10 May 2023 | Slough, UK [Tim Zestic]
Almost within view of Windsor Castle, England, located on the northern side of the main M4 London to the West of England motorway is the Slough congregation. If Windsor and its most prominent residents represent tradition the status quo, the members of Slough, Guildford and the ‘Grace Linc’ church plant are ready for change as they gathered together at the Slough church on 22 April.
With a focus on change to make good worship better, Trans-European Division (TED) Family Ministries director, Karen Holford, shared with members new and creative ways to engage children and youth in worship. Recognising a need to make worship multisensory, Holford shared many innovative ideas, including ways of making colourful visualisations, the re-telling of Bible stories in a modern context, and using affordable and available products to create and illustrate the content in worship.
Focussing even closer on the essential elements of every worship, Holford then continued to present stories, scripture reading, prayers and preaching using this approach. Group workshops engaged participants not only in discussion, but an opportunity to create their intergeneration worship, run by children or aimed for children. As Holford connected participants with sources and resources, the group began to think about the long term. How do we transition our churches from where we are now to making every worship intergenerational?
A Sobering Reality
A recent Slough church survey amongst its teens revealed the worrying reality that over a half of them responded by sharing that they find church either boring or not geared for them. The survey also discovered as a consequence that they are choosing not to “attend worship anymore” but instead “do their own thing.”
With this sobering reality, church leaders in the district have determined to work as hard as possible, to ensure that the trend can be reversed, even to the extent of becoming sensitive to the language they use in church. As one participant shared, “We recognise the ever-important salvation message of love, but we need to communicate it in a language today’s generation understand. Otherwise, we all go on a huge adventure in missing the point!”
Inspired to dig deep to try and put the new findings into reality, Guildford and Slough churches have formed teams to promote and implement the strategy in their worship and church activities.