After the bombshell of last weekend I am away this weekend with 3 other leaders and a score of Primary 6s and 7s for a weekend Somewhere Up North unpacking the theme "Discovering God's Heart".
Being a weekend for primary pupils the three formal sessions are of course well interspersed with parachute games, unihoc, 5 a sides, craft time, visits to the shops for sweetie stashing, DVD watching (Enchanted - I can't wait!), popcorn, E numbers and more sweeties from the angels and mortals game.
I have found that worship really takes off on these weekends away.
Children are relaxed and in a safe atmosphere with other people they know and trust. They press in to Father God in a very wonderful way to watch. I wish that all adults, and particularly those responsible for worship, could see children worshipping - they are like flowers uncurling in the sun, but on time lapse filming i.e. it happens quickly - they are so sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who helps us to recognise the Father and worship in truth.
First up, we're looking at God's Big Plan for planet earth; how he wants the beauty and glory of heaven to invade the earth once again. He wasn't "caught out" by our evil ways and by having to send Jesus to the cross to die. In this session, because I know how well these kids know God personally, I plan to encourage the children to step out of their world to pray for people who don't know about God.
Then we move into to unpack his heart for us; what he thinks when he looks at them; unpacking some of the very great and precious promises in his word. I have a notion that we will use sugar paper and pastels somewhere in this session.
On Sunday our final session will look at his heart for his people; his desire for holiness and integrity in lives that are to display fruit and gifts.
A potential pitfall in children's ministry is to dumb down what we teach children. There is therefore a need to combine educational understanding with new spiritual eyes and to take account of voices nationally and internationally who believe that we have generations before us who are ready for more than we had when we were ten years old. Ivy Beckwith (in her book: Post Modern Children's Ministry) states that the millenial generation is hungry for spiritual experience; the challenge for me is to anchor spiritual "experience" into the development of character and calling. I will restate that experiencing the love of God in ways that touch us (emotionally. physically) is vital. The phileo love of the Father is demonstrated and felt affection; not just words.
So that's my weekend. Looking forward to it.
Only tiny wee cloud....I have my last ever OT exam on Tuesday, I was convinced it was on Thursday, so I'm going to be less prepared for the exam than I would like to be......