By Casey Northcutt, The Memphis Conference
To Susan Elswick, driving time is sacred. It’s the time when her three kids are stuck in one spot instead of running around her house, doing homework or playing sports. It’s the time when she can talk to her children, and it’s the time about which she has chosen to center her family devotional series.
A social worker with master’sdegree in social work and a doctorate in special education, Elswick belongs to the Children’s Ministry Council and the Family and Parenting Council atCovenant UMC in Cordova Tenn., and since March 3, she has posted a series of guided discussions called Drive Time Devotionals on the church’s Web site,Covenantumc.org.
Elswick has designed these devotionals as guided discussions for parents to use on the road as means to talk to their children about the pastor’s weekly sermons.
“Parents were saying it was just so hard to find time to have a conversation with their children about not just daily life activities but biblical teaching,” she says. “So, I thought what better way to incorporate that into everybody’s lives than to use the drive time that you have from activity to activity?”
Elswick has based her guided discussions on the liturgical calendar, so parents can talk to their children about sermon topics Monday through Saturday after the pastor’s message on Sunday. And in the few weeks since she began posting the material, Elswick says the response has surprised her.
“I had no idea parents were going to be so excited,” she says. “After the first week … I got two or three emails and a couple of phone contacts about how excited they were to have that information and that they were really going to try to use it during the week.”
The devotionals each contain a Bible verse and paragraphs of text, one per day, that give parents topics to talk about and games to play with their children. Elswick posts them before each Sunday service, so parents can prepare for the upcoming week. She intends to keep doing so until sometime around March 2014, to complete a full liturgical calendar.
And whether or not other people continue to use the material, Elswick will at least have a good time talking about devotional topics with her own kids during the next year.
“It was very eye opening to me to do this with my own children because I was really thinking, ‘Oh, wow, they are really engaged in the conversation when you approach it a certain way,’” she says.
Elswick hopes the devotionals will bless people in her congregation but will also communicate Covenant UMC’s concern for parental needs to local families looking for a new church home. Either way, the Elswicks will be happily bonding during their trips to and from school, discussing sermons and scripture from her Drive Time Devotionals.
To find a direct link to Elswick’s work online, click here.