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29 July 2015

What if we worshipped God like children?

James Musson Communications
All Age Service image

We went to the all age service at Above Bar on Sunday 26th July. What a fantastic, messy, noisy, buzzy and absolute fun way to worship our amazing God.

Brilliantly led by a team with a single purpose of taking the gathering on a journey of worship whether you were 2 or 92, a purpose I might add that was so well achieved.

Prayer, songs, testimony and a clever and good humoured message all delivered with simple and thought provoking imagery to engage those with short attention spans.

A great deal of planning will have gone into making this apparent chaos so well organised and run to time. Those of us that lead evening services could well learn about timing and the worship journey by coming to experience the all age services. A big thank you to the entire team for helping us so enjoy this time with God.

This was church as community, celebrating demonstrably our lives in the joy of Christ. 

Yes, for sure there is a time for adult worship. To be fed from God’s word (we have such a wonderful preaching team), to rejoice in and praise God with great songs and spend time in responsive and reflective prayer… and as a church we try to do this week in and week out. 

There is a time for children’s church… and we have so many dedicated leaders and supporters delivering GSMA where our young people can learn and grow in their faith during regular morning services. 

Similarly our Youth church programmes help take our teens on, exploring Jesus at work in their lives.

And not forgetting our ‘First Impressions’ team, who help create the friendly and welcoming environment for all of our services. All of these ingredients help create the vibrant church and worship that God has blessed with such growth over recent years.

So, here’s the thing… We all have friends and colleagues, in our neighbourhoods and workplaces, with very negative views of church. 

And whether these views are informed by a media that focuses on the Christian position on gay marriage, gay bishops and women in leadership or by memories of cold, draughty church buildings and dry formal services led by men in robes with not a word spoken out of place; they have negative views we find hard to change.

After my experience today I’m pretty sure that an invitation to an all age service could well begin to change those views.

I remember John Risbridger early this year, in a vision setting series of sermons talking about us as church becoming ‘families on mission together’. He was referring to what we do in our missional communities and small groups. 

If ever there was a family ‘missional opportunity' for those friends and neighbours to meet Jesus in a way that is attractive, relevant and opinion changing, an all age service is just that. 

So, who are you going to invite?

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1 comment

Noel Heather on July 29, 2015

“As one who studies religious discourse academically, the last All-Age service I attended at ABC 2-3 years ago was the best I’ve ever been to, as I told Tony Watkins. It’s important to remember also that Matthew 19:14 has another very important function in the Gospels as mitigation of Christ’s frequent hedging remarks about the biological family ('let the dead...” etc etc). The Gospels/Christ lead us from the previous theocratic, socially-normative, Friday-night-with-the-biological-family religion, to the Acts 2, spiritually-normative, Sunday-morning-with-the-fellow-believers religion. Mtt 19:14 mitigates Christ’s frequent family-hedging remarks because presumably the disciples may have got the wrong end of the stick. Jesus has nothing against families, but he’s trying to get us to focus on the spiritual family nature of the church. Sadly many seem to have lost touch a bit with this in the current era.

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