Lots of ideas for having a home-centered church meeting for all ages and stages – free printable!
As the world continues to seem like it’s shutting down right now, I am not really surprised by any additional closures I see come through.
When I saw that the Church had moved General Conference to being held remotely, I knew it was only a matter of time before they canceled church meetings for the time being.
I mean, with the Come Follow Me curriculum and the emphasis on home-based church, I feel it was only a matter of time before we needed to actually teach church at home (although I hope this is only temporary).
I would imagine this is somewhat of unchartered territory for most of us, and it can feel overwhelming. But I think it’s so important to just focus on keeping things simple, to the point, and uplifting.
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I thought I would share a few ideas I had for creating a home-centered church for the next few weeks – and if you ever need to do it again.
Remember – perfection is not the goal. You have to find something that works well for your family!
The advice I often hear from my homeschooling friends is that you can’t make homeschool like public school – it just doesn’t work. I think there’s a similar attitude to be said about home church!
Hopefully, we won’t be homebound for long, but in this world – you never know! Remember “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”
Focus on the Spirit of the Day
As I’ve talked to other people, it’s obvious that the main concern most of us have is making Sunday feel different than any other day.
It will absolutely be tempting to just take this as a day off from church – but I do think it’s important to make sure we still treat it like the Sabbath.
Here are a few ideas Forrest and I came up with to try and keep it feeling like the Sabbath day:
Play Church Music
I really like the Pandora station “LDS Hymns of Worship”, and I play it every Sunday. Put on your favorite church songs, sing some hymns together, and enjoy the peaceful nature of it!
This one will probably be hard for me – to not just stay in my pajamas all day. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, actually getting dressed may help you feel a little bit more like doing something.
Does this mean you have to wear your Sunday best? Probably not – but you certainly can. I’m all about being comfortable, but if you at least get up and brush your teeth and change from your pajamas to sweat pants…you might feel a little more engaged 🙂
Limit Screen Time
We aren’t big on screen time any ways, and I’ve been trying to limit my own screen time during the day. But perhaps consider having a time where you don’t have TV, or Tablets, or Phones so you can focus on more church-related content.
This is obviously a personal choice – just something we’ve found helps to enhance our Sabbath day worship already.
Have a Set Time
Tell yourself and your family what time to expect your meeting (whatever that might be) to take place. If you have something scheduled, it’s a lot more likely to happen.
Use the Church Manuals
There’s no reason to go crazy trying to come up with lessons – the Come Follow Me manuals from the Church are excellent. We plan on using the Sunday School and Primary ones for our home-centered learning.
Follow Church Guidelines on Sacrament
In the announcement from the church, it says that it’s up to the local leadership to decide what to do for the sacrament – and the goal is to make sure people get it once a month (let’s hope it doesn’t last much longer than a month!).
This is what I’m the most sad about. I have been home with a sick baby the past few weeks, and I haven’t been able to take the sacrament recently – and I don’t know when I will be able to again. I look forward to seeing what our Bishop’s guidance is on this.
Focus on Church-based Entertainment
Again, this is just a personal choice – but we try to only watch uplifting and usually church-related content on Sundays and will continue to do so. We love The Living Scriptures streaming service, the Book of Mormon videos the Church has put out, and BYU TV – Jack especially loves “Random Acts” on there.
For our family, we want to have something that is somewhat structured so we actually do it.
You can easily adapt this for your needs, but here is a sample schedule – this can be as long or as short as you want. This is geared toward younger children, but you can just change things that aren’t applicable.
I think the most important thing is to find ways to make things more engaging for people involved – you can adapt it to your family’s needs, which is the beauty of home-centered church!
Sacrament (if authorized)
Coloring Activity and Snack
Come Follow Me Discussion and/or Activities
Journaling, Personal Study and/or Discuss Goals
I have made a free printable that you can download by clicking on the button below the picture:
Remote Meetings with Others
If you have family or friends nearby that you feel comfortable getting together with, you can totally do that. If we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic but have to have church at home for some reason, I would strongly encourage getting together with other members of your congregation.
However, this is also a great opportunity to connect with people who may not leave nearby (or even if they live nearby but you are wanting to limit contact with others).
We live in an amazing day and age where we can easily connect with others through video chatting. Forrest and I have both been in talks with our family across the country about doing some kind of Sunday service together.
We have a lot of children in our families, so we are going to try and do a short lesson and singing time for the children. After that, we will have a discussion on the Come Follow Me material from that last week.
Because this type of thing could easily get chaotic, Forrest suggested we have someone act as an interim Sunday School teacher who leads the discussion, and we will raise our hands if we want to say something – and otherwise, we will keep our video muted.
I’m sure it will take on different forms, but I’m really excited. Here are some different ways you could setup a group chat:
- FaceTime – create a FaceTime group in your messenger app, and then you can do a FaceTime group with up to 32 people (here is more information on this)
- Google Hangouts – You can have up to 150 people
- Skype – You can have up to 50 people in a group chat for Skype
- Zoom – My sister-in-law mentioned that some group video chats like Google Hangouts can get really slow with too many people. Zoom is specifically designed for large groups to conference. They have a free plan that allows for up to 100 people for 40 minutes at a time.
Depending on the recommendations from a ward or branch leader and how large your congregation is, an actual meeting might even be able to be arranged using one of these systems.
If you can’t meet at the same time, there are other great options as well – you can talk with people on Facebook Messenger, have a Marco Polo group where you share thoughts and feelings throughout the day, or send Looms back and forth. Make it work for you!
Piano Marvel Bootcamp
We love Piano Marvel – and they have an awesome Hymn Bootcamp that is designed to take someone from never playing the piano at all to being able to play some of the most popular hymns. Check out our review here and you can get your monthly subscription for just $12.99 with the code CLARKS.
Talk with Others
Make it a point to talk with others and discuss – this could be on a video chat (like I mentioned above), through text, or even in person if there are people nearby. I think what people will miss out on most about not going to church is just hearing the thoughts of others and all that interaction, so try and do what you can to make that still happen.
Use Interactive Resources
Make it fun and interesting! The Church has SO many videos online that you can use, and there are a lot of great suggestions for activities to do with lessons.
Forrest thought it might be fun to do a Kahoot! quiz. My niece made a bunch of these while were in Utah, and they were so fun. I am making one for this coming Sunday and hope to do more in the coming weeks – I will post them below as I make them:
I have been trying to be better about journaling – if not for my sake, but for that of my posterity. I have personally been using the Day One app, and I really love it – plus, I think no one will be able to read my handwriting.
I don’t think anyone in our family can get through regular church without snacks. Don’t be afraid to pull out some fruit snacks or crackers to keep people’s attention.
Serve Other Remotely
So much of what we are encouraged to do is to serve our fellow man. While there may not be a ton of large serve opportunities right now, see if you can find a way to remotely serve someone else.
There are a lots of great church coloring books out there and pages online. I really like Colorly Love for the pages they create that go along with Come Follow Me.
Go for a Walk
Send uplifting messages
This is a stressful time for a lot of people. Reach out to those you minister to (or just someone you are thinking about) with a word of encouragement, a quote from the conference, or whatever you want. There may be a lot of lonely people at this time!
Learn new skills
Cooking, Sewing, Piano…learn a new skill by yourself or with your children
Work on Goals
This is a great opportunity to work on any goals that have been set this year through the new youth programs!
Watch conference talks
Write a Missionary
Other Come Follow Me Resources
There are loads of resources out there to find activities and ideas that might benefit for your family – including podcasts and YouTube channels you could watch! Here is a post I wrote about other Come Follow Me Resources to consider.