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Focus on resources 

Excellent, all-inclusive resources exist to help people of all ages explore their relationship with God. Here are four that have worked in Baptist settings, but there are many more.
Please follow the links and share what has worked for you in the comment box below.  


Explore Together, Scripture Union

Resources Explore TogetherExplore Together is a practical tool from Scripture Union to help people engage with the Bible. It uses natural learning preferences and preferred spiritual styles.
An ‘open question’, based on a Bible passage and one without one strict answer, will be posed for the community to explore. They will do this by participating in a range of exploratory activities. Scripture Union suggests six “Explore” zones: Colour Zone – learn by seeing; Listening Zone – learn by hearing; Chat Zone – learn by thinking aloud; Word Zone – learn by reading; Busy Zone – learn by doing; Quiet Zone – learn by reflecting.

The community will then come together to share what they have discovered or made/drawn/written, a valuable time of learning. For more visit: http://www.exploretogether.org/
Miriam Biggs is the Youth and Children’s worker at the United Church Ferndown (a Baptist/URC Local Ecumenical Partnership in Dorset). She used Explore Together recently.

“It’s a great opportunity to explore the Bible in a creative and diverse way,” said Miriam. “We have a small group of children and youth but with a wide range of ages and abilities and this suits all of them. The dad who had come with baby and toddler was already sat at the `Chat` table and appreciated being able to join in discussing the Bible passage. One of our six year olds with learning difficulties had no problems engaging; she took herself to busy zone and colouring zone, asking adults for help when necessary; I later noticed her in the `quiet zone`, just being still, looking at all the pictures on the wall.  At the end it was really interesting to hear the different things that people got out of the one passage.
“What I love about Explore Together is the fact that the resource ideas are all given to you; you don’t have to come up with additional creative ideas, which is certainly very helpful for a busy youth leader. 
“Although part of me wants to have that perfect craft for someone to take home, I understand that that is not what busy zone is about.  Although part of me wants to make sure my young people find and discover all the right answers, I know that that is not what Explore Together is about. 
“We give people the resources to explore the Bible creatively, to receive from God individually and to take the next step on their Christian journey. It’s not about what you make, draw or write, but what you discover as you create, colour and reflect on.” 


Fischy Music

Resources Fischy Fischy Music is a charity that supports the emotional, social and spiritual well-being of primary age children. It has worked directly with children for many years and its resources are used in thousands of schools and churches across the UK and beyond. Fischy emphasises the uniqueness, creativity and worth of every child, and it produces memorable and easy to learn songs that any child can sing. Its resources are closely aligned with key curricular areas in schools.

The charity has its roots in the Christian faith, but its health and wellbeing songs and resources are inclusive and appropriate for all children regardless of outlook on life or religious belief. It works primarily in Primary schools across the UK but also provides resources that are suitable for use in religious and moral education and in church settings.

Craig Gardiner, Tutor in Doctrine at South Wales Baptist College, said:

“Fischy Music are doing things that repeatedly connect worship with real life issues to young people (and adults) in their songs.    
“They deserve to be better known in our Baptist family.”

For more visit: http://www.fischy.com/


The All-In Thing, Big Ministries

Resources The All in ThingThe All-In Thing is a resource designed to help people create worship experiences that actually work for times when the whole church is 'All-In' together in a service. 
The premise is to take into consideration the massive variety of people in our churches (regardless of age) and facilitate their worship by making things accessible and inclusive for all. “All learning styles, all ages, all backgrounds, all stages on the journey of faith should be able to come together and worship together and pursue Jesus together,” says Phil Knox, Church Resources Director at Youth for Christ.

“The All-In thing is an amazing collection of activities, of things to do as a church, to get this right.”
Created by BIG Ministries, which is part of Youth for Christ, the All-in-Thing launched in 2015. Lots of resources are on the website: http://www.bigministries.co.uk/theallinthing
Hannah Kernthaler is a former deacon and primary school children's work coordinator at Lower Earley Baptist Church in Reading. A recent Christmas she was asked to lead an all-age nativity service, and having spent time with Big Ministries, attempted an All-In type service. 

"We started the church service together as our normal services with prayer, a few carols and lighting the advent candles, before splitting the congregation into three groups for the rotation time. Each group then took part in three activities in a rotation, while there was the option for an in-depth Bible study for those who preferred. The rotation sessions each lasted about 15mins. One involved a dressing up nativity using the Christmas story from Bob Hartman’s ‘Storyteller Bible’. Another was a Godly play activity which covered creation to Christmas, focussing on light and how Jesus was the light of the world. After listening to the story there was a time to respond using various craft activities. The final rotation session was a craft activity, making loom band stars with some play dough, paper, pens and stickers to give space for people to respond in whatever way suited them. After the rotation time, we joined back together for final carols and prayer.
"Although by no means fully ‘all-in’, this service definitely went some way in giving opportunity for people of all ages, abilities and preferences to join in. It worked really well, and people really engaged across that different activities - regardless of their age."


Godly Play

Resources Godly PlayGodly Play is a multi-sensory, creative approach to Christian nurture. Although originally devised for children, it is used in a variety of settings. There will be a story, told using objects or artefacts. The story is followed by a time of wondering, with open questions and discussion. There will then be time of responding, using a variety of materials: art, silence, play, writing. The session finishes with people gathering for a time of sharing and thanksgiving. The role of the adult/teacher is much more about facilitating the session rather than teaching. 
Sian Hancock, Godly Play trainer and Tutor at Bristol Baptist College

“Godly Play places a higher emphasis on discovering God, and starts from the preface that there is already a relationship between God and the child. It encourages a wider perception on sharing the Bible with children and it seeks to help children learn the religious language of symbolism, gesture and imagery. Altogether it fosters a deeper encounter with the living God.”

Visit www.godlyplay.uk

What has helped you and your families? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comment box below.


This article appears in the Autumn 2016 edition of Baptists Together magazine

Baptists Together, 08/09/2016
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