You may remember some months ago I started a series entitled ‘worshipping together‘. I was reviewing the inclusion & engagement of children & young people in our services at Spurgeon Baptist Church, and the posts were a chance for me to air my thoughts and discuss them before proceeding. Here’s a quick précis of each of the posts:
- Including Children & Young People In Worship: introduction, proposed areas to be covered and links to other posts as they appeared
- The Children’s Talk – Critiquing Current Practice: setting original out the remit of my review and highlighting some of the problems I had identified
- Segregated for Worship: highlighting our current approach to worship, and considering the strengths/weaknesses of splitting into age groups for worship
- Encouraging Children to Worship: a theological reflection on the merits of worshipping together with children & young people, and suggesting a change in our current practice
- Options for Worship: setting out three different approaches to the challenges faced at Spurgeons, analysing each, before my personal conclusion
Well, that was all before life got incredibly busy, and the posts stopped, but rest assured that the review and implementation didn’t. So here is a quick update of how the Church responded to my review & suggestions, before I share some of the progress we’ve made and include some details & practicalities in the hope that they may be helpful to others.
Using the posts above, and some of the helpful discussions had along the way, I set out a brief overview of the background, issues and possible options to our Church members’ meeting (‘cos that’s how it works in the Baptist Church). Although I outlined ‘option 3’ (that children and young people worship separately from adults), I immediately discounted it due to practical issues with our church building (although I also had a big theological concern). So the members had the choice of:
- option 1: tweaking what we do now in the present slot, some other minor changes
- option 2: change the start of the service all-age worship: new songs, activities, engaging all senses
- other: of course the meeting had the right to go for neither option
There was a lot of discussion around the issues I’d presented, clarifying some areas which weren’t clear and correcting some misconceptions, but on the whole it was a very positive time. The meeting recognised some of the issues, but admitted that their eyes had been opened to others which they’d not detected. The conclusion was that the meeting agreed to implement option 1 (tweaking the status quo) with immediate effect, but then working towards the implementation of option 2 (recognising that it would take a significant amount of time, planning & preparation).
We called a meeting of the people who were involved in the ‘children’s talk’ slot, and invited any others with an interest, and we set about agreeing the necessary tweaks and what would be required to make them. From October 2010 the newly renamed ‘YourSpace’ slot came into being.
In the next post I’ll share some of the findings from our initial meeting and how we’ve been getting on so far.