All Age and Family Service Resources
Some guidelines and resources for services which include young people and their families meeting together in worship and prayer.
The need for inclusive family worship is based on the many examples throughout both the Old and New Testaments in the Bible where children and young people along with their families are together and where faith was a part of their daily lives.
Foundation and structure
The foundation and structure of the resources offered is that of the ‘Service of the Word’ from the Church of England’s Common Worship materials ensuring that the language and tone is user friendly and accessible by all who take part.
The structure follows a pattern of gathering together in worship and a short time for reflection. A time of affirming Christian faith together is followed by listening to God’s word either through reading from the Bible or acting out the drama of the reading or even simply telling the story.
The singing and music is both a mix of modern songs and traditional hymns with all ages able to take part either in the singing or the music making with simple instruments including ‘shakers’.
Activities in these services include crafts, making props for the stories, creating pictures and other ‘messy’ activities.
The order for these services is generally printed on an A4 sheet of paper folded in to two.
The whole format of these services is assembled to allow the all ages involved times to sit and ‘be’ and other times to be ‘doing’ in a time together that generally never exceeds about 45 minutes in length.
Some practical examples of services that have been assembled by Nancy Clague include:
Additionally there are other ideas for some themed services including ‘Harvest’ and ‘Mission of Love’ which can be found here and some further notes on prayer with examples which can be found here.
Other published resources that have been recommended for use by churches looking to All Age Inclusive Worship include:
Godly Play – which is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture
It can be used in a variety of settings churches, schools, hospitals, care homes for the elderly
- Godly Play is based on long established, tried and tested approaches
- Godly Play uses symbols and objects as well as words
- Godly Play values process, openness and discovery
- Godly Play encourages people to make meaning for themselves
Further details of which may be found here.
Messy Church – Messy Church began as one church’s attempt to be church for families who might want to meet Jesus, belong to their local church and bring up their children as Christians but can’t cope with traditional Sunday morning church services.
It’s a once-a-month time of creativity, worship and eating together. You may have seen it featured on the Fresh Expressions DVD expressions or read about it in the Barnabas book Messy Church.
You may even have visited a Messy Church or started one up as part of your church’s ministry to families.
For further information on Messy Church follow the link here.
All Sorts Worship – All-sorts Worship are complete services for every Sunday of the year. They are designed to include everyone, which means that the whole congregation worships together and nobody is tidied away. Each service offers a completely fresh set of ideas, tailored to a specific theme:
- An opening prayer activity to gather people together
- Lively Bible storytelling which may be visual, dramatic or even edible!
- Creative prayers using tactile objects, movement, stillness, sound or silence
- Interactive multi-media teaching to help people of all ages explore their faith
- Complete scripts and checklists for leaders
- Visual resources on the accompanying CD-ROM
Diocesan Children’s Work Resources Library
The full Diocesan resource is presently held at St John’s and the full listing is available here.