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:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- Have something people can take home or do again at home
– Give everyone a Blessing Prayer Poster to take pray with at home