we ran our third Alive@5 last night. the night went pretty well, but at the same time I was fairly disappointed. it's at the stage where its clearer what we need to work on. without going into too many details, as we need our own internal debrief, here my list of things to address.
1. My time and energy. I found that by the time I got to the event at the end of the weekend i was exhausted. I'd had a late night before, spent most of the day at church and had a mad rush in the afternoon finishing things off. To do this well requires a lot of energy from the leader/s, and I didnt have it. I will need to approach this weekend differently each month if I'm going to be able to give what is needed.
2. Space. It became particularly clear last night that we weren't using our space well, and need to rethink this. we need to spend a lot more time each month in thinking about how to use the space well and setting it up. I'm going to ask the church to consider buying a new (brighter!), short throw data projector, so that the electronics table is not the thing that we worship around (and so we can see the video clips...)
3. Timing. I'm going to suggest putting our meal time first, as people wandered in slowly and we started the worship late. but more than that is the issue of what the start looks like for newcomers. That's a welcoming, space and signage issue as well. But as with previous weeks, the rhythm and flow of the worship and how long it takes is not matching what is in my head.
4. Story and Focus. We had too much stuff last night - dropped things out and hurried other things, while some bits ran too long. The theme was a tricky one (forgiveness) and I dont think we quite did it justice - particularly in terms of creating some reflective space. In addition, I've always seen narrative as being key not only in worship, but particularly in intergenerational worship. That's both a structural issue for the worship and a key aspect of delivery. The critical factor though is inviting people's engagement with the story. I was acutely aware that i do this stuff best when it is properly scripted beforehand, and then I have the freedom to adapt on the spot as needed (as distinct from having a general idea and then making it up on the spot...). working in this setting is much harder than 'traditional', adult-centred worship. i was acutely aware that i'm 'out of practice' in this setting and need to get back into practice asap. The main thing overall though is more and beter prep time needed.
5. All Ages. intergenerational doesnt mean aiming something at the kids while the parents watch. we did that a few times last night. i see intergenerational activity as (1) multi-layered, not simply pitched at a child's level, and (2) participatory for all, so that adults arent there as spectators. this is something we need to keep working on.
anyway, we're going to have an evaluation and planning meeting before the next one, and we're at the stage of expanding the team who run this thing, so it will be a good time to work through these issues in more depth. we had some good feedback on the night, so it's not all bad by any means. i'm just being my hyper-critical self.
we'd been expecting some more new folk last night but they didnt front. so working on that as well is on the list. this wasnt intended as just another worship time for church families, so we need to be on the front foot in terms of the relational connections with our playgroups and the other folk in the community who've expressed interest.