Over the summer we tried to tweak our service. We started a 10 minutes section where people worked in groups answering some basic questions about the passage we had read and which would be preached on later in the service. There were 3 or 4 questions, the last one of which started people thinking about application or questions they had about the passage we read.
There were a number of reasons behind trying this. Firstly we haven’t got the manpower to restart our Sunday school classes post COVID, so the children have been in the service with sheets that accompanied the sermon. But many have just been quite passive in the service. Partly I think that’s the result of lockdown online church, partly for some it’s a lack of discipleship at home, but also because listening to someone speak for an extended period of time isn’t what they’re used to. Secondly I wanted to encourage families to engage with the bible together, to ask and answer questions together and learn together. Thirdly I still feel like we’re missing some of the relational warmth and connections we had as a church before COVID and this is another opportunity for people to talk together and learn about each other and hopefully cement the place of the Bible and conversations about faith in those friendships .
It’s taken a few weeks but it’s great to see the vast majority of people engaging with the bible. There are print outs of the Bible passage available with crayons and coloured pens for those who think best as they highlight key words and can scribble all over things. There is always an easy observation question to get people started moving through to the more thought provoking, heart searching questions at the end. And then we gather together again and feedback answers to the questions and any questions we have about the passage. It has been encouraging to have a few people say how much they’ve loved it, how great it is to have their families talking together over the Bible. The children have really engaged with it.
We’re planning to carry on with it over this coming term though it may need tweaking as we return to our series in Deuteronomy. I’d love you to pray that families and friendships are formed through God’s word.