On we go with our third instalment of this series. For those of you joining us late, I’ll explain. Imagine I have been washed up on the shores of a desert island only to discover that I’m on the kids work rota that week in the little shore-side chapel. What items would I bring with me to ensure that I was able to do it and why? So far I have packed: [part one] a sponge football, biscuits, a candles, [part two] craft resources, a parachute and some gaffa tape. So I’m already in a strong position – but what else do I need?
Item 7: A Bible
It’s probably about time I mentioned the Bible! You will notice however that I haven’t said that I would pack a children’s bible. Personally I would rather have full version than a specially written children’s one. These can often present an edited version of the Bible that leaves out all the bits that are deemed as non-child friendly based not on any theological insight but on whether they have nice animals in them!
I’m keen to try and help the children engage with the whole story of the Bible not just the ‘exciting bits. This is important as the whole Bible is a resource for the child’s whole life and if we only show them the ‘good bits’ of the Bible then they have no resource to understand the difficult bits of their lives.
My plan will be to tell the stories myself based on the Bible versions and try and include all the tough bits and allow the children to find their own way around them. I might even try and work in sequence through the Bible in order to allow the children to see how the whole story unfolds rather than seeing each story in isolation.
I will of course be choosing a large bible with lots of extra commentary features. These will help me as I prepare my stories and provide a ready supply of tissue style paper for other purposes in emergencies. Fire lighting for example!
Item 8: Story props
Storytelling is going to be massively important as all good children’s ministry has storytelling at its heart. Therefore I’m going to need to bring with me a box of interesting stuff that I can use to make more stories more visually stimulating. There’ll be some Godly Play in here but I’ll also have some costumes, silly hats, and anything else that might be interesting as I will need to find lots of different ways of telling the stories.
This box will be constantly updating as I find things washed up on the shore or whittle things out of coconuts and indeed many things will make multiple appearances. My sombrero has been in many different all age services and by far the most useful props I’ve ever owned were some ‘biblical costumes’ I had made. They were simple tabards that could then be embellished with other props to create multiple characters and were very easy to get on and off as they just needed to be dropped over the head.
Item 9: A cross and a holy family
These items will help to deepen the spiritual focus of my room but joining the candle in providing a spiritual focal point to the room. I need to remember that I’m neither running an educational establishment nor working as a children’s entertainer. Therefore it is important to retain a sense of sacred space for my room so I would a table that would provide the same focus that the altar does in a church. I would place the nativity scene, a cross and the candle on it and this area of the hut would then be where we would go to pray and reflect. Overtime it would develop it to the sacred space of the room where the children would expect to be involved in quiet and stillness.
Over time this area would have things added to it that would make it more relevant to our story as further items would be added that had significance to us, such as some artwork produced in a session or a prop from a story.