How to use the Family Guide Films with Your Congregation or Small Group

If you are a church ministry leader, pastor, Sunday School teacher, or small group leader, we think this resource will be perfect for you!

These five short films capture insights from the best research on family faith, as well as confessions and practical ideas from real parents like those in your group. Here are a few tips to help you set up and lead a series for parents:

1. Plan a 5-Week experience.

Depending on how much time you have available and the nature of your group, it’s possible you will want to spread out sessions every other week over 10 weeks instead. Note that the videos in sessions 1 and 5 are shorter, giving your group time to get to know each other and the topic on the front end, and then to process the series and formulate a family plan to conclude the series. Sessions can flex between 60-90 minutes depending on your context and the length of the group discussion.

2. Consider your audience.

Are you using the films within an established small group, or are you attempting to gather a new group of parents for this study? If you need to market this opportunity in your context, feel free to point parents to our website for background information (this is a good starting point), and make use of the #stickyfaithfamily hashtag. We think the films work well for parents of younger AND older kids, so feel free to cast the net wide to capture parents of young children, elementary-age kids, and teenagers. Single parents and grandparents raising grandkids should feel more than welcome. If you are not a parent, it may be wise to invite a seasoned parent or two to help lead the discussions. It will increase your credibility when you lean into the wisdom of experienced parents.

3. Watch the films ahead of time, and review the reflection questions before and after each film.

The films differ in length, and sessions 2-4 include both a dramatized story and an unscripted parent discussion. In particular, the content of Session 3 (Warm) includes a fairly intense narrative around a young adult daughter’s addictive lifestyle. You will want to prepare yourself for the kinds of emotions that may be stirred among your group during the post-film processing time.

We wrote reflection questions for each session, and created a downloadable handout that includes all of the before and after questions in a format your group can use to jot down their thoughts and capture ideas from others. Be sure to print these ahead of time for each participant. We also put the questions onscreen to facilitate group dialogue. They are geared to help participants connect the dots between the films’ insights and their own families. Guide the discussion time toward practical and implementable ideas that families can try right away.

4. You may want to link this series with a book study of The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family.

While the content is not identical, a few of the book chapters line up thematically with the films, and give more research and concrete examples for families wondering how each topic plays out in other families. The content in these videos relates to chapters 1-5 in the Guide, specifically:

  • Session 1: Why—Chapter 1
  • Session 2: Mirror—Chapter 2
  • Session 3: Warm—Chapters 3-4
  • Session 4: Spark—Chapter 5

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The remaining eight chapters in the book could be great fodder for an ongoing group discussion on building family faith.

5. Help parents live into the uniqueness of their own kids and families.

Hearing other parents’ stories can make parents feel inferior about themselves, their kids, or their own family practices. Remind your group that each family is unique, with unique personalities, relationships, and family dynamics. What works best for each family is different, which also means the parents within your group may disagree or take a different approach to the same issue. Be sure to affirm the diversity that exists between families throughout this series. 

6. Parents don’t really need another class. They need partners for the journey.

Please resist the temptation to see this as “just” a five-part series. We find that what parents need more than just about anything else is to know that they are not alone in the process of raising their kids. One of the best gifts you can give the parents in your context is an opportunity to forge lasting friendships they can lean into when the winds of discouragement are blowing strong. We encourage you to create space in your gatherings for parents both to connect deeply as well as to share fellowship. For example, you might begin each group by sharing a meal, followed by the video and discussion. Or if you are meeting in a Sunday morning context with limited time, consider adding a parent and/or family potluck into the mix at some point during this series. The more you can get parents connecting, the more likely they will carry these friendships beyond the course of this series.

Finally, we would love to hear from you! Please direct any feedback, stories, or ideas to stickyfaith@fuller.edu.

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Published Feb 05, 2015
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