Yesterday, Nettes and I drove down to Dunstable for a Children’s Workers Conference which asked some hard hitting questions like ‘Have you read your church’s child protection policy?’ and ‘How does your church engage the children in worship while they are in the main meeting?’
Guest speaker John Hardwick stressed the value of keeping families together on Sunday. I thought that he did a good job pointing out an important key getting all ages involved: story-telling. Stories can work on many levels teaching deep principles and keeping us entertained at the same time. He encouraged us to think of creative ways to tell Bible stories, such as imagining a story from many perspectives, as well as including other creative elements such as hot-spot interviews, action memory verses and even BSL signing. He also suggested having a planning team for All Age Services that included all ages i.e. at least one child.
Sam Donohue from Viz-a-viz talked about his work doing school assembles, RE lessons and after-school clubs. I liked the way that he explained the importance of not coming over too dogmatic by having class discussions and prefixing your statements with ‘I believe....’ and ‘Some Christians think....’ etc. I thought this was a good point for generally for chatting with your friends too. Interestingly he thought that using items that the church finds cringe-worthy and hackneyed, like drama sketches and puppets, could work well in mission work with kids who are seeing them for the first time.
A good day albeit tiring.