In this section:
All Age Worship services provide time and space where the whole church community can spend time together learning and learning from each other.
Often slightly more informal, All Age Worship services are ideal times to be inviting friends and family members who are new to church.
There are many opportunities during an All Age Worship service where people can try out doing something new in a safe slightly more informal environment.
Many times we explore All Age Worship through the lens of creating a section for children and a section for adults as opposed to exploring the service through opportunities for all ages to encounter God.There is the assumption that all children connect with God through bouncy songs and loud music and the more mature member of the church family connects with God through words and quiet.Whilst this may be considered a broad sweeping statement many churches can find themselves falling into this mindset.It might be helpful to explore ways in which we can connect with God through the study of David Csinos et al published by Roots .
In the same way which learners have a preferred learning style where we have a dominant way in which we learn best (visual, auditory or kinaesthetic) Csinos has identified Spiritual Styles where we have a dominant way in which we connect with God regardless of our age it is how we have been created.In summary, there are 4 Spiritual Styles which are;
Focuses on the importance of words, of using the right words in the right way.
They know God when they know about God.
Q How important is it to you to study the Bible in detail?
Having deep emotional experiences is what tends the garden of the soul and spiritual formation involves helping others have similar experiences
Q What place does music or art have in the way you like to express your faith?
Values abstract symbols, images and metaphors over concrete words and emotions
Q How do you react to time for private reflection or meditation within worship?
Are activists who would rather get to work than attend another book study or worship service.
Q What part does action for justice play in your life?
Perhaps exploring opportunities to look into the Bible together through activities which link to the above mentioned spiritual styles rather than what we perceive to be age-appropriate activities may allow more people to engage with an All Age Worship service.
Within this section there are some helpful suggestions and tips on developing an All Age Worship service.There are also various resources for your church to explore. Some churches include Eucharist as part of the All Age Worship service whilst others are non-Eucharistic.Whichever option your church chooses ensure that each element of the service has involves, includes and engages all ages present.
A suggested non Eucharistic structure for an All Age Worship service can be found by clicking here.
All-Age Worship is...
- An opportunity for people of all ages, understandings and experiences to come together to offer God their praise and worship
- A time when the whole family of God can learn from each other and grow together
- Recognisably part of the churchs regular worship pattern
- A concept which requires us to think what we mean by worship and family of God
All- Age Worship is not...
- A childrens service with adults present
- An adult service with children present
- A childrens performance
- A chance to sing some action songs
- Reaching only the lowest common denominator
- An unstructured free for all
All-Age Worship can...
- Enable different ages to contribute to worship and learn together
- Encourage people to see church as shared experience and recognise we need each other
- Mark special occasions
- Make worship more accessible to newcomers and outsiders
- Give a break to childrens leaders
- Provide a change
Some churches are exploring alternative ways of approaching the intergenerational dimension as they worship.One model is identified as Caf-style Church, featuring a more informal structure of congregations being gathered around tables, good food and discussion based activities aimed at all ages and stages of life. For further information on this click here .
Tim Carr suggests a simple, easy-to-use check list for those leading all-age worship:
- Not too much talking
- Not too much singing
- Involve people enable them to participate
- Use one simple, relevant theme/Bible truth
- Use variety engage all the senses (particularly the visual) and include movement
- Keep it fairly short maximum 60 minutes
- Be bold not hesitant or timid
Including children and young people
How do we equip our children to be leaders?A quote from a recently released DVD (Children Matter) has a young person stating We are disciples in training not disciples in waiting.One challenge which faces our churches today is in exploring how best to nurture and equip our children so that they can be leaders and their own context.Our churches need to be exploring the opportunities can we offer our children to get involved in church life.All Age Worship services provide children and adults with the opportunity to try new and different things. Providing people with the space to fail and it not to matter is an important part of learning through exploring ways in which children and young people can be a part of the worship group.Perhaps there is the opportunity to have a youth led worship band for an All Age Worship service. Other opportunities include;
- Planning and leading the intercessions
- Doing the sermon slot
- Reading the Bible passages
- Leading the confession
All this comes with a degree of risk - things might be done slightly differently to how they are normally done.They may even require a little extra planning time.There is the risk that perhaps they might not actually do it. However without the opportunities to try how might our children learn?
Some ideas for creative worship click here
Roots on the web - Lectionary based resources https://www.rootsontheweb.com/explore-roots/all-age-resources
Searchlights, All Age Resources - https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Searchlights-all-age-resource-Common-Worship-Sermon-Illustrations/1844176606
Fresh Expressions Guide to All Age Worship - https://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/guide/worship/scripture-all-age
Lectionary based resources - http://www.going4growth.com/growth_through_the_year/lectionary-based-resources
All Age Worship Resources - http://www.allageworshipresources.org/
Planning All Age Worship, BRF - http://www.barnabasinchurches.org.uk/planning-all-age-worship/