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All age service in Maltby: “there should be something for everyone”

at St Bartholomew’s Church in Maltby

We wanted younger families to feel included

We have a lot of baptisms at St Bartholomew’s and beforehand there wasn’t really anything that was very accessible for younger families with younger children. We got together and I sort of looked at what I did at my previous church and how that worked. We thought of starting this all age service on the first Sunday of every month, something that we could invite baptism families to and encourage them to come to church beforehand so we could get to know them.

The first one we had was Epiphany this year (6th January). We set off with the three wise men.

The response has been positive

The first one was really good. It was great to see the different generations worshiping together. We had quite a few children at that first service and there have been at least three or four children for each service, which is a good improvement on the numbers beforehand.

It’s been nice to get to know the baptism families a little bit before the baptism itself. A lot of people say it’s got a really good atmosphere. One of the older members of the congregation told me she was a bit wary at first and wasn’t sure about the service, but then really enjoyed it. We’ve even had people recommending the service to others.

We aim for a good mix in the services

I like to think every worship service should be all age; there should be something for everyone. We still have the liturgy which relates to the adults; we have an interactive part of the talk towards the end where the children are involved.

There’s also the element of teaching which relates to adults, along with a mixture of traditional and contemporary hymns.

Don’t be afraid to start your own all age service

Starting with prayer would be my first bit of advice. I did spend a lot of time praying and asking God where He felt the spirit leading me. Do share your ideas around with the team and get a core of people working on it. I shared my ideas with my wardens and they were really enthusiastic.

Just have that space to sort of bat those ideas around and then just go for it and see where it takes you.

I hope the services continue to grow

My hope and vision for the service is to be able to sort of step back. At the moment I’m leading it, but I’m hoping that throughout the year more people are going to get involved.

I’m hopeful about a lot of enthusiasm around it, so I’m hoping that by the end of the year, we might have a small team that are able to take that on. We want to look at how different services can relate to different people. At the moment we just have a Sunday service, but we can look at how perhaps weekday services might relate to other people in their busy lives.