The Family Meal

John Murchison writes for the VergeNetwork.  In this article he discusses one of features of developing Missional Communities:
The Family Meal

mealWhat Is A Family Meal?
In short, a Family Meal is an opportunity for the community to gather together around a meal to eat, talk, share life, rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and mourn with those who are mourning (Romans 12:15). It’s less like a Sunday School class that happens to meet in a home and more like a gathering of extended family over food. The Bible certainly is a frequent topic of conversation, but it’s less like “Everyone open your Bibles to Philippians 3,” and more like “Earlier this week, I read this passage of Philippians that I wanted to share with you.”

Click here to view the full article.


4 Things Moms (and Dads) Should Teach Kids About Prayer

mom-prayerMimi Bullock writes on the Ministry to Children Webpage.
As Mother’s Day and Father’s Day rolls around, let’s think a little more about what we can do to encourage our children to talk to God. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few pointers when it comes to teaching kids about prayer. 1. Kids should know that God speaks their “language.” Whether influenced by King James or our favorite minister, we adults tend to get formal at times when talking to God. I doubt that you break out the thee’s and thou’s in front of your child during family prayer but if you do, perhaps you should reconsider. Kids need to know that talking to God is not always formal; it can be from their own childish language.

Read more here.


Internet sessions for parentsand teens

computerDiane Kingston from Romsey Abbey has emailed us with the following offer:

on 3 Fridays in September I’ll be running some sessions at Romsey Abbey Church Rooms that could be of interest :

Internet for parents, teachers, youth leaders & community members on Fridays from 7:30pm to 9pm, starting with refreshments:

12th Sept – Helping children stay safe while online
19th Sept – Explore the dangers and signs of cyber-bullying

Internet for 11-18 year olds on Friday 26th Sept from 7:30pm to 9pm, starting with refreshments:

26th Sept – Controlling your online identity – protecting your digital reputation

There is no charge for these sessions, but there will be a retiring collection to cover costs, and any profit will be split between Romsey Abbey and Mary’s Meals (a charity providing daily meals to schoolchildren in some of the world’s poorest communities)

These sessions will include handouts – you don’t need to bring a laptop with you.

5 Mentoring Questions to Ask (and 5 Questions to Ask You Mentor)

5 mentoring questions

I’m preparing to have a first meeting with someone who is seeking mentoring this morning, and as it’s been a while since I’ve done mentoring I thought I’d get some inspiration on questions to ask. Below are five questions I’ll be asking as mentor and then 5 questions you could ask if you’re being mentored.

5 Mentoring Questions:

  1. Why are you looking for mentoring/what do you expect to get out of our time together? What do you expect to give?
  2. Where do you see yourself in 1/3/5 years? (Do you have any kind of plan?)
  3. Have you had a mentor before? What worked? What didn’t?
  4. What propels you? What holds you back?
  5. Are you happy?

And a sixth extra killer question…

6. What questions do you have for me?

5 Questions For Your Mentor

  1. How do you spend most of your time?
  2. What are you most proud of achieving?
  3. What do you see as your main goal?
  4. Who should I be connecting with?
  5. What used to be (are) your biggest weaknesses?

And a sixth extra killer question…

6. How can I help you?


Christian Youthwork in Theory and Practice – New Book from SCM Press

I’ve just ordered my copy of this brand new title from editors Sally Nash and Jo Whitehead, but I’ve got high expectations for this latest text book for youth ministry – not least because it’s one of very few written from and for the UK context.

It’s currently available direct from SCM for the reduced price of £20, (that’s cheaper than Amazon!)

Read a full synopsis and a couple of reviews here.

5 Questions to Ask Your Youth Group About Pentecost

5 Questions PentecostGood open questions are one of the keys to great youth work – the ability to ask a question that will spark conversation is always going to be better than a list of facts to instruct your group in.

Here are 5 questions to get you all chatting about Pentecost (June 8 2014), you may want to start by reading Acts 2: 1-13

1. How do you think you would you have reacted to the sound of rushing wind and the tongues of fire?

2. How does the Holy Spirit’s arrival change the disciples?

3. How did the disciples respond to the ‘sneering’ of the crowds? How do you respond when people sneer at your faith?

4. What kinds of things would you like the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to do?

5. How does God’s Spirit work in us today? Is it the same as the story in Acts 2 or different?



5 Activities to Get Your Group Praying

5 prayer activitiesPrayer can be a real struggle for many young people (and their leaders) so it’s useful to have some activities that help you and your group slow down and focus. These are all tried and tested…

1. Centring Prayer

The centring prayer is a very simple way of helping your group to set aside the thoughts and the worries of the day and to focus in on God and on spending some time with each other and with Him.

Encourage your group to close their eyes, and to sit quietly for a short while (for some this may be 5 seconds, others may manage 30 or more!) Then quietly read these words:

Imagine that you are walking down a staircase that begins in your mind and winds, slowly down to your heart. Take a few moments to imagine walking this staircase, leaving all the many worries and thoughts behind, slowly descending into a secret room or chapel within your heart, where God waits to pray with you.

(From Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli)

2. Relax

Just getting your group to stop and be still for a few moments may be some kind of small miracle. Encourage your group to sit quietly and relax and to become aware of their breathing. Read them this exercise by Jenny Baker.

Sit comfortably and be still.
Enjoy the peace of this place.
As you relax your body, gently become aware of your building…
Breathe a little more deeply, a little more slowly.

Breathe in the spirit of God; breathe out worry.
Breathe in the love of God; breathe out loneliness.
Breathe in the acceptance of God; breathe out the need to impress.
Breathe in the presence of God; breathe out all that troubles you.
Breathe in peace; breathe out tension.
Breathe in love; breathe out hate.
Breathe in acceptance; breathe out rejection.
Breathe in forgiveness; breathe out blame.
Breathe in life; breathe out death.
Breathe in trust; breathe out fear.

Breathe in; breathe out;
Breathe in; breathe out.

(From Heart Soul Mind Strength by Jenny Baker)

3.  Jesus is Here

This is an activity that I have used at the start of youth sessions for years, to mark the fact that Christ is with is. By starting with it, and by leaving the candle burning throughout, you make it clear that everything you do together is with God  rather than giving the idea that there are fun bits, food bits and ‘God’ bits.

Invite the group to be quiet for a moment, and then as you read these words from John 20:19:

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’

After another moment of quiet continue with your session.

4. Praying for the impossible

I’m not sure where this activity was first published – let me know if you do and I’ll reference it! I last used this at Easter – inviting a group to reflect on the idea that a man coming back from the dead was impossible and wondering what we might dare ask God to do with that miracle in mind.

Hand out small squares of paper, and then invite your group to write or draw something that reflects something of the impossible where they would like God to intervene; it may be a broken relationship, a poorly friend or relative, or something from the news; a conflict or a natural disaster.

Once you’ve all finished writing, carefully fold the four corners of the piece of paper in the centre, to make a second smaller square.


Finally, in a large bowl or tray of water, float all of your prayers and watch as they slowly (miraculously?!) open up. Invite the young people to reflect on what God might be saying to you all.

5. Praise

Go for a walk… easy to say as the sun pours through the window! Take your group out for a quiet wander and invite them to find something that talks to them about God. Remember if you leave your usual premises you will need permission from parents. If your church has a yard of some kind you’ll find all sorts of stuff without ever leaving the site.

After a while (stop before they get bored) invite everyone to gather and simply ask them to show what they found and reflect on what they discovered about God.

Bereavement resources for young people

see saw

SeeSaw helps children and their families both before and after a major bereavement, helping them to move forward and to face the future with hope.

“It just gave me a bit of peace when the wheels of my life came off.”

They can give advice to parents and carers, teachers and other professionals, and young people themselves. They also provide a tailored service to meet young people or their parents in person. The service is free and confidential.

Praying with lollies

Thanks to Jane Butcher, from the Diocese of Portsmouth for this tip:

A simple, fun and tasty way to pray together as a family. Simply colour some lolly sticks, select some prayer topics and you are ready to go. This prayer activity could be used each day for a week or over a period of time. Getting ready you will need:
•a small polystyrene block or play dough
•small pack of sweet lollies
•felt tip pens.


Choose three topics you would like to pray about – it could be family, friends, school, work, a neighbour, world issues. Write each topic on a card and highlight the topic with a colour – for example, red, blue or green.  Next, mark the bottom of the lolly sticks with your three chosen colours – for example, if you have six lollies, colour two sticks red, two sticks blue and two sticks green – and poke the sticks into the polystyrene or play dough so the colours on the bottom of the sticks are hidden from view.  Using the prayer lollies choose a suitable time for your family prayer activity and sit together in a quiet place. One person then selects one of the lollies from the display and uses the colour on the bottom of the stick to select the topic for prayer – for example, using the suggestion above, a lolly with a red-coloured stick would mean praying for family/friends. Think about the topic together before you pray and then all enjoy a lolly afterwards – have some extra lollies available so everyone can have one!