I am passionate about people of different ages being able to grow in faith together, and one way to do this is to have all-age or inter-generational services, or groups where people of different ages come together to grow in faith together.
During Lent, I ran an inter-gen small group online, which you can read about here. However, I wanted to give you some ideas on how you could use the Faith at home mini-mags as a resource for both planning an inter-gen / all-age service, and boosting the faith at home of everyone gathering in the weeks afterward.
I’ll use the latest mini-mag, Mountains, which explores Psalm 121.
Here’s what I would do:
- Order a copy of the mini-mag.
- Sit down with a nice coffee to read it.
- Use some of the activities in the mini-mag myself as part of my preparation. I personally would probably use the playlist of the psalm being read and the one of it being sung to meditate on it, along with the Something to ponder section which explores the Hebrew word ‘nephesh’. I would pray over the question posed in this section, and maybe look at some of the other psalm/songs of ascent in the downloadable devotional (Exploring Ascent Psalms).
- Look for a way to explore the Psalm together in the service.
I might start by asking three people of different age to read the psalm to us at different points, each from their own Bible, whatever version this is. This gives people a chance to meaningfully contribute and to be visible to everyone, be it online or face to face.
I would then probably create stations for people to do the different activities. If meeting face to face, I would provide people with a bag of resources as they arrive then invite them to go into previously set up groups of chairs, circles of about 10 with chairs set in pairs 2m apart. I’d encourage people to sit with their family group and to make gaps between them and other households. Online I would create breakout groups. The stations would be:a) Psalm Bingo – the second game in the mini-mag, using the inserts which came with the mini-mags, or printing out extras from the downloads sent when I bought it.
b) Missing Words – the first game in the mini-mag, which is a simple way of reading and remembering the psalm.
c) Charades – the third game in the mini-mag, where people have to act out a verse for the others to guess.
d) Reading / Songs – A quiet listening station, where I’d play the playlist of the psalm being read and the one of it being sung.I might add to each activity some open-ended questions for them to use such as: I wonder what verse in the Psalm you like best. I wonder which part might be for you today.
- Invite 2 people of different generations to share a story of when God helped them. I’d encourage them to keep it to 5 mins max, and to bring / share a picture of artifact to bring their story alive.
- Put up pictures of different mountain ranges and invite people to go and pray near their favourite one (leaving 2m gaps if face to face or in breakout rooms if online). I’d encourage them to thank God for times he’s helped them and ask him for his help with specific challenges they are currently facing. (This could be out loud or silent.)
- Aim to have a way of people saying how the service was for them, what they got out of it. This might be a big white board (Zoom has a white board!) where people could write their thoughts at the end of the service. This would be partly to see how they found it, and partly to allow people of different generations to see how each other have met with God in different ways during their time together.
- Order copies of the mini-mag (for as little as £2 each) to give to people either as they arrived (handy for people to play Psalm Bingo) or at the end so they could play the games again and also do more activities to explore the same psalm during the week. I would hope at least some adult-only households might be up for this too! I’d encourage people to ask each other next time they see each other (online or face to face) about their experience exploring the psalm. I’d look out for anyone I think might be interested in exploring more Psalms of Ascent and give them copies of the downloadable devotional which I would print out for them.
Can you imagine this type of thing working for your church community?
How might you adapt it to make it work better for you?