All-age small group exploring The blessing

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I’ve written quite a bit about all-age or inter-generational small groups, exploring principles for creating a gathering which works for everyone.

Here’s how I might do that using some activities and resources from the Blessing edition of the Faith at home mini-mag:

  1. Prepare and invite people to contribute in advance
    – ask three people to read the blessing verses from different Bible versions, one version each
    – ask someone to choose their favourite version of the blessing song to play
    – ask someone to prepare and then lead a fun game for 5 minutes
    – ask three people to bring finger food for sharing, including something gluten and dairy free
    – ask someone to print out the Blessing prayer poster, treasure hunt clues and Blessing bunting (which come with the mini-mag)
    – ask someone to order and bring a box of bubbles
    – ask someone to bring embroidery threads and safety pins
    – ask someone to bring lego or another building toy
  2. Have something to do as people arrive
    – Have a table covered in a cloth with play dough on it and a sign saying: Make a model of a something or someone who is a blessing to you. Have a plate or mini-stage for people to display their models for everyone else to see.
    – Have blessing bunting, string and scissors out for people to make with a sign saying: Cut the cuts out. Cut two holes in each card. Thread the cards onto the string to make your own Blessing Bunting.
    If possible, include food – a meal is great – but at least have drinks and snacks
    – Have a meal about 30 minutes after people arrive or have drinks and snacks available
  3. Do something all together – pray, have fun, explore the Bible together
    – Open with a short, three line prayer, thanking God for his presence with us.
    – Play a 5 minute game of Simon Says or something fun
    – Say you are exploring the blessing and ask your three readers to read the blessing verses, and play the song which was chosen in advance
    – Ask everyone if they recognise the words or the song. If you have a small enough group, get people to call out which part is their favourite and why. If not, get people to turn to 5 or 6 near them and chat about it instead.
    – Share a one thought about the verses, maybe about the size of the word ‘peace’ – see Something to Ponder in the mini-mag , or perhaps a time these verses have helped you.
    – Finish by saying the blessing together, adding in your names. Do this by standing in a circle. Give one person a teddy bear. Say the first line of the blessing, putting the name of the person holding the teddy bear at the end: “The Lord bless you, Shannon”. When the person hears their name, they pass the teddy to the person on their right. Everyone then says the second line, adding the teddy-holding person’s name at the end of the line: “And keep you, Bob”. Carry on until everyone has had their name spoken in the prayer.
  4. Do something optional with stations for different types of activity
    – Break out into stations for 20 – 40 minutes depending on the age, size and comfort of your group:
    –  Station 1: Blessing bracelets (as in mini-mag) using embroidery thread and safety pins
    – Station 2: Blessing Bunting (as per on arrival for late comers!)
    – Station 3: Lego for building a Blessing Hotel (see mini-mag)
    – Station 4: Blessing treasure hunt using the download from the mini-mag
    – Station 5: Blessing Prayer poster (see mini-mag)
    – Station 5: Quiet, comfy area for sitting, thinking and praying. You could put cushions and books here.
  5. Come back together, compare experiences, thoughts and ideas, pray and close
    – Invite people to share what they learned, experienced or discovered if they’d like to
    – Finish by praying with bubbles (see mini-mag)
  6. Have something people can take home or do again at home
    – Give everyone a Blessing Prayer Poster to take pray with at home