This idea came from another family’s family worship this past week. They watched the video “With Jehovah, I Can Do Almost Anything” about the encouraging experience of a sister in Panama, Sabina Hernández. What is amazing is that she auxiallary pioneers in spite of a severe handicap she has had from birth. Her handicap has left her with very limited use of her hands and she has adapted by using her mouth instead for things like turning the pages of her Bible. Her joy and zeal are infectious.
One part of the video shows Sabina signing her name on an auxiliary pioneer application. She does it with precision and grace. The family decided to try the same activity. Each person tried to write their name using only a pen held in their mouth. Doing this helped them appreciate the challenges she has overcome and the efforts she makes in serving Jehovah. This provides an opportunity to discuss what challenges each of us may face and how we can continually improve our service to Jehovah.
A nice option for Family Worship is to read the Bible together as a family. Of course, at first your family might feel this is boring, but it doesn’t have to be. There are lots of ways to make the reading enjoyable, to bring the scriptures alive. The April, 2009 Awake! article Young People Ask – How Can I Make Bible Reading Enjoyable? has a many great ideas that can be used when reading the Bible for family worship. Here are some of the suggestions:
Convert lists of names into family trees.
Create diagrams. For instance, as you read about a faithful character, connect that person’s qualities and acts with the blessings he or she received.
Draw pictures to illustrate the account.
Draw a storyboard, a series of simple pictures to illustrate a sequence of events. Describe what’s happening in each scene.
Build a scale model of structures, such as Noah’s ark.—For example, see Awake! of January 2007, page 22.
Read aloud — Assign one person to read the narration. Others can take on character parts.
Select an account, and turn it into a news story. Report the event from several perspectives by including “interviews” with the main characters and eyewitnesses.
Take an account in which a character made an unwise decision and imagine a different ending! For example, consider Peter’s denial of Jesus. (Mark 14:66-72) How could Peter have better responded to the pressure?
Write your own drama. Include lessons that can be learned from the account.—Perform this drama with a small group of your friends.
The article also provides several ideas on digging deeper into an account. This might be especially helpful for older children or even couples. Here are some of the ideas suggested:
Consider the setting. Examine the timing, location, and circumstances surrounding a passage.
Example: Read Ezekiel 14:14. About what age may Daniel have been when Jehovah mentioned him as a good example alongside Noah and Job?
Clue: Ezekiel chapter 14 was recorded just five years after Daniel was exiled to Babylon—likely as a teenager.
The hidden gem: Was Daniel too young for Jehovah to notice his faithfulness? What good decisions led to blessings for him? (Daniel 1:8-17) How can Daniel’s example help you to make good decisions?
Analyze details. Sometimes just a word or two is significant.
Example: Compare Matthew 28:7 with Mark 16:7. Why did Mark include the detail that Jesus would soon appear to the disciples “and Peter”?
Clue: Mark was not an eyewitness of these events; evidently, he got his information from Peter.
The hidden gem: Why must Peter have felt reassured to hear that Jesus wanted to see him again? (Mark 14:66-72) How did Jesus prove himself a real friend to Peter? How can you imitate Jesus and be a real friend to others?
Do further research. Consult Bible literature for explanations.
Example: Read Matthew 2:7-15. When did the astrologers visit Jesus?
Clue: See The Watchtower of January 1, 2008, page 31
The hidden gem: How, evidently, did Jehovah provide materially for Jesus’ family while they were in Egypt? How can trust in God help you to cope with stressful circumstances?—Matthew 6:33, 34.
An important skill in life is learning how to manage your time. Philippians 1:10 says, “Make sure of the more important things“. Teaching children this at a young age will help them immensely as they grow older. A good starting point is teaching them to balance the time they spend enjoying recreation with caring for their responsibilities.
JW.org has a great Balancing Recreation and Responsibility worksheet to help teach this principle. You can find it under the Bible Teachings – Teenagers – Worksheets section. The worksheet uses an effective illustration that compares recreation to sand, responsibilities to rocks, and a bucket to represent time. The order in which you put the sand and rocks into the bucket will determine if you can make them all fit. The illustration teaches the point that by putting your responsibilities first (the rocks) and then filling the time left with recreation (the sand) one can make the best use of their time (the bucket) and fit everything in. The worksheet then goes on to have each person analyze their personal recreation and responsibilities and see how best they can balance them in their lives.
We used this worksheet as a basis for a discussion during our family worship. We started by having each child perform the illustration themselves. Instead of sand, rocks, and a bucket we used sugar, corks and a cup. These were things we had readily around our home. (Yes, we had plenty of extra corks at home!) They did it twice, once putting the sugar (sand) in first and the second time putting the corks (rocks) in first. This helped make the illustration stand out and be memorable.
Our children’s generation is a video generation. They enjoy watching amateur videos via YouTube, Instagram and other like sites much more than traditional TV that we grew up watching. They also enjoy making videos of t
heir own and are very good at using the variety of powerful yet simple video editing software available today. With this in mind we decided to do a video project for family worship.
The goal was to create a video about a Bible character. We didn’t want to be to rigid on how to do it but instead wanted to encourage our children to be creative and have fun. We outlined that the video should include background abo
ut the person and their family, details about the major event(s) in their life, and what we can learn and/or imitate from their example. We did this over two weeks. Week one we picked the person and began researching information about them. They worked on their videos throughout the week and during our next family worship evening we watched and discussed their final video projects.
The end result was great, as our children created video projects that exceed our expectations. They not only learned more about their Bible character but also learned more about how to do research using the variety of tools provided. They put in a lot of effort and really enjoyed the process. Our daughter created a video about Rahab using various pictures, video clips and a home made video she created using her dolls. Our son created a video trivia game about Noah doing all of the programming and research himself. We were surprised at how well it turned out and how much they got out of the exercise. Attached below for download are the Rahab video and the Noah trivia game (for both Mac and Windows) that our children created. Enjoy!
When you meet someone who speaks another language, what do you do? A great new tool has been provided on JW.org to help us preach to someone who speaks a foreign language. We decided to develop a simple presentation we could use if we met someone who spoke Spanish, as this is the most prevalent foreign language in our territory. We did this using the JW Language app. As part of our family worship we learned to use this new app and to set it up so it will be ready for us when we need it.
JW Language is an official app produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses to help language learners improve their vocabulary and communication skills in the ministry and at congregation meetings. You can learn more about the app, get a link to download it, and watch a video about it here on JW.org.
As an introduction for the evening we watched the cute Caleb and Sophia video Preach in a Foreign Language. We then each made sure we had the app downloaded and setup for use with our selected language, Spanish. We reviewed the various features and got comfortable with how it works. We then discussed what we could use as a simple presentation.
One of the great features of JW Language is that you can save specific phrases you want to remember to a Favorites list by selecting the star next to any phrase in the app. This will save it to the Favorites list in the order you select it. By selecting a series of phrases you can create a simple presentation that you can quickly pull up when you are out in the ministry. The app will even let you listen to someone saying the phrase in the language so you can learn how to say it correctly. We spent time as a family coming up with the following list of phrases for our presentation:
I am pleased to meet you.
Do you speak ____?
I don’t speak ____ very well.
My name is ____?
What is your name?
I am a Jehovah’s Witness.
I would like to give you this tract.
This is the address of our website.
See you later.
We saved each of these phrases to our Favorites list by selecting the star. We listened to each phrase and practiced saying it. Then we each took turns practicing the presentation with a tract.
There are a couple of optional activities that you might do as well to make things more challenging. One would be to have someone play the part of a householder who speaks one of the other languages provided by the app and have another person use the app to do a presentation without knowing in advance what the language is. Another activity could be to learn some phrases that could be used when visiting a congregation in a foreign language and then plan to attend a local meeting in that language and use what you have learned.
The JW Language app is an incredibly useful tool to help us help more people learn about Jehovah. There are lots of other great features in the app including a flash card mode to help you practice memorizing your presentation and phrases. We plan to regularly take a few minutes during our family worship evening to practice our new language skills using this app.