Engage: exploring together, engaging with God

A new vision for all age worship.

There are seasons for everything and a right time for everything… there is a right time to hold on and another to let go…

Sometimes a particular event triggers the need for change, sometimes it just feels like the right time.  So it happened with the Canvas team when discussing and praying through what another season of all age worship at St John’s might look like.  It felt like time for a change.

We are really thankful for all those who’ve contributed to Canvas over the last 2 years and for the ways in which we’ve learned, shared and met with God together through those services.  The canvas itself has been a great visual tool enabling us to respond to God’s word actively, but it felt to us the right time to explore other ways of doing this.

Thanks to our amazing volunteers 150 or so children and young people are able to go to their groups most Sunday mornings to share fellowship amongst their own age group, have fun, play games and get age appropriate teaching.  Our older teenagers meet at cell groups and youth events throughout the week, many adults of all ages meet weekly in small groups.  We have our times where we meet separately and regularly, rightly so, it’s good and helpful in many ways.  But there are more biblical imperatives to come together than to separate!

We asked each other, “what is the aim of all age worship at St John’s?”.  The two answers that kept coming up were, “that we enjoy being together as a whole church” and “to create a space where anyone of any age can engage with God in a meaningful way”.

We feel really strongly that our all age worship should reflect who we are as a church:

  • It shows that we value our whole church family; children and young people, older people, families, singles and couples
  • That worship is active rather than passive
  • Recognition that we all connect with God in different ways
  • That we value sung worship and that for many this is a time where they have a powerful sense of the Holy Spirit
  • We value good bible-based teaching that is accessible to all
  • That the overflow of God’s love in our lives compels us to be outward looking

We understand that very often, engaging with God is not dependent on what’s happening at the front but on where our hearts are.  We want to create space at the start and heart of our services to come before God with hearts that are ready to worship.

We want to create a space where adults, young people and children enjoy being together and exploring what God has for us that day. We would love people to be relaxed about what their own and other people’s children are doing, we want children to be relaxed and worshiping in their own way.  What helps your child engage with musical worship for example?  Is it moving around?  Having an instrument (real/plastic/inflatable!)? Being able to sit instead of stand?  Are they itching to join in or do they prefer to watch?  It’s all ok!  What about you?  Do you find having to do actions distracting?  Do you struggle to stand or move around?  Do you want to dance or move around?  Permission to do it your way!  Maybe you could think about how your prayers or testimony could contribute to our time together?

Our monthly all age services will be called ‘Engage’. We pray that the Holy Spirit would lead us as we seek to help the whole church family engage with God and with each other.

Diana, Sarah, Mike & Fliss.

St John’s All Age Worship Team.

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