Tables with Jesus

Are you looking for intergenerational worship centers that get all ages to think and become active with their faith? Well, I have a source to share that we tried out at Columbia Theological Seminary a week ago that was a success.

Earlier this summer I ran across the work of Lilly Lewin at Free Range Worship. She was the worship leader at the Intergenerate Conference in Nashville and had set up a room under the theme Tables with Jesus, where each table had a different theme from the life of Jesus that engaged the viewer in thoughtful reflection and action. Most of the tables use objects that can be found around the home and all the signs and instructions are available for a reasonable price on her website.

Here you can see how some of our tables turned out without all the people who came. We left them up for several days after the chapel for people to explore on their own time. We only did seven stations, mainly because I had seven students in my doctoral seminar and they each were in charge of a station.

Party with Levi Table- Focuses on the outcasts of society and thinking who we invite to the party. The activity is to write the names of the unlikely guests on band aids that can be worn as you remember to pray for these individuals or groups.

 

 

Beach Party with Jesus- Thinking about how Jesus provides for our needs and writing our prayers of thanksgiving on fish, before sampling a goldfish cracker

 

 

 

Table of Reconciliation- What does it mean to set a table in the presence of our enemies as it says in Psalm 23?

 

 

 

 

Every Day Table- With whom do we sit down at breakfast, lunch and dinner? Who should we invite to join us? How can we pray for them throughout our day?

 

 

 

Lilly Lewin will be writing an upcoming post for us about the many other ideas she has on her site. I hope this post provokes you to think about all the tables that constitute our lives and at which Jesus joins us.

Kathy Dawson, Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Education, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur GA

Christmas Participation Story

I wrote the Christmas Participation Story over 20 years ago. When I was a student at The Presbyterian School of Christian Education, one of my textbooks was A Guide to Recreation, by Glenn Bannerman and Robert Fakkema. One of the activities in that book was a participation story with a “cowboy setting.” It was a popular activity but written in a period where inclusive language and political correctness had yet to develop. I really enjoyed the format, however and began to write similar stories based on biblical texts. I paraphrased the text into a storytelling format in which I repeated words and phrases throughout and assigned groups to respond with certain words, actions, inflections, volume etc. Continue reading

Young Worship Tool Box

Church culture change is hard! Our congregation had Sunday School at the same time as worship for decades. That changed almost 10 years ago, but we are still finding that families have a hard time feeling welcome in worship. The culture for including children has not yet changed. A team of people decided to make some small steps to work on that. Continue reading

St. Andrew’s FISH – Families Integrating Sunday and Home

Like many churches these days, St. Andrew’s had limited volunteer resources and sporadic attendance at Church School. The “regular” families were frustrated and burned out. And my experience had taught me that parental involvement is the single most important success factor in Christian formation. We were ready to do church differently.

We’re an Episcopal church, with a rich liturgical tradition. I have long believed that worship is the most formative thing we do, and worship was working well. We have strong and consistent attendance for our Family Service, which meets during the readings, sermon and prayers of the primary service. We do all the same things, in a more family-friendly setting. Then we rejoin the primary service for Communion, every Sunday. We don’t have any rules about what ages belong where, or parental accompaniment; we let each family make the decision that suits them best. Many parents choose to worship with their children. Continue reading

Pentecost Resources

It seems like we just celebrated the glorious news of Easter, but Pentecost, the fiftieth day, is rapidly approaching. This is the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church.

This seems to be a holy day where many churches craft their own intergenerational traditions, rituals, and ways of celebrating. Some congregations dress in red and take a church picture. Others release balloons symbolizing the spreading of the Gospel. Some fly kites, make pin wheels, or wave streamers/flags in worship to live out the Holy Spirit’s symbolization of wind in Acts 2, John 3, and in the very Hebrew and Greek words for spirit.

Many denominations provide resources or take up special offerings on this day.  Here are some links to the denominational resources I found. What resources and ways of celebrating this festive day, have you found helpful? Continue reading

Interactive Worship Ideas

At Faith Presbyterian (https://www.facebook.com/faithpresgso), we embrace our traditional worship style and space while making our service accessible and engaging for all. Children and their families are welcome at the front of the sanctuary with activities geared toward their age level. Our family worship guide follows the pattern of the service and offers extra enrichment ideas and activities for children and active learners of all ages.The outline of a traditional worship service centered around The Word is beautiful and quite freeing when we remember that The Word is The Living Word of God – incarnate in Christ, written in scripture, and enacted in the world.

For Lent, we are using a themed sermon series inspired by Rev. Whitney Wilkinson following the “Landscape of Lent.” Each week, we add a new visual element to represent some aspect of the scripture – ashes, wilderness, wind, water, mud, cave, palms, bread – and we will close with Easter in the garden. Continue reading