Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Name tags for adult participants
- A pencil and a 5x7-inch unlined index card for each participant
- Copies of Leader Resource 1, Guide for Adult Guests, for all adults
Preparation for Activity
- Invite three adult congregants to participate in this activity by sharing with the children their stories about why they come to your congregation. Make sure the individuals have different stories to tell and that they are willing to miss some of the worship service to participate. When you invite them specify when, where, and how long you will need them. Give them a copy of Leader Resource 1. Confirm with them a few days before the session.
- Identify three locations within the building where the children can "find" the three adults. Make sure you can have access to these spaces at the time you need them. The adults may suggest locations (sanctuary, kitchen, front lobby) that are personally meaningful for them.
- Optional: To save time, invite the adult guests to form a panel to share their stories with the group in the meeting space.
Description of Activity
This activity introduces several adult congregants who will express how they find meaning at church and why children are important to the congregation.
If you have instructed adults to wait for the children at different locations, the group will move to find the adults. Line up the group and explain that they are going on a journey to find out "why the heck other people come to church." Explain that at each stop on the journey we will meet someone who will share a word with us. Ask the participants to write these words on their index cards. If any have difficulty doing so, you can help them.
If you are using a panel discussion approach, explain how you would like the children to question the adults.
Ask someone in the group to lead you to the first location. If one of the locations is the sanctuary, then ask the entire group to file in, stand quietly for a moment, look carefully around the space, and then file out. The guest can then speak to the group outside the sanctuary.
Introduce each adult and then invite the group to quickly share their names. Prompt each adult with the same query: Why do you attend church? After they explain why, prompt them to (1) share their word with the group and (2) tell the group why they are grateful the children in the group attend church. Ask the children if they have questions, being mindful of the time.
Model thanking the guest for meeting the group, then ask a participant to lead the group to the next location.
After returning to the meeting space, ask everyone to sit silently at a table with their card for 30 seconds. Use the chime or bell to end the silence. Invite observations or thoughts. Thank everyone for their participation.
Including All Participants
If your building cannot accommodate the needs of participants with mobility limitations, opt for the panel approach and stay in the regular meeting space.
Although there is movement in this activity, some participants may find listening to adults tell stories of their church life challenging. Stay near these participants. If possible, use them as leaders, as a reward for their attention and stillness during the brief discussion(s). Invite them to draw on their cards.