This program is written for the families of the women who attend the corps as well as those who are part of the surrounding community. Its purpose is to demonstrate that worship starts at home around the family table. The focus is on choosing to serve the Lord.
Welcome and prayer
Fun and Games
Song #1015, The Salvation Army Song Book, verse 4 “Happy the Home”
Devotions: “It All Starts with a Decision”
Time of invitation and prayer
Closing chorus: “I have decided to follow Jesus”
(Check YouTube for a video of the chorus)
Put a committee together to handle the various aspects of this event: advertising, mailing of invitations, meal set up, preparation and clean up.
Send invitations to family members of the women’s ministries group and also to members of the corps. Ask the women to think of a friend whose family they will personally invite. Place flyers in areas where The Salvation Army serves the public and on the corps bulletin board.
Set up family tables with seating on the outside for participation. Use fall tablecloths, napkins and silverware. Ask the women to bring framed photos of their families to be used as centerpieces.
Meal and Hostess
Decide whether to serve a full meal, which need not be fancy, or a dessert bar with multiple desserts. Ask two to three families to act as hosts at the tables. Select those who reflect the different types of families represented in the women’s ministries program, the corps and the community. For example: a single mother and children, a more traditional family of mother, father, one or two children, and a family where the grandparents are the prime caregivers of the children.
Have available word searches on families in the Bible or a match game of famous families. Check the Internet for programs to create the word searches.
Adult: It’s time to sit still.
Child: Aw, for how long?
Adult: You get to choose: 30 minutes? 29 minutes? Or 15? Which do you choose?
Child: Well, okay….15! Then I get to eat three of these desserts, right?
Adult: Well, no. But, you get to choose which one? And a full sized piece!
Child: Then I’m having the chocolate cake with chocolate icing! Can I have it now?
Adult: Not for a little bit. But, aren’t you happy you got to choose two very important things?
Leader: Today, we are gathered as families around the tables. And in just a little while we will be enjoying a wonderful meal together. But first we are going to have a short time of family worship. You may be sitting with your family or close friends but all together we are one big family of God.
Song: Song #1015 verse 4 “Happy the Home”
Reader: Our scripture verse is from Joshua 24:15. “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
It All Starts with a Decision
Being around the family table is wonderful. But, it didn’t happen without a lot of decisions. For many in our group it started a month ago when we met together to plan this event. For others it started when you heard about this worship service. Right then you had a decision to make. You decided you liked the idea or you decided you were not interested. You may have chosen to wait until later. Your decision may have been to wait to see who else was going and even to see what other people thought about the whole idea before you making up your mind.
Every single day we make decisions. Some we don’t even think about; what soap to buy, what toothbrush to use or when to get up. We have a routine that we follow each day. Other decisions we may labor over. What clothes are appropriate for an event? Should we look for a new job? Should we buy a new car or a new house?
Then we have the decisions we don’t really talk about. Am I going to give my attention to that teacher or read my book? Am I going to sit with that person whom I know will talk constantly or am I going to sit at another table with the “readers” and leave the talker all alone? Am I going to be kind to the cashier even though she was grumpy as she checked me out at the store? While we don’t talk about these decisions, they happen every day.
There is one decision that guides all other decisions in our lives. This is referred to in the verse in Joshua read earlier. It’s placed in the framework of a statement; “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” These powerful decisive words were stated when Joshua called for a decision among people who were living in a land where other gods were worshipped. Joshua spoke for his family and was calling out to the people of God to decide to serve the one true God. Joshua spoke for his family, stating that they would serve the Lord together. This meant all the members of his household, including extended families, would be instructed in the ways of God.
This verse makes three powerful statements for our family worship today:
- First we read, “As for me.” We know that walking with Jesus Christ is a decision we make personally. Our father or mother cannot decide to ask Jesus to forgive our sins and be our Lord. We must do this ourselves.
- The second statement is “and my family.” Our families all vary in size and make up. Some of us live alone, and we have good friends that have become our families. Regardless of what our family looks like, we believe something. But this last part of the statement is essential to what we choose to believe.
- The third statement is “we will serve the Lord.” We all serve someone. Who are you serving as a family? Is it God? Or is everyone serving themselves, doing what pleases them, whenever they desire? This verse points us to a good decision—to choose to follow and serve the Lord.
A wonderful blessing is available when the whole household is taught the ways of the Lord and decides to serve Him. We know some of us are part of a family in which not everyone has chosen to be a follower of Christ. It’s so important to remember that the decision to follow Him is ours alone. We determine to love and pray for the members of our family so they will want to follow Christ too.
If you realize tonight that you have not yet made a decision to be a follower of Christ, and you want to, we are going to pray for you right now.