We're excited to be able to meet back together again as a church family! Our services are going to be safe and hugely positive for all who get involved. We'll be running short All-Age services, and here are some thoughts on how to approach them positively and get the most out of them!
Why we cannot run children’s groups for the time being
Accessible, fun children’s groups, with age-appropriate Bible teaching, have always been a key priority for us at Trinity at Four. However, we are unable to run these groups for the time being. This is for two principal reasons:
First, currently the official government advice for church services requires children’s groups to follow the Department of Education guidelines for school classes. As you will know, this has been a mammoth task for schools to implement, and transferring them across to a very different context at church will be challenging. We need time to look at how that will work within our Sunday meetings.
Second, the facilities we need are not immediately available. The Trinity school facilities we have been using were a little small, even without social distancing. And Trinity school has enough on its hands currently without also thinking through whether they would be willing for us to use their facilities on a Sunday afternoon.
Neither of these need to be long term problems, and we will work to resume our Sunday children’s groups as soon as we responsibly and safely can. Please join us in praying for God’s provision for this key area of our church family life.
Making the most of the opportunities of All-Age services
Whilst our convictions about the huge benefits of children’s groups on a Sunday haven’t changed, there are some real benefits to doing all-age church services. If you are parents of young kids who anticipate the experience being stressful, or someone without kids who feels it's not really pitched for them, I'd love you to consider these, and to throw yourselves in:
Benefits for children. It’s great for children to learn to engage with a whole service (albeit much shorter than usual), and to see that they are valued members of our church family.
Benefits for adults. Whether we have kids or not, God has called us together as a united church family of all ages. We serve the whole church family by contributing even when it's not ‘pitched’ directly at us.
Benefits for families. It’s great for families to worship together, and to be able to chat together about what they learned afterwards.
Benefits for parents. Parents have the opportunity to engage more fully with what their children are learning from the Bible, and play an active role in that.
Some practicalities for parents
Church with kids shouldn't be stressful. But under the circumstances, it will probably be more challenging than usual, so here are a few thoughts for parents.
What we will provide for children
Services that are short, engaging, and that school-aged children should have no trouble following along and being involved in.
A colouring sheet related to the Bible passage for younger children during the service.
An activity sheet based on the Bible passage for children to take home with them after the service.
What it might be helpful to bring along yourselves
Snacks etc are fine to bring along, but not to share with anyone outside your household
We will not provide colouring pencils for the colouring sheet, so please bring your own if needed.
Sadly we cannot yet provide any toys for babies or pre-school children, so if it would be helpful to bring your own, please do.
Hang on in there
It really is a brilliant thing for you and for your kids to be engaged with physical face to face church family. It may be harder than usual at the moment, but it will gradually get easier, so it really is worth hanging on in there whilst we navigate this together!
Please also give lots of feedback, and thoughts on how we might manage things as well as possible.
This is a season. It's my prayer that it will be a season of unexpected blessing, as we do church in a different way to usual. Do join me in praying!