Activity 4: Creating a Congregational Event
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Sheets of newsprint listing congregational events, from Activity 1, Where Do We Mix?
- Newsprint, markers and tape
- Blank paper, a pen or pencil and a copy of Handout 1, Congregational Event for All Ages, for each group
- Leader Resource 2, List of Ages and Stages
Preparation for Activity
- Copy Handout 1 for all participants.
- Post newsprint listing congregational events brainstormed in Activity 1.
- On another sheet of newsprint, list six age categories: very young children, school-age children, teens, young adults, older adults and very old adults. Post the list.
- Optional: Post another sheet, and list (1) why enjoy? (2) how meaningful? and (3) how participate? as short reminders of the small group discussion questions.
- Post blank newsprint to compile small groups' ideas at the end of the activity.
Description of Activity
Form as many small groups as you have adult facilitators-ideally, each with five to nine participants. Give each group paper and a pen or pencil and ask for a volunteer in each group to take notes.
Ask each group to choose one congregational activity or event on the list to discuss. The event should be one that (1) most of the group value and enjoy and (2) they agree is important to at least some people in the congregation.
Give groups a moment to choose an event. Then, quiet the group and invite groups to discuss these questions, with the note-taker recording the group's answers. Tell them they will have five minutes.
- What is enjoyable about the event or activity?
- What is meaningful or valuable about the event/activity? (Another way to frame this question is, "What do very young children [or another age group] get out of this activity/event?")
- How does the event/activity engage people in different age groups? (Or, "How do very young children [or another age group] participate?")
Give a one-minute warning and then stop the groups. Then give them another five minutes to consider how the event/activity could be changed to be more fun, meaningful, and engaging for people of every age and stage of life. Remind participants to avoid suggesting changes to appeal to one age group that could cause another group to like the activity less.
You may wish to mention the story "The Children's Crusade":
As you think about how all ages share time together in our congregation, remember the story we heard. Consider what the children and the adults in Birmingham each brought to the protest march, and what a child or adult may have experienced as a result of doing that activity together.
Give groups at least five minutes. Then ask them to stop their discussion and choose a spokesperson.
Re-gather everyone in a circle. Invite spokespeople to briefly present how they would change one congregational event or activity. Record ideas in note form on the blank newsprint.
To close this activity, lead a discussion about how the various suggestions would engage different age groups to make the event/activity more enjoyable and meaningful for them and how different ages could participate.
Variation - Faith in Action
If this activity could lead into a Faith in Action activity in which the group will plan and/or host an explicitly multigenerational congregational activity or event, guide the discussion toward consensus on a plan based on one or more small groups' suggestions. You may end up with a suggestion for a brand new event to propose to the congregation.
Conclude by asking for volunteers and assigning roles so the group can present their idea to your minister, your director of religious education, or other congregational leaders.