This session is the second in a series designed especially for all-age homegroups, those who meet intergenerationally with members from babes in arms to great grandparents included in the mix. The activities and discussion points are designed to include all members, as they feel able. The sessions are designed to work best in sequence, but you may prefer to dip in, or use the sessions out of sequence if that better meets the needs of your group.
This second session explores how we are all created differently and each of us is unique. This not only refers to our physical appearance, mannerisms, preferences and behaviours but also to our spiritual being. In this session, we explore what we mean by ‘spiritual styles,’ how we all find different ways to connect to God. This idea is explored further in the work of Dave Csinos. More information about his work can be found at davecsinos.com.
Where possible, begin your time together with a shared meal, or some light refreshments. This is a general time of fellowship for all members of the group to share together and conversation should try to be inclusive of the whole group. As well as a social time of discussion, you could remind the group of some of the things you discussed last time you met, and how these things may have helped shape their every day since you were last together. If you are following this series in order, the previous session was ‘Called to follow: what does it mean to be a disciple?’ The session may have ended with you taking away models made during the session to help you reflect on your own discipleship journey right now.
Begin this session by playing a game together, to help explore what we mean by being unique. Give each member of the group a piece of paper and a pen so that they can keep their own scores as you play. Explain that you will call out different characteristics. If it is true for them, they get one point, if they are the only person in the room for whom that is true, they can have two points. Try to include some characteristics that relate to different age groups to celebrate the intergenerational quality of the group as well as some that are specific to your own group. Generic characteristics to call out can include:
Play several rounds of this game before asking the members of the group to total up their scores. You could award a small prize to the player who has the highest total, but be sure to remind the group that none of these qualities make us more valuable than anyone else, we are all wonderfully, uniquely made and it is our uniqueness that is so precious.
Look together at Psalm 139, providing Bibles as necessary but encouraging the group to bring their own Bible with them to look at. This Psalm may already be familiar to members of the group so invite them to share, if it means something particular to them. Read the Psalm together, perhaps reading around as a group, without putting anyone on the spot to read aloud if they are uncomfortable to do so.
Provide a story basket with child-safe mirrors for them to look at, and some small play figures with people of different appearances, or perhaps a Mr Potato Head toy for them to ‘create’ characters with a unique look.
Invite the group to discuss some of the following questions are as most appropriate. Encourage members of all ages to participate in the discussion, intentionally inviting the children to share their responses. If children should drift away as the discussion continues, gather them back together at the end to join together in the praise and prayer sessions.
Some groups may be ready to go deeper in their study, in which case this is an opportunity to explore more about what we mean by spiritual styles. Explain to the group that each of have different ways we find it easiest to connect to God. Some of us like to pray long prayers verbally, others like to sing and dance, some like to go for long walks in the countryside and pray, others prefer a sketchpad and paints. None of these are superior to the others, and we shouldn’t aim to be more like someone else in order to have their spiritual shape. Psalm 139 helps us to see that our unique shape is written into our DNA, and God has designed us to relate to Him in our own unique way. Dave Csinos has categorised four spiritual styles; Word, Emotion Symbol and Action. You may like to spend some time exploring what this means for the members of your group and how this helps us to better understand our unique shape. (For more, see: Children’s ministry that fits: beyond one-size-fits-all approaches to nurturing children’s spirituality, David Csinos).
Some groups enjoy a time of shared sung praise together, whilst for others this is not helpful. Treat this time as optional, depending upon the needs of your group. For younger children, this can be a great time for joining together with the adults in praise, perhaps using percussion instruments, scarves or ribbons as you sing.
Some song suggestions for this session include:
Gather the group together in their family units and remind the group that today we’ve been looking at how we can best stay connected to God. Read John 15:1-11 and explain that the goal is that we would stay closely connected to God or remain ‘in God’ that we would bear good fruit. Invite each family group to take a moment to plant a bean or a seed in a small flowerpot and to hold their pots together as you pray. Pray for each member of the group, or if your families are comfortable to do so, invite them to take a moment to pray in their family units for one another, that as they become more familiar with how God has made them, and how they are shaped to connect to him, that they would grow in Him and live a more fruitful life.
Invite your families to take home their plant pots, to nurture the seed and watch it grow. As they do so, may they be reminded of what God is doing in their life. Encourage each member of the group to consider their own preference for how to connect to God, and to do one thing this week, that you have discussed, and see how it helps their faith life. Perhaps by taking a long solitary walk in the countryside, sitting down to read their Bible, or Bible journal, or perhaps taking time to look at some art inspired by faith or to create their own.