in service yet, see how they’d feel about doing two hitches of Children’s Ministries programming. And then, when they’re ready to join you, it’s actually so fun to get to sit all together and enjoy a sermon either before or after they’ve just had an opportunity to get a hands-on biblical education. And what we’ve found with our daughter is that she’s become so much more comfortable with our church family and that’s what we want for her. We want being at Christ Community to feel like second nature. And, truly, it does. Plus, she gets to learn a lesson on how easy it can be to serve your community. All positives on every side.”
Emily & Mark Hartter: “Give it a try for a season. It will be an adjustment but quickly becomes part of your Sunday morning rhythm and routine!”
If you have questions about what it might look like for your family to be a 2-service family, talk to someone at your campus, either a staff member in Children’s Ministries, or a family who is doing it. Ask God how He might be calling you to take a step of faith and commit to serve the church and attend as a family. Then take that bold step! Word on the street is, you won’t regret it.