What if…? Toowong UC’s Big Year

Photo 10-02-2015(What if? is an occasional feature, sharing real-world stories from churches and faith communities to encourage your imagination.)

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.

A Big Year is a digital discipleship resource being developed by a partnership that includes the Uniting Church Synod of Queensland. For more info see our summary here, or the Big Year website.

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)

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    “Jesus and the disciples withdrew to a quiet place, making space”

  • 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”
  • Dinner

We’ll seek an update from Toowong later in 2014 as the experiment continues. For more information, contact Scott.

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