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Any Christians doing children's work interested in a sharing support/ideas thread?

(85 Posts)
Lovelydiscusfish Fri 05-Sep-14 22:36:08

Just that really. Dh and I about to start running Messy Church in our parish, with a couple of other families. We have a lot of faith, and wonderful guidance from our vicar, but it feels a bit daunting nonetheless. I am also doing the talks for our lay-led family service once a month, which again, is wonderful, but can be daunting at times. Just wondering if anyone else is doing similar work and wanted to share anxieties/ideas/moans/prayers etc.

madhairday Sat 06-Sep-14 14:15:11

Yes, absolutely! The more ideas the better smile

I am a church leader and help lead a monthly messy church type event and also involved in the children's work and children's homegroups etc so it would be good to chat with others involved in the same type of stuff.

Have you ever been to the children's ministry conference in Eastbourne? It's brilliant, has so many ideas and resources and gives you a load of motivation for it all as well.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Sat 06-Sep-14 14:50:53

We have a monthly family service which has craft and songs and stories. In the many things that I do it isn't the thing I find the easiest so I'm more than happy to chat.

I need to sort out the music for tomorrow's service and check the slides match the tracks so cue me singing 'Boing!' and 'My God is a Great Big God' to the cats...

Lovelydiscusfish Sat 06-Sep-14 17:50:31

Replies, yay! Thanks so much both. The conference in Eastbourne sounds amazing - what time of year does it take place?
I'm doing the talk in family service tomorrow on Romans 13 8-14 (where he says the love thy neighbour is all of the law) - it seemed a good choice given some stuff that's been happening in our church and wider community at the moment, but making it interesting for children has been a struggle. Have got a bit of an activity planned for the kids about who is your neighbour, but I never really know how they will pan out - I also think things will last about 5 minutes and they actually take 30 seconds. I also found some love thy neighbour printable colouring sheets on the web, so will print them off later and see how they go tomorrow... I've been given our log in to Roots on the Web - does anyone use this? I must admit I've not found much of use as yet, but I suspect I'm not doing the advanced search correctly...
Sorry, that was a bit of a splurge - can you tell I'm a bit nervous about it?
We've also just found out we won't have capacity to do hot food for the first however many months of our Messy Church - anyone got any ideas for easy yet appealing cold food to draw the crowds?
Thanks again for getting back to me, and for listening!

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Mon 08-Sep-14 07:59:47

For food if you do good homemade cakes for the parents with decent coffee in proper mugs that is easy as most churches have people who are happy to make cakes. For the children you could do bagels or bridge rolls with a simple filling and then extra bits they could put in - crisps, salad, mayo etc so the DIY nature of the activities is carried over to the food. If you buy really cheap plain cakes or biscuits for the children and let them decorate them themselves they can have fun icing and hundreds and thousands.

Our children's service was a fly by the seat of your pants event yesterday with the projector refusing to talk to the computer until the very last minute, one spelling mistake on the final slide which was commented on loudly and a backing track that slipped in without the words so I had to do lead vocals. I was shattered by the end.

deplorabelle Mon 08-Sep-14 15:58:14

Me please can I join? I do Junior church in a big, posh, choir-dominated middle to high Anglican Church and also help out with another church's toddler group (a more evangelical church)

We follow Roots lectionary resources which I sometimes find great but most often needs a lot of adapting to make it work for our age group and the time/space/resources available.

We also do occasional storytelling sessions that are a little bit like messy church (but not very) with craft activities and refreshments. We (usually I) tell a mixture of bible stories and traditional tales. It's creatively challenging and very well received by the people who come but it's not well attended. We probably ought to do it more often but it's too much for us to manage (we are a very small team)

Lovelydiscusfish Mon 08-Sep-14 18:38:05

Thanks for the food suggestions thegreenheart - that sounds both pleasant and doable/affordable, which is what we need, especially as I'm not 100 per cent certain where funding is coming from for our Messy Church yet! Our church warden has intimated that our church can fund it, but as we are not even that confident of meeting our parish share this year, I'm not too sure about that! Our vicar has promised to find some funding from somewhere, though!

Your service sounds exciting - at least it kept you on your toes. Am quite impressed that you have a projector - we don't have anything so high tech - not even a sound system!

My talk went OK, but there weren't as many children there as I was hoping, so had to get some adults involved in the activity. That may have helped in run more smoothly, though, to be fair. And the colouring sheets went down OK - at least they kept my dd quiet for the second half of the service!

Lovelydiscusfish Mon 08-Sep-14 18:41:14

Oh, and meant to say, welcome deplorabelle, the more the merrier! Interesting to hear that you find the roots materials helpful - I must go back and have a proper look, as I am sure I'm not using the website properly!

deplorabelle Mon 08-Sep-14 18:57:23

We have the paper copy which is easier to use than the web And we follow the lectionary week by week which is what makes Roots useful. I find the very short paraphrases of the story with actions are great. The children's reading is often good and the activities are a often a good jumping off point for planning (I always change it round though)

madhairday Tue 09-Sep-14 17:30:32

Children's Ministry Conference

I have only been once, but it was really good, looks like some excellent seminars there this time. Can't find out how much it is though, bit of a rubbish web page there!

madhairday Tue 09-Sep-14 17:34:21

Ha! It's because I was linking last years page <airhead>

this years

Lovelydiscusfish Tue 09-Sep-14 18:55:38

Thanks for the link Madhairday, the conference looks amazing! Not too expensive either (although I guess transport and potentially accommodation, depending how many days one went for, would bump the price up). I'm going to see what might be possible (and also find out whether anyone else in our benefice goes, or even knows about it!)

stressedHEmum Wed 10-Sep-14 11:25:18

I run a Messy Church and a Boys Brigade. I would love ideas for games/crafts.

As far as food goes, kids love those mini sausages with tomato sauce for dipping. We sometimes do a choice of sandwiches (egg, ham, tuna and sweetcorn and cheese), plates of little sausages, bowls of salad leaves, cherry tomatoes and cucumber sticks, crisps and crusty bread. Then just biscuits/cake/top hats We have tea/coffee and cake for the adults when they arrive and jugs of water and squash on the tables for the supper.

We do have cooking facilities but we don't always have cooks sad. We are a very small team (3 people with another 3 to help on the day) and it's sometimes just beyond us. Even when we do have hot food, it tends just to be pizza, sausage rolls, quiche, crusty bread and salad to make it easy for whoever is in the kitchen.

if you are just starting with Messy Church, fear not if your first couple are not well attended. Our first one had 6 folk at it, now we have over 50. It's definitely worth persevering for a wee while to give God time to lead people to you.

Lovelydiscusfish Wed 10-Sep-14 19:37:19

Thanks for the encouragement, stressedHEmum, low numbers have been a fear! And thanks for the super food suggestions. It is also reassuring to hear that you manage with a smallish team - we only have 5 core volunteers, plus other offers of help on an adhic basis, which doesn't sound a lot compared to some other Messy Churches I've heard about!

newlark Sat 13-Sep-14 16:34:32

I'll join you smile I'm part of a large evangelical anglican church - we have a rota for all the childrens groups and I teach a KS1 group once a month. We'll have lots of new year R children to get to know tomorrow moving up from the pre-school group so it will be a bit chaotic!

Lovelydiscusfish Sun 14-Sep-14 15:06:30

Hi newlark, hope it has gone well today! You must have so many children involved in your church, if you are organising groups for the different ages - it must be wonderful (but hard work at times for the volunteers too, I'm sure).

poshme Sun 14-Sep-14 15:12:14

I'll join. I help at our messy church & also sometimes do a talk at our all age service.
A fantastic resource (but v expensive so only if your church is rich haha) is the urban saints energize resources. It's searchable by passage and they have sections for 3-5,5/8,8-11,12,14,15-18yr olds I think. They have masses of stuff but probably only worth it if you've got lots of kids & youth groups.

Lovelydiscusfish Sun 14-Sep-14 18:49:37

Welcome, poshme, and thanks for the resource suggestion - I had a look at the website and it looks really interesting.

Lovelydiscusfish Tue 30-Sep-14 21:53:20

Am about to start planning my talk for our lay-led harvest service - if anyone has any ideas, about readings or topics or activities they've done, that have worked well with the kids, I would gratefully welcome them.

cheapskatemum Thu 02-Oct-14 21:30:35

Hi Everyone! We do Messy Church once a month and I teach Sunday School (our children's age range is 2 - 10). We use Scripture Union Splash and Bubbles at Sunday School. Most of the craft ideas for Messy Church come from Pinterest. Food wise, the one thing we always have, which goes down well, is a home-cooked ham! But then, we are in East Anglia and surrounded by pigs!

cheapskatemum Thu 02-Oct-14 21:31:18

Sorry, meant to say I teach Sunday School once a month.

Lovelydiscusfish Thu 02-Oct-14 23:15:11


Lovelydiscusfish Thu 02-Oct-14 23:18:10

Meant to say, welcome, cheapskatemum, and thank you for the resource (and food!) ideas. What is your church like? Getting nervous about our Messy Church now - starts next weekend. In the mean time we have harvest service this weekend - am hoping it is well attended!

Elisheva Sat 04-Oct-14 14:12:52

Have a look at Danielle's place,, and At the moment we're doing Big Ministries Big academy so all the kids are running around being secret agents with fedoras and sunglasses on!

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 05-Oct-14 22:33:34

Hello - I run Messy Church monthly and co-ordinate the Sunday morning children's work, where I lead the 10-12 year olds. Poshme I would love to hear more about why you like the Urban Saints resources. We are finding Roots very boring a bit stale and need a change. Have used SU's material in the past and found that it got repetitive for the children who've been in church a long time.

I've looked at Energize and liked the feel of it, but it's pretty expensive and I need a good case to justify £20 per month to the church treasurer!

We have about 15 children on Sundays, aged from 3 to 12, which can be a challenge. Finding gifted people who will commit to leading them even more of a challenge!

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