For the very first time in this Diocese, innovative training was recently delivered to a mixed team of both adults and children to equip them to plan and lead All Age Worship, writes Mandy Stanton (Lay Leadership Officer in the Growing Leaders Team at the Diocesan Offices) and Sarah Earnshaw (Diocesan Children’s Work Adviser in the Diocesan Board of Education).
This was at the request of Mary Ashton (Associate Vicar) at Euxton Parish Church, who delivered some of the training alongside us.
The training, which took place in April, included a session unpacking ‘what is worship’ as well as more practical elements, such as identifying themes within a Bible passage and building creative sermon slots.
The whole event fitted well with our Diocesan aims under ‘growing leaders’ to prioritise work among children and young people to raise up a new generation for Christ.
And doing this teaching in the context of all-age worship was fantastic as we were able to see the children working in collaboration with the adults as they brought a fresh perspective to the training that is missing in an all-adult team.
I am always impressed by the profound statements that children sometimes offer, but on this occasion, I was particularly blown away by the children’s biblical knowledge and eagerness to be involved in the planning and leadership of all-age worship.
The youngest child that participated in the training was aged 9 and it’s wonderful that the church is willing to invest and encourage these young people by offering them this responsibility.
It would be amazing if more parishes could consider adopting a similar attitude and approach.
The creativity and enthusiasm of those who took part, as they thought about ways to plan worship which people of all ages can join in, was really exciting.
Gradually the church is taking on board the idea that vocation isn’t confined to a particular sort of person or a particular role.
God can call all sorts of people, young and old, to do His work and sometimes that starts with very small steps. It’s a huge privilege to be able to help people to try new things and grow into leadership in this way.