How to think about…

Planning All Age Services

and including children and young people

I’ve added a couple of pages of suggestions for how to include children and youth in a church service – any church service really but particularly the kind where Sunday School isn’t on and the kids are staying in. It’s my usual pic ‘n’ mix style so if you’re struggling to get yours serving practically there’s a subheading for that, or if you know that little ones aren’t following the reading let alone the sermon there are ideas for both of those as well: I hope you can find what you need!

Because this is a Sunday School blog my ideas are focused on youth and children, but it also could serve as a good checklist to check you’re celebrating diversity, in race, gender, age, ability and background  and creating role models for serving the church while walking with the Lord.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Check out our other pages on inclusion, under the ‘how to…’ menu including this one on hearing impairment and one on helping dyslexics.

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Edit:

I found Narnia!

Not at the back of my wardrobe unfortunately.

Instead I updated the Narnia page on this blog with the talks and powerpoint from that series. I’m not entirely sure how or why they disappeared in the first place. Nevermind, they’re back now!

Another parable

The Power of Stories

to change people’s lives

I was a visitor in a small village church this Sunday and something said in the sermon struck me: about the terrorist attack in Manchester last week the vicar asked, ‘What was this young man’s story that lead him to this point?’ That was not something I had considered before, but how did he become radicalised? At what point had he decided that this was to be his path?

What difference does the gospel make to people’s stories? We never know the ‘what ifs’ but what if someone had shared the gospel with him? What if he had met the risen Lord Jesus? What if I hadn’t become a Christian – what might my life look like?

We make massive changes in people’s lives when we share God’s good news with them. Whether it is our friends and family, the children and youth that we teach, or a stranger who we took the opportunity to talk to. Jesus had among his twelve closest disciples Simon the Zealot who fought against the Roman government: his chosen messenger to the gentiles was Saul, a man whose religious beliefs led him to persecute others. We know Jesus changed their stories and the stories of countless others. Let’s pray for him to continue to do so.

I’ve added another parable: The Rich Fool. Someone who did not let God change his story and never even considered the possibility. I don’t want that to be anyone I know so hard as it is, Lord, would I be courageous enough to give everyone I know the chance to hear of you and to make their decision. Amen

More Parables

Things that are lost and found

And heavenly parties: lots of them!

I really love planning a party! Usually more than I enjoy actually being at said party. However, celebrating with Jesus when someone else comes and joins the family is one set of parties I’m really looking forward too (assuming that Jesus doesn’t come back first and we skip straight to the wedding feast – aka BEST PARTY EVER!)

Here’s the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep – an explanation of how helpless we are in our lostness and just how much we’re loved! I’m praying that the children we teach might soon be the cause of another heavenly party as they put their trust in Jesus!

New Series

Parables

First told by Jesus; retold by me

The audience has changed – the meaning has not.

We’re kicking it off with a bit of material on the Good Samaritan and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector: find it here.

There will be more later on but next week with GCSEs imminent and A levels not far behind; I’ll be posting some Exam Stress tips for your youth.

Watch this space…

Advent’s completed…

We’re nearly there

and I’m nearly ready

At last! Four advent scripts for four advent Sundays. Head on over and enjoy hearing from fictionalised (but I hope plausible) Biblical characters about some the events in the run up to Christmas. Joseph wonders how the start of his new family will play into the promise that God made to his ancestor King David. One of Herod’s advisors investigates rumours that the true king will come from Bethlehem. Elizabeth considers the strange circumstances that have led to her old age pregnancy and Mary’s mum shares the shame that her daughter’s pregnancy will bring on their family.

As I’ve been writing these I’ve been considering (with a lot of help from Tim Chester’s book One True Story) different perspectives on the story we all know and love. People weren’t expecting God to do what he did: to come into the world as a vulnerable baby, to be part of a human family with all its complications and challenges, to work miracles in ordinary and unimportant lives, to fulfil reams of OT prophecies yet not to act in the way we expect and people just weren’t ready for it.

Advent is a time to get ready then. I, with a lot of help, have completed my Christmas shopping, also bought presents for December family birthdays, visited and been visited by relatives and friends, wrapped presents and decorated the tree. I could consider myself ready for Christmas but there is much more to it than that.

I’m ready to celebrate but am I ready to embrace the fullness of God as a saviour, as a judge, as God with us? Am I ready for him to come again? Am I ready to admit where I fail to trust God in my life? Am I ready to admit where my understanding of God is wrong? Am I ready to change my life and my attitudes this Christmas?

I think, once again, I am going to need a lot of help with this. Thank God, then, that I have it!

More Advent Stuff

Just in the nick of time

or was I aiming to post on the relevant day?

(It’s the first one.)

The script for Second Sunday is up and on the second Sunday of Advent. This one was a little harder to write as I didn’t get the inspiration I had with the others. It’s also been a busy week with people visiting, but I’ve definitely got inspired for the next one so see you on Tuesday as usual!

The holidays are coming!

Just in time

Some stories for advent

I’m writing four scripts for advent one linked to each Sunday of advent. These are probably my favourite things to write: first person accounts. Just for a little while I get to imagine what it would have been like to be there, to see this, be visited by angels, to be waiting for the coming Saviour.

I ask myself how would I have reacted, as humble as Mary, as understanding as Joseph, as excited as Elizabeth or as doubtful as Zechariah, as scandalised as Mary’s mum, as scared as a shepherd or as scornful as Herod? These different reactions are great, we learn as much from the pharisees as we do from the disciples and they challenge us – which are we really more like? Plus it’s more fun to write as a bad guy!

Enjoy these and two more next week!

Who will be King?

A Gospel Outline

and a session outline too!

I wrote this one-off session plan based on the Who will be King? booklets. Their stuff is amazing as it’s so simple and the kids can connect the pictures to what is being taught really well. Gospel outlines are great as a way of teaching non-believing kids the whole gospel and getting them to look at where they stand as well as equipping young believers with an easy way to share what they believe with their friends.

I’m working on writing four first person accounts of Christmassy events that link to the four advent Sundays (yes, I had to look them up) so look out for them next week!

BRAND NEW!

The Disorganised Sunday School Blog has a new thing

Can you spot it in the menu above?

Yes! We’ve added a brand new Youth Work section to the blog for all the Disorganised Youth Workers out there. If you’re a follower let your DYW know what’s coming and encourage them to subscribe so they don’t miss out.

It already includes our Narnia talks and a link to our Christmas Scripts (check them out if you haven’t already – it’s nearly upon us!) which work great for teenagers as well as younger actors. And starting next week will have a series on The Armour of God from Ephesians 6.