6. Don’t Make it a Sacred Cow
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
One of the challenges, often for church that doesn’t move massively quickly into change . . . is how often even “new” things can become SO established that you can’t question them.
It is REALLY important, especially with new things to be asking the questions ::
#1. Does it work
? I know this sounds obvious, but there are lots of things we do that just don’t work . . . but we keep doing them! By “work” I mean is this contributing to the life and health of the congregation? If it is, keep going – if it really isn’t. Start over.
#2. Are we meeting at the right time
? Again, this might seem obvious – but – if you want to gather all ages it is important to think about when the best time might be to “catch them” being awake and up for gathering together over a weekend! It used to be, back in the 50s and 60s that Sunday afternoons was prime time for junior church . . . That all got knocked on the head in the 70s as the Church (especially the Church of England) panicked over a slight drop in numbers and, unusually, reacted straight away by ditching Sunday schools on afternoons and focusing on mornings . . . Sunday school attendance then promptly fell off a CLIFF! We have re-discovered Sunday afternoons with things like Messy Church or Fresh Expressions . . . but, it isn’t NEW . . . which brings me to the next point.
#3. Don’t let change become the default
! I don’t want to get all political – but – the education system in the UK has been messed with constantly by successive Governments regardless of their differing political convictions for the last 30 years . . . we have highly stressed, targeted, schools now run by executives rather than teachers . . . the mantra seems to have been “change it”, and then – almost every year changes comes in before what has gone before has had half a chance! Don’t do this with worship, allowing something to settle is not the same as digging your heals in when it clearly isn’t working. For fruit to grow there needs to be patience – AND – if you have people with you as you engage in All Age Worship, don’t lose their faith in what you are doing by constant tinkering.
#4. What do others do
? This is not about comparison and trying to be a carbon copy of what the “successful” church down the road is doing, someone once said,
Comparison is the root of all inferiority
Really, don’t compare yourself and try and be a chameleon – “oh, they are doing that, maybe we should do that.” Rather, be more of a magpie, if you spot a cool idea that would work with your congregation . . . nick it. Keep the DNA of your church, but beg, borrow and steal creative ideas that just work from wherever you can.
#5. Have a team of reviewers
. This is a great idea, though I have rarely seen it put in to practice! Have a couple of children, young people, parents, and grandparents / older people and a couple of singles feed in to the ongoing development of the All Age Worship. What do they think? Are they able to worship, does it blend well . . . this is not about creating consumers . . . it is about recognising the differing needs of people from different places in their walk with God and in the way they engage with Him in worship and how they best engage in community life. You have to be confident in your leadership and humble enough to take it on the chin . . . but, if you are genuinely after all age worship that is for every age (and stage of life) this has to be something you do . . .
That is it. We are done – 6 Keys, I hope they are helpful and – where ever you are at with your all together worship, may Jesus be at the centre and the people of God catch a glimpse of what it is to be one big family