Thursday, February 14, 2008

All Age

I *think* the all age service went OK - no-one ran out shrieking or anything. Well, if they did, the stewards didn't tell me.

What I really wanted to post today was to echo what Lorraine wrote: "who'd be a children's minister??"

.........because then you will probably become responsible for all age services.

Fortunately I love these with a passion. And so do most of the congregants (well, those who speak to me month on month do! Guess those who don't like them........stay in bed!) I love all ages being together. I love the opportunity to hear God speak to us and to respond to him all together, be it ever so briefly. I can't help but feel those who cannot relate to all ages together for a very short time are missing out on a rich expression of church. I used to be one of them, I'm ashamed to say. We spend 95% of our time in everything we do segregated and separate - from school to soft play to gyms with creche to the teenagers' closed door.

However, I am always plagued by the following agonies before, during and after all age services. I hazard a guess that not all of these trouble the adult preachers/service organisers. They're half joking; half serious; you decide which!

- Are there songs that include children?
{Check they're not patronising children's songs nor too wordy nor too abstract}
- Are there songs that adults like singing? Is there a hymn we can use?
- Is the service too long/too short?
- Have we read from the Word during the service?
- Is there something "meatier" happening in the service? is there a mini teach? If so, watch your language style, your use of jargon, the length and the appropriate use of visuals.
- have you got other people involved so its not just you? Are there testimonies? And are those testimonies given by equal spread of males/females/younger and older people?
- Do the teenagers feel included?
- Am I saying anything insensitive to those who are single or to those without children?
- Have I covered more than one learning style?
- Have I remembered to take the offering?
- Are my fellow leaders looking at their watches or getting up and pacing at the back?
- Have I contradicted anything that's previously been said up front in a previous week when I have been out of the service?
- Are the 3 year olds who are slightly too old for creche and slightly too young for more than an hour creating havoc in the foyer? How guilty should I feel about this? How much should their parents prepare for this? {note: I have lived through this and praise God - perseverance and teaching your child coping mechanisms do get you there. Not every one of us is engaged every minute of any occurrence happening at any place on Planet Earth!!! We teach lifelong skills :-)}
- Have I made a mess of the building with any visuals/props/chemicals?
- Have I maintained a godly balance between NOT PUTTING ON A PERFORMANCE and genuinely bring the Body together?
- Is what I have put together seeker-friendly?
- Have I got enough pens/paper/post-its?
- Is the worship leader OK with not having a long run of stratospheric and sustained sung worship? {note: I always feel it is very key to share the vision with; meet with and pray with the worship leader so that we approach the service together}
- Do I have to think of all this again in 6 weeks time?? :-) :-)

I can't deny the unmistakeable call (I really want to, sometimes) - I love doing this. It makes me grin from ear to ear nearly all of the time (OK, apart from half an hour this week) but I like and need my watering times......

How do you do all age (assuming you do?)


  1. Minus Christmas navitiy...we don't. :(

  2. *Nativity (can't spell!)

  3. From your heart to mine! I don't think it is coincidental that we (the champions of children's ministry) are passionate about and think about the same things. As well equipped reflective practitioners it's just simple theological reflection in practice to facilitate something meaningful to the gathered body of Christ and ... oh yes, frustration that everybody else just doesn't get it!!!!!

    I'm with you sister ... and I've created a whole new typelist just for us 'kids' folk! Stay blessed :) x

  4. Anonymous10:02 PM

    I'm still not sure I know what an "all age" service really is or should be. I think there is a problem when we do stuff (including school!) by age and not by intetest, ability etc


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