Suzybower's Blog

Creative ideas for church and youth ministry.

Archive for experiential

Whiter than snow (creative prayer)

Needed: snow, bowls for the snow to go in.

Very simple, but whilst the world was all beautifully white and snowy I asked the young people to go and get some snow each in a bowl. We chatted a bit about David’s life and the background behind Psalm 51.  I then invited the young people to reflect on the imagery of ‘wash me, I shall be whiter than snow’ as I  read out some of Psalm 51, Isaiah 1:16-18 and some other verses about forgiveness (interspersed with silence).

We then shared any thoughts or reflections that we had been mulling over.

You could adapt this idea to: Play a song as people use the snow to reflect on forgiveness (e.g. ‘Search Me’ by Vicky Beeching from Yesterday, Today and Forever album). I would encourage you to still ask people to feedback at the end, thus making the worship more corporate rather than individualistic. And from an extroverts point of view, is good for some people to be able to formalize what they have been thinking about.

[Photo courtesy of Kore via flickr – a fab site]

A pregnant pause: Christmas service in a stable

Things needed: Stable (or local B&B), candles, torches.

During advent last year we held one of our evening services in a stable. I was so unbelievably excited about this service from the time the idea popped into my head, until…well I’m still pretty excitable about it, and already looking forward to next year’s one. But despite this fact, I managed to tame my extrovert tendencies and not tell the whole world about it before the event. So it was all a bit of a surprise for everyone.

This is how the service ran:

– Everyone arrived at the church knowing only that we might be going outside for a bit, so they should wear warm clothing. I asked them all to write down on a piece of paper their answer to the question ‘What signifies Christmas for you?’ (If I had had the resources I would have got them to write this on a stone).

– We then walked to a local B&B (owned by a member of our church) which had a stable out the back. I had put some fairy lights up beforehand and made a couple of benches with hay bails and wooden planks. I had also placed a candle in the center on a table.

– As people arrived they all received a candle and a service sheet. The service was then fairly reflective and contained liturgy, carols, a poem, and some readings (if you would like a copy of the service sheet let me know).

– At the end of the service people were invited to respond to the message by making sure Jesus was the significant thing for them this Christmas (said in a less cheesy way than that!). If they wanted to, they could place the piece of paper (from the beginning of the service) around the central candle.

– We then enjoyed some hot spiced apple (Mulled wine spice with Capella apple juice) and mince pies.

If you don’t happen to have a stable near your church, you could always ask around at local B&B’s to see if you could go there and have a service out the back somewhere because there’s no room for you to have it in the inn…