Church #33. Meet Tiphanie Dirnberger. She is the Director of Children’s Ministry at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Hopkins, Minnesota. With an average worshiping attendance of 300 people on a given Sunday, Gethsemane has been integrating FAITH5 into the fabric of the congregation.
FAITH5, or Faith Acts in the Home, was developed out of the work of Rich Melheim, and he encourages households to go deeper in faith with each other through the 5 step process of Share, Read, Talk, Pray, Bless. Every night in every home.
Dirnberger, who has been doing FAITH5 with Sunday School kids for years, wanted an outside voice to create a cross+generational experience on FAITH5 for Gethsemane. That’s how I (Heather, the blogger) got involved as a storyteller and FAITH5 believer.
With 125 people in attendance (yes 125 people of all ages on a Sunday morning during the education hour!), we share below the experience.
Before the event:
- Invitation is key! Dirnberger popped into meetings, studies, and gatherings at church the week before to encourage all households to attend the event.
- Leadership at Gethsemane was on board. Pastors, staff, and other key leaders were enthusiastic participants.
- Round tables were available to create a welcoming environment and allowed for easy conversation.
At the event:
Step 1: Yes, And! – An Improv Game
Start the session by playing the improv game, “Yes, And!” There are many versions of this game that can be found online but here is how we played:
At each table, one person asks a question. The question be about anything; it can be silly, serious or unreal. Everyone then answers the question with the same prompter either “No, because…, Yes, but…, or Yes, and…!” The prompters are used in three different rounds.
So the question at my tables went as follows:
Round one question: Can I shine your shoes today? Everyone answers with “No, because…”
Round two question: Can I build a zipline in the sanctuary? Everyone answers with “Yes, but…”
Round three question: Can I eat all the Sunday School food? Everyone answers with “Yes, and…”
Debrief the game with the participants. What you will notice is that people do not like being told “no.” It feels negative. But to say, “yes, and…” brings on a spirit of hope and a willingness to try something new.
The point of the game is not the questions or the answers. The purpose is to get everyone on the same page with what happens we say “yes, and…” to something new.
Step 2: Why FAITH5?
Doing something new requires a shift in old habits. Many people feel that the church is dying; I like to that God is just changing the way we do church. FAITH5 is one the tools that we have been given to do church in a new way.
- FAITH5 helps people to lead with the heart. The mind tells us where to go and how to get there, but it’s the heart that navigates the territory.
- FAITH5 is about relational ministry tool. Its process uses God’s story to draw households closer together.
- FAITH5 equips households to do life to life ministry and to pass down God’s story to the next generation.
Step 3: FAITH5 Practice
We went through each step of FAITH5 and as we did we built a FAITH5 cross:
- Share around the tables each person’s highs and lows. Rich Melheim says, “You have to open the kid before you can open the book!” That means before people read God’s story together, people need to know what is going in each other’s lives.
- Read the story of Acts 2:41-47 (CEV) or do it as a simple storytelling. As you read the story, instruct the group to participate in two ways: (1.) When they hear the word “they” or “them,” the participants should point to each other and say, “That’s us!” (2.) When they hear the word “together,” the participants should hold hands with someone. Read the story: On that day about three thousand believed [Peter’s] message and were baptized. They (that’s us!) spent their time learning from the apostles, and they (that’s us!) were like family to each other. They (that’s us!) also broke bread and prayed together (hold hands). Everyone was amazed by the many miracles and wonders that the apostles worked. All the Lord’s followers often met together (hold hands), and they (that’s us!) shared everything they had. They (that’s us!) would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it. Day after day they met together (hold hands) in the temple. They (that’s us!) broke bread together (hold hands) in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved. HERE IS THE POINT: People broke bread together (hold hands) in the temple and in their homes; the people prayed together (hold hands) in the temple and in the their homes. Church is the place we practice our faith so that we can live it out at home. Now, we practice FAITH5 together in the church and in our homes.
- Talk about the story. I find there are multiple ways to do this. But I often use three ways: 1. Provide questions (as I did in the hand out and in the take home piece) 2. Ask generic questions like “What is God doing in this story?” “What are the people doing?” “What makes sense?” “What seems to be missing?” 3. Use open ended questions to talk about how the Bible story may connect or not to each person’s highs and lows.
- Pray as a table. Hold hands and use a prayer prompter for each person to pray: Dear Jesus, Thank you for _________. Help me __________. Amen.
- Bless each other. Instruct the participants to bless the person on their right and on their left by making the sign of the cross either on the forehead or hands saying, “You are a beloved child of God!”
Step 4: Yes, and…! Next Steps
Part of my task as the facilitator was to create a take home piece for households: FAITH5 Mason Jar Devos. The great thing about FAITH5 is any configuration of household can do it. Families, empty nesters, and single dwellers (match up!) can all participate. Of course, everyone said, “Yes, and…” to giving FAITH5 a try and took home a jar of devos!
For more information on this story, please contact Tiphanie Dirnberger at 952-935-1753 or me.