Advent resources

Keeping it simple: Christian education at home

One of the best things about stories is their ability to transport us to a world different than our own.  Access to the larger “real” world is fairly limited right now, but stories allow us to step into and imagine we are part of them.  At the same time, being within our homes uniquely situates us to envision the early church.  In this activity, your children will reflect on the simple routines of early Christians as presented in Acts 2.

Begin the time with your children by reflecting on your family’s routines over the last several weeks.  Discuss what daily routines from before the pandemic have become more important to your family.  Also, notice any routines you’ve added that have helped you.  You may want to begin the conversation by offering a few examples.  (“It’s been important to me that we continue to eat dinner together every night.  Even though we’re all together in the house throughout the day, we’re busy doing our own thing.  I like checking in with you while we enjoy dinner.”)

Next, ask the children to imagine what daily routines early Christians may have had.  Note young children (and even some older children) may not fully recognize that church as they know it wasn’t always part of the lives of Jesus’ disciples.  It is worth mentioning to them that the disciples had to figure out how and what they would do together to live as Jesus taught them.

Share with your children that we have a glimpse into what those early days of the church looked like in the book of Acts.  Read aloud Acts 2:42-47 asking them to notice the routines early disciples participated in.  Following the reading, talk about the routines they heard in the passage.  Be sure to note how simple these routines were (teaching, learning, praying, eating together and sharing what they had with one another).  Discuss how these routines are alike or different than what you are doing at home right now.

Over the course of the next few days, as a family reflect on the routines you have adopted that are similar to those of the early church.  As you engage in those activities, imagine what they must have been like for Jesus’ first disciples.  For instance, as you eat a meal together, visualize the conversations they may have had. Perhaps you can even act out an imagined conversation amongst early Christians.  In addition, you may also want to consider incorporating one of the early church practices that is not currently part of your lives.

JOELLE BRUMMIT-YALE is the director of children’s and youth ministries at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  When not at the church, she can usually be found at home with her son and husband caring for their many animals and developing their family homestead.