This week I would like to talk about making the most out of car trips.
Car trips are a great time and place to do quality time with the family. Cars generally feel like a safe place to talk, be open and honest, to engage with each other. Many of my wife and my deepest conversations have been on the 3hr drive back to South Western Sydney to see family.
Because cars are such a great place I thought I might take a moment to explore a way to make the most of the quality time, especially if it is a Sunday and you might not be able to make church. This idea was given to me by a friend of mine who, along with his family, found themselves between churches. They had left a Church for what ever the reason, and were looking for a new one. On this particular Sunday they decided to skip church and take some time out with the family to rest and recover and get some Quality time, but they still wanted to engage with the scriptures and worship God. So as they drove to the park where they were going to hang out that Sunday Morning they decided to do Church in the car.
This idea struck me as genius, and something that can be done to reinforce for the family that this is something that is important. (I mention in a blog on bible reading that our attitude towards what we do is important, check it out here)
There are millions of reasons for mixing or skipping church, you may be like my friend and between churches, or you are going on a long trip, or what ever the list goes on. It doesn’t matter, suffice to say that this is something that can be done for and with the family.
how does it look though? simply put however you want, it could have the whole works including a liturgy or it could be as simple as chucking on a Hillsong CD and singing away (this is not really church, but still an awesome way of worshiping God in your car). Below is a list of different ideas you might try, and then a mock order of service that includes all of them. I have tried to group things by categories, or sections of the service to make it clear. Please note that this list is not comprehensive, and I would love ideas to add to this list (put it in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
WARNING: by no means do I think this should be a regular substitute for church, there is something that corporate or group worship provides that can’t be replicated in a simple family worship service. I am happy to explore this another time if people are interested.
CD: Simply chuck on a Christian worship CD, Some tracks from your digital device. Try and tailor the music to the participants. for instance, make it age appropriate. In our case we often play a heap of Colin Buchanan, because we have young kids and they can sing along. But you could play hymns, Hillsong style worship, celtic.. whatever floats your boat.
Acapella: just sing songs that you and your family know. We do this sometimes when board with the CD’s in the car. takes patience from the family is required if one or multiple members of the car trip are unable to sing particularly well (i.e. me).
Instruments: If someone is able to play an small, portable instrument like a Ukulele (not the driver!) then it can provide some pleasant accompaniment. note: a band I was in did this once, and the lesson we learnt was that it needs to be smooth music not anything that could be startling (snare drum) as it can startle the driver and other drivers into a near accident.
Passengers read: have members of the car trip read different passages, or sections (again not the driver. lol). I love getting kids to read, so I would always encourage households with kids to get them to do this. make sure if you are having a talk, or study conversation, that the readings reflect what will be talked about.
Audio-bible: there are some really good audio bibles out there, so if you aren’t feeling confident have someone who is maybe too confident have a crack and download an audio bible.
Podcast: if you are podcasting a sermon or talk some of them will have the reading at the start.
Podcast: download a podcast of a sermon or talk. this can be hit and miss, as there are varying degrees of quality in speakers out there. also if there are kids in the car then they will check out at this point unless the speaker is skilled at engaging both demographics. The advantage of this approach is that it requires only limited prep on behalf of the car trip organisers, the preacher does all the work. At the point of writing I don’t know of anyone who I would recommend for kid friendly talks, but I will put a blog up in the future of people in this category after I research it). If you can’t get a hold of our churches sermons and are after some good, user friendly sermons for adults then I recommend RED Church in Melbourne, Helensburgh Anglican both of which I listen to in my own quiet times.
Do your own talk: have a member of the car trip prepare a talk for the trip. this requires prep on their behalf, and people may feel daunted. But this is your household, this is a place where people can try new skills and be vulnerable without risk of judgement. So I reckon give it a crack.
Do a discussion or study: simply talk about and reflect on the readings as a car group, or have someone lead a bible study.
Prayer leader: have someone pre-prepare a formal prayer on behalf of the group.
open prayer: leave a time where people can pray as they feel led. One way to provide structure to this (and provide guidance for the prayer leader above if you go with that option). is to have categories to pray for such as: Please (intercession)/ Sorry (Confession)/ Thank you (giving Thanks)/ Your Awesome (adoration).
Below is a sample order of service, it is simply an idea to get you thinking.
Song bracket: 3 songs to get us in the mood for worshipping God
Prayer of confession – Getting our hearts and minds right before God (Sorry)
Bible Reading – one or two readings based on what the Podcast is talking about
Open reflection – time for car members to discuss what they noticed in the passages being read (brief, 5mins)
Sermon – Podcast
Reflection – a time for further discussion (open ended)
Song – a song that aides in personal reflection
PRayer – a time to Please/ Thank you/ Your awesome
Song- open ended time of singing praise to God that can go on for as long as people want to participate.
Hope this helps