This week, Revd Liz introduces our new All-Age Worship and how young people from both our churches have contributed their ideas
On Sunday 12th we’ll have our first All Age worship service at St Thomas’ at 10am. Much of the service will be led by young people from both churches, who prepared ideas and contributions at a session last Sunday.
Based on Jesus’ teaching that we shouldn’t worry: ‘Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?’, we’ll be thinking about the things that worry us and about how God helps us when we are worried. In all age services, adults and children will be reflecting, praying, listening and learning together. These are not services for young people to perform or entertain adults. But they are a chance for young people to bring their perspective into the service, in a way that doesn’t usually happen Sunday by Sunday, when worship has a more adult focus.
Some adults think children are like empty vessels and that adults’ task is to fill them up with their wisdom. Guidance and teaching from older to younger is important of course. But if we think the feeding and giving is all in one direction, then we should remember that Jesus got angry with the adults whose attitude was that children have nothing to teach adults.
I spend one day a week with a 2 year old and she teaches me so many things I too often forget when I am in the company of adults.
Children bring joy into our lives – they remind us God wants us to be joyful, to live life to the full. They notice little things – get fascinated with stuff that grown-ups take for granted. They remind us that we are surrounded with miracles every day, but miracles need us to slow down and notice them. And little people just know, just take for granted, that they need grown-ups. While we’re keen to think that we are independent, young people remind us that actually, no matter what our age, we’re all dependent on God. We big, strong, independent adults are reminded that, no matter how old we are, he is always our Father and we can trust his love and need his guidance.
I believe God does expect adults to nurture children. But God gives children to change adults. To remind them of things they may have forgotten about God and about life.
So I have great hopes for our All Age worship. Not just because young people are at the centre of it. But because adults may be surprised at what they will gain when they catch a glimpse of God’s world through a young person’s eyes.
Introducing All Age worship comes under the discipleship of the Mission Action Plan. It’s all about enabling the young to contribute, shape, and have a sense of ownership in church. And of course, giving adults a chance to be fed by them.