6 Keys to Effective All Age Worship – #3 – Say One Thing

  1. Say ONE thing.
When God our Saviour revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. Titus 3:4-7
It is hard to add anything to these verse from Titus – they beautifully sum up the Gospel!  We have a simple Gospel that we can sometimes make more complicated – sometimes, when we preach or teach, if we are honest – by adding LOADS of words by way of explanation.  I could attempt to explain what the words in Titus mean . . . but, here is an example of where scripture just “says it”. Now, when we are all together – every age, every stage of life with different ways of grasping and understanding things we need to not be so bothered about having three points (as we sometimes are when preaching to adults), nor having a bunch of points that all begin with the same letter so we can alliterate our way through what we will say. We need to begin, I believe, with a simple thought.  One thing – and then unpack it – not with loads of words (someone once said “The Word became flesh . . . and we have turned Him back in to words“) We need to teach, show, explore, engage, create an experience of that one thing . . . whether we are doing an all age worship service about “being found” by Jesus; God’s great love for us; Being forgiven; Using our gifts; Prayer . . . . we need to home in on one thing, maybe one phrase, one thought . . . and then use all of our selves to look, think, do stuff around that one thing.  Luke 15 is about one thing (with three different stories) – it’s about what has been lost now being found.  That is it.  YES, we can talk about sheep, shepherds, coins, women in the Bible, prodigals coming home, the Father’s love . . . all GREAT, all SERMONS in their own right . . . But :: Lost and Found is IT. In an All Age Worship context . . . I would then explore this in lots of ways, but the ONE thing.  You could have a lost and found game, a lost and found drama, a lost and found scripture reading, lost and found prayers . . . a lost and found illustration, a lost and found video clip . . . you get the idea!   Why, do all these things that are essentially just different ways of looking at the same thing?  Well, every one of us has a “point of view”, a way we see the world.  A way we engage with and inhabit the space we live in, the way we think and move and have our being . . . yet, often in Church we teach in one way with adults . . . generally, depending on the kind of church we are in – anything between a 10 minute homily and a 40 minute exegesis . . . but, pretty much done in the same way (how ever many points or thoughts we might be trying to cram in to it) i.e. someone stands at the front and talks at everyone else. Really, this is a rubbish way of doing things if we want people to learn something . . . . but that is for another blog!  The point is, when we have such a diverse mix of people and ages and experiences in together – we have to find ways of connecting and informing and sharing and experiencing and encountering together that is as inclusive as possible.  Something for every kind of learner (WHICH is not necessarily about age – some of our adults can not handle a 30 minute preach if it is just a person talking to them) . . . now, if we are going to explore ONE thing in a variety of ways – and we have at the most 50 minutes – there isn’t TIME to look at more than one thing! Take one thing to explore.  Tell people what you are going to be exploring.  Explore it in a myriad of ways. Disasters with this?  Well, doing more than one thing would be like having loads of ingredients – but, as well as baking a cake you are tackling a pie and then in the midst of that you decide you need a stew as well . . . too many thoughts with lots of exploratory stuff can just lead to a dis-jointed mess that doesn’t say anything.  People might have had fun, but they have no idea what was at the heart of the message.  When I have too much in my head as I approach an All Age and I am indecisive about what the POINT is going to be . . . . I end up focusing on nothing, I might vaguely mention things in passing . . . and, sometimes on these occasions the service can come to an abrupt end – I realise time has gone and we need to close . . . argh!  Disaster.  Know what one thing you are going to focus on, then – actually do that! Right then, tomorrow is #4 in this series “Give them a Take Away.”