I’ve always enjoyed September. The weather is usually pretty good and the autumn colours begin to appear. It marks the passing of summer and the arrival of autumn. But the reason I like it most of all is because it’s a time of new beginnings and that’s really exciting. Summer holidays are behind us and everyone is feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work or school. As a child I loved going back to school wearing my new shoes going into a new class with new teachers and a new timetable and sometimes new children to get to know. That sense of anticipation at this time of year has stayed with me all my life and I think September is a great time to start something new, and that includes the church too.
Last month we asked you for your views for our Mission Action Plan (MAP) but to be honest we’ve not had much response, so here are some of our thoughts. At our PCC Awayday in July we discussed how we could attract young people to church. How could we make them feel welcome? How can we include them in the worship of the church? How can encourage them in their faith? We came up with some great ideas. Some of them are easy enough to implement especially with the young people who already come to church. We could simply invite them to read the lesson, take part in the intercessions, help the sidespeople with their duties. That would involve them and show them how much we value them. Other suggestions need more planning and resourcing, especially with people willing to help.
One such suggestion is to have an “All Age” service once a month to which we could invite newly married couples, baptism families, or anyone else for that matter. We could invite the school and the uniform groups to contribute. The service would be different to a normal Sunday, although still Eucharistic. The idea of All Age is to include something that is accessible to each age group present at some point in the service. It is not a children’s service because it’s not just for children and it’s not a family service because we don’t all have families. So, for example, the readings could be dramatized involving the Sunday School and other members of the congregation. That might help the message get across more effectively. The sermon too would be more interactive. Most churches have something like this once a month, and the good thing about it is that we can invite anyone knowing that all the different age groups are catered for. What do you think?
Other suggestions have been to have a “Pram service” or “Tots Praise” during the week. They are a great way to get to know young parents or even grandparents who might come.
Both of these might lead to more children attending Sunday School too.
These are some of the ideas we are considering so we ask again for your views. Over the last few years the attendance has fallen as shown by the latest statistics supplied by the diocese. Look round the church on Sunday and count the number of families or people under 40yrs. I’m sure you will all remember days when there were a lot more. I think that come September we can really start to address this. I truly believe that if we focus our prayers and our energies in finding ways of attracting more young people we will be a growing church. The churches that grow are the ones where young people and their families are a top priority.
I hope you will give this some thought and prayer and have a chat with me about what you think.
God bless Angela.