Our next Alive@5 gathering will be held Sunday 3 July. We've decided to try exploring Christian practices as the themes for each gathering. This gives us a starting point about everyday life that we can then connect with Christian faith. This month we'll look at "Saying Sorry", ie forgiveness, which will follow on well from looking at friendship last month. We're using the "Living Well" Christian practices materials from LifeLong Faith Associates (aka John Roberto) for ideas to bounce off. We're still learning as we go, but its going well with about 35 people last month and a couple of new families within that. I was too busy helping run the event last time to take photos, and will have to rectify that next time.
We've decided to start with worship and have food afterwards, and thinknig about whether we reverse that. We aimed to keep the worship within an hour, but with activity time in the middle that's been a challenge.
The pattern both times has been
Song (lively - everyone gets a percussion instrument)
Prayer of Thanks
Brief Theme Intro
Puppet Play - everyone gets a puppet, a few main characters get a script while someone holds up a line for the rest to say every now and then. On other occasions this will be a story.
Gospel reading on video
Brief theme talk
Activities - 2 each time. First week they moved between at their own pace, week 2 we broke into 2 groups and swapped after 15 mins
"Show & Tell" from activities - again brief
Prayer for Others
We're wanting the activities to not seem like 'Sunday School', and at the same time for them to be enjoyable and effective educationally. Some of the 'Messy Church' stuff doesn't do the latter as far as I'm concerned. But its a challenge to work up alternatives.One of the activities last time was some co-operative games using a parachute and small beach ball (the connection being that the games were co-operative rather than competitive). This was enjoyed by all, and has me thinking more about using play as symbolic learning each time.