Saturday, March 29, 2014

Godly Play, For All

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.

I have found myself planning the worship, once again. This week is both exciting and a bit nerve racking as we will be trying something completely new to this congregation, Godly Play.

If you aren't familiar with Godly Play, here is what I have put in pew sheet for tomorrow.

Godly Play is an approach to worship that simplifies the elements of the worship time. The intent is to draw one into worship and experience God. It is based on the Montessori model and was originally intended to provide children an opportunity to learn about worship through worship itself. Adults who have become familiar with the Godly Play approach realize its effectiveness with people of all ages. The first part of worship is about getting ready to be with God in a special way. The fourth part is about getting ready to go into the world as part of the body of Christ. In between we are able to be fully present to worship our God.

Yes, part of the reason for using the Godly Play approach here in the sanctuary on the last Sunday of the month is to have the children be engaged and full members of our worshiping community. But it is more than that. We also pray that the simplicity of the worship time will allow you to draw closer to God in a way that may deepen your relationship with Him as well.

The following elements are part of worship and represented in Godly Play.

“Assemble in God’s name”
Call to Worship
Song of Praise

“Proclaim God’s Word”
Telling God’s Word
Response to God’s Word
Reading the Bible

“Give thanks to God”
Prayer of Thanksgiving
(Lord’s Supper / Feast)

“Go in God’s name”
Going into the world as ministers of Jesus

Our church does a rotation of service formats. The last Sunday of the month, though intended as an 'all age' service, is often the hardest for our families. It is the one Sunday that children are asked to stay in the sanctuary the entire time (75 minutes, or so). As you can imagine, it is not a family favorite, this coming from families with toddler as well as tweens.

This is not where I am going to discuss all age worship versus Sunday School versus another model, so you can breath a sigh of relief. The intent (and prayer) of those of us spearheading this experiment is that everyone is engaged in the worship experience, that everyone finds some value in the worship experience, and that we can have a fulfilling worship experience in a time frame that is comfortable for everyone. If you are the praying type, please pray that our congregation is open to this new experience.

I can't put any more planning into this. It is now time to sit back and let the Spirit move. We'll see what the morning brings.

(A note that could be amusing. Lebanon goes onto Daylight Savings Time tonight. If someone doesn't push their clock forward, with the time frame we are trying out tomorrow they will miss the entire service.)


  1. Having been in a church where my children were with me every Sunday, for the whole service (and having to entertain them myself since my husband was one of the pastors), and in a church where the children go to Children's Church for the whole service, every week, I can see value in both. I do pray that your congregation is able to worship together in this service.

  2. Asking God to richly bless your service this Sunday! I had not heard of Godly Play before, but it sounds very interesting. Perhaps I need to find out a bit more.

  3. This sounds like a wonderful way to bring the children in as part of the service and allowing them to grow spiritually with their parents. I can only imagine having young children sitting through church for 75 minutes. Jackie