Toowong Uniting Church are trialling the A Big Year digital discipleship resource in an all-age pastorate (mid-size group) meeting regularly during early 2014.
Toowong’s well established pastorate program includes a number of mid-size groups that meet regularly to explore faith, fun, food and fellowship. The all-age pastorate is a new experiment that includes active participants of all ages, including kids.
While a Big Year has a family version, it’s primarily shaped for a family to participate in together – so the team from Toowong are doing a little adapting to make it suitable for a group of families and individuals to share the journey.
With a Big Year offering a different theme each month, Toowong’s experimental format sees the group meet twice monthly – first opening up the new theme, and then exploring more deeply over those two meetings.
Each gathering includes hands-on creative activities, exploring a bible story, discussion and sharing and a prayer time – all designed to be suitable for all ages to participate together.
A Big Year provides the framework for the program’s themes, and and the resources for each family/individual to get hands on with their faith exploration in the times in between each gathering.
The first gathering included 26 people (14 kids) unpacking a Big Year’s first month theme of “Margins: making space to live differently”. Here’s an extract from the run sheet from their first day:
- Gathering time: tea/coffee/snacks (include Kit Kit and Time Out bars), optional activity – making a family weekly schedule (tools: blank weekly schedules)
- Intro: intro the Big Year theme and process, intro the new pastorate group format and meeting times
- Bible Story: presenting the Feeding 4000 story in a creative, hands-on kind of way
- Exploring the theme: Discussion about margins, sharing A Big Year challenges, first responses
- Creative: make a fridge magnet from Kit Kat/Time Out wrappers as reminder of the theme (tools: laminator, self-adhesive magnetic strip)
- Prayer: Small Groups, free form, around the theme “Margins”
We’ll seek an update from Toowong later in 2014 as the experiment continues. For more information, contact Scott.