Archive for the “Children’s Ministry” Category

Pilots Worship Pack Lost and Found


I’m delighted to see the new Pilots Worship Pack: Lost and Found, which Soo and I wrote, is about to be sent out into the wild. It’s a pack with 4 sessions which help young people to explore the idea of Lost and Found along with some resources for a worship service led by young people.  The resource comes from Pilots but would be suitable for use with any groups of children and young people.

I’ll post the details of where you can get a copy as soon as it is available.

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spill the beans conferenceThe big, long awaited Spill the Beans Conference is just around the corner!  Come and find out more about Spill the Beans, how it works, why it works and how you can use it in your church.

Saturday 31st August

Wellington Church on University Avenue, Glasgow.

10am – 4pm

Cost £8 (includes lunch)

 for application forms.



Workshops include:

  • Storytelling with Adults and Young People
  • Worship Space and Art Installations
  • Community Engagement
  • Worship Teams
  • Using Age Group Materials

Download the  Poster: StB Conference Final

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spill beans 8 coverThe new edition of Spill the Beans is out and the material starts from Trinity Sunday (26 May) and goes through to Pentecost 14 (25 August).  As usual there are great resources from a hugely talented team for children and young people and those who lead and enable worship.

You can download a free sample if you want to try before you buy.

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It has been quite some feat by the Spill the Beans Team to pull this off over the festive season, but after a crazy deadline of 31 December for all the writing, the next issue of Spill the Beans is now beautifully formed and available for download. This is the Lent to Pentecost edition that sees us from 17 February all the way to 19 May 2013! And this edition is not limited just to Sundays, you also get ideas for each day of Holy Week too. It is a large issue.

Inside you will find worship ideas and resources, including Bible notes, stories, prayers, reflections, music suggestions, and more, and for age groups you will find suggestions for activities, crafts, games and teen discussion resources.

If you have already used Spill the Beans, you will know what a great resource this is, created by folks here in Scotland. If you haven’t, but are intrigued, have a look at this sample.

If you’d like to download a full copy of Issue 7 for use in your church or personally, then click the button below. It is a positive steal at only £12. You can make a secure payment via PayPal and then an email with secure link to the download should wing its way to you.

Please follow the instructions carefully. The Adobe pdf file is approximately 4 MB.

Buy Now and Download

You can also get involved in feedback and discussion on the Spill the Beans blog, where we try to put up weekly PowerPoint backgrounds too.

If you would like a print copy of Spill the Beans, Issue 6, then this can be arranged. The cost is £20+P&P and these can be arranged directly with the office at Lanark Greyfriars Church. Each issue is in full colour and comb bound for ease of use. We have had to raise the costs of the print copy from our initial issues as we have found the original costs were not covering the costs of producing the copies.

If you would like to order copies (which are all printed to order so there may be a few days to wait before you receive yours) then you can email office [at] lanarkgreyfriars [dot] com with your order details. An invoice will be issued after dispatch of your order. If you prefer you can contact Greyfriars Church Office on 01555 661510 and place your order over the phone.

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This year the Children in the Church Community Conference focuses on ‘change’.

The conference aims to explore how change can come about by looking at real-life examples of people who have sought to implement change that will make their churches places where children can more effectively grow in faith and use their gifts in God’s service.

They are promising no easy solutions, just the chance to share in the highs and lows of trying to change the way we do things for the benefit of children.

Event details

Date: 29 October 2011

Time: 1000

Location: International Christian College, 110 St. James Road, Glasgow, G4 0PS

Cost: £10 (lunch included)

children in the church community conference flyer 2011

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Deep Impact is the National Training conference for all those involved in Youthwork.

It is for those who are volunteers, or paid employees; for those working for local authorities, local churches and agencies; for those with heaps of experience or just starting out.

Deep Impact provides both practical and Biblical input from skilled youth practitioners and theologians; to equip you with the knowledge, tools, skills and connections, that will enable you to reach teenagers in Scotland with the love of Christ.

New for 2012 Conference!!!

We’re delighted to announce that there will be a brand new stream added to the Seminar Programme which will have a sole focus on Children’s Work – This will be run by experience Children’s Work Practitioners and in partnership with the Children and Church ACTS Group!

Apprentice leaders

Deep Impact is a training conference for youthworkers over 18. However we recognise that some youthworkers are mentoring apprentice leaders, following Biblical examples like Paul and Timothy. If you are mentoring a 16 or 17 year old specifically to become a youthworker, then they may accompany you. Only one apprentice leader per adult mentor delegate. Apprentice leaders are the responsibility of their adult mentor with whom they share accommodation. There is space on your booking form to also book in your apprentice leader.

Who is running it?

The conference is being organised by Scottish Christian Youth Work Forum (SCYWF); who desire to continue the brilliant work of previous years; and build on Deep Impact’s well deserved reputation for high quality and innovative training.

Where is it?

MacDonald Aviemore Highland Resort

When is it?

20th to 22nd January 2012


Early Bird is £135 and ends 30th Sept 2011
Middle Rate is £150 and ends 30th Nov 2011
Final booking Rate is £160 and bookings close 6th Jan 2012

All of these prices exclude the Single supplement of £45

If interested in exhibiting at Deep Impact the cost is £140 for a standard space plus delegate fee.


Book online at

Email: jillian [at] ymcascotland [dot] org

Download the Cheque and postal booking form or download the flyer

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On Wednesday I led a session for a group of ministers from the United Reformed Church in Scotland.  We were exploring what the church could learn from younger people and from youth work methods.

Young people fail.  A lot.  It’s part of learning.

They try something, get it wrong, then learn from that and try again.

Can you imagine a toddler giving up on walking because it fell over a couple of times?  No, of course not.  Failing isn’t always a bad thing.  And failure is almost always relative.

Failure is a judgement made according to the parameters that have been set.  But how realistic are those parameters?

No-one gets up and walks first time.  Well except that guy that came through the roof, but you know what I mean.  It takes practice.  Not doing it perfectly first time wouldn’t be failure.  Repetition is important in learning.

If I had a pound for every time I’d heard a young person say that…

‘I’m bored’ doesn’t really mean that.  I think it means that ‘I’ve finished what I was doing and now I can’t think what to do next.  Can you help me to decide please?’

Part of the ‘boredom’ comes from a limited range of options.

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Most of us don’t have any experience of a range of churches.  Most people have been in their church for a long time.  Their experience of variety is when a new minister comes, or someone publishes a new hymnbook.

Our ‘box’ or ‘jar’ is just as real as the fleas’.  It’s hard to think outside that box when you have only ever been in it.

One of the great things about our work with children is that it encourages creativity and imagination and exploration.  Loads of churches do holiday clubs where for a whole week kids come for a morning or afternoon and explore a topic through games, songs, art, crafts, drama and story.

Can you imagine doing that with the grown ups?

If you can’t, why not?  Don’t adults like those things?

When we are babies we need a lot of looking after.  The whole household is focused on the needs of one little person.  As we grow we become more independent, more self sufficient.  And that is as it should be.

But we all have needs.  And our needs are not all the same.

Youth work is, at it’s best, needs led.  It considers the social, emotional, spiritual and physical needs of each young person and tries to address those needs through activities and opportunities which will enable that young person to develop to their full potential.

We do that by offering choice.  There are many ways to explore a topic.  Just think about that holiday club… all those ways to learn about one topic.

When was the last time you were offered a choice in worship on a Sunday morning?

I believe that churches have become self-selecting communities and that self-selection has nothing to do with faith.  It has everything to do with style.

Style is about how something appears.  It’s about content and format and who is involved and who is not and how it smells and feels and tastes and sounds and looks like.

It is also about seeing yourself in that place.  Someone mentioned that a new minister had come to a church they were working with.  The minister is a mother with two small children.  All of a sudden there are 20 young families coming to church who didn’t come before.  Why?  Because they can see themselves in that church.

We can’t all go and hire a minister like that but how we portray ourselves is important.  It’s a huge part of how young people (and adults) identify with each other.  Clothes and music define us much more than we might imagine.  Many of us cling to the music that we liked when we were teenagers.  Don’t believe me?  Check your itunes…

If I like electronica or metal or house or classical music would I see myself in your church?  If I’m a skater or a goth or a 40 year old geek or a mum or a student would I see myself in your church?

I do.  I really do.  We have watched our children drift away from church and we have done nothing but wring our hands.  And I’m talking about myself too.

I don’t think we need to change Sunday morning worship.  It works for that self-selecting group that come.  Why should we take that away from them?

What we do need to do is to give people permission to get on with doing other things at other times.  Our job as ministers is not to provide everything.  Youth work is all about enabling.  Sometimes the best way to do that is the easiest.  Just say ‘yes’.

Variety is good.  It’s healthy.  At home our extended family rarely all sit in one room.  When we do it usually ends in disaster.  Why?  Because we all have different needs, likes and tolerances.

What are the values of your church community?

Youth work in Scotland has a statement of values.  They are:

It’s a broad value base.  But is there any reason it shouldn’t be your church communities value base too?

Shouldn’t we respect each other?  Value equality?  Engage in learning through our whole lives?  Respect others who are different from us?  Isn’t that what loving your neighbour is?  And why do we feel the need to tell people what they should think or what the answer is?  Don’t we trust God to work in some one’s life?

Shouldn’t we be working together to build the kingdom of God?  Doesn’t that mean that everyone should have a say?  That everyone should play a part?

I like this phrase.

I’m going to use it often.

I think this is what the church, particularly the United Reformed Church, needs to be.

We don’t need (or want) to be mega-churches.  We don’t need (or want) to be parish churches.

We do need (and want) to be small, passionate communities.

Young people form small passionate communities all the time.  They often form around issues and then disappear with the problem.  They are often about getting something done, solving a problem, making a point or raising an issue.

These small passionate communities aren’t static.  They change and grow.  They involve different groups, make partnerships and co-operatives.  They are active not passive.

Remember that small passionate communities change the world.

We have a story.  That story is one of small passionate communities and their journey with God.

Children love stories.  Young people love stories, even if they pretend they have grown out of all that.  Adults love stories.

How will we tell our story?  And can we please stop explaining what it means to people?  Do you explain a bedtime story to your kids?  Of course not.  But they will want to hear that same story over and over and over again.


So they can see themselves in it.  So they can imagine what it feels like and smells like and tastes like and sounds like and looks like.

If we don’t tell our story how can people imagine themselves into it?

So, what am I trying to say?

Good question.  And one that I’m not going to answer.  Because you can work it out for yourself.  You can imagine yourself in this story or take it and imagine it in your place.

If you do, please share your story.  Tell it often.  You can start in the comments section if you want, but tell it somewhere…

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