This series is written by Becky May based on the book Planet Protectors by Ruth Valerio and Paul Kerensa.
This session is the fourth in a series designed especially for all-age homegroups, those who meet intergenerationally with members from babes in arms to great grandparents included and the activities and discussion points are designed to include all members, as they feel able.
This series is based on the book ‘Planet Protectors’ by Paul Kerenza and Ruth Valerio. Rather than looking at the book chapters in sequence, this study series draws out themes raised in the book in a helpful sequence. You may find it helpful to provide a copy of the book for each family, and encourage the children to take a lead in prompting their family to explore more of the issues raised in the book. Before each session, take a look at the book chapter links above and select those which are of most interest or relevance for your group to explore during your time together.
This fourth session explores what it means to be a Planet Protector at and as a church.
Bible passages – Genesis 2, Philippians 2:4
Book Chapters – 14, 27
Where possible, begin the time together with a shared meal, or if this is not possible, some light refreshments. Use this time to build friendships and get to know one another better.
Explain that today we are thinking about what we can do to be planet protectors at or as a church. You may wish to meet in the place where your church community usually gathers, for this session specifically as you talk about the changes you make as part of a church community.
Take a look together at chapter 27 in the Planet Protectors book and the five Eco Church areas. Provide some large sheets of flipchart paper and marker pens and start to generate some ideas together of how you can respond to these five areas in your own church. You may even want to start by thinking about your small group and the changes you can make here.
You may want to focus on one of the five areas and all work together to generate a list of ideas, or you could divide into smaller groups, looking at each different area in turn. Invite the group to feedback from their discussion and agree some simple steps that you can take in order to take this forward with your wider church leadership and community.
Encourage the members of the group to have access to their own Bibles and recap the passages you looked at last week in Genesis 2, rereading verse 15 and Philippians 2:4. Explain that in the previous session when we looked at these two verses, we were thinking about what they meant within the context of our homes, whereas today, we are thinking about what these verses say to our church communities.
If you are meeting in your church building for this session, many young children will be happy to explore using their senses to discover more about the environment around them. You may also like to provide a story basket with a small globe, a selection of toy animals, cut fresh flowers etc, as well as some children’s Bibles.
Invite the group to discuss some of the following questions are as most appropriate to them. Be intentional about including all ages in this time of discussion, so far as you are able, rather than expecting the children to listen quietly while the adults talk. Don’t worry about trying to get through the questions, but rather allow the conversation to flow naturally.
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 and place the sheets you wrote on earlier in the session in the centre of the group. Take some time to pray for one another in the circle, and to commit these ideas, plans and hopes to God. Pray also for those within the group who seek to take a lead on this project, regardless of their age, lifting them up to God, as well as for your wider church leadership that they would catch the vision for becoming an Eco Church.
If you have given out copies of the book, Planet Protectors, prompt the children to take a lead in their families beginning to explore the suggested chapters, this week. Before you close the session, agree on the next steps you will take to move the church forwards in your Planet Protecting at church. You may wish to appoint a couple of members of this small group to take this up with the wider church leadership (this does not need to be all adults!) Challenge them to do so before you meet again, ready to feedback to the group.