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Elements of All-age Worship

Much of the answer lies in the thoughtful use of signs, symbols, visual aids, movement and posture, music and drama.

Teaching - Keep the teaching sections short. Jesus sat down to teach, and this gave him eye contact. If you have a large number of children and adults, make sure that they can all see what is going on. This might mean moving the traditional, often distant, focus of the action to a more central place. Ensure everyone feels welcomed into the worship space so they can be more easily invited to be part of your shared learning and worshipping.

Drama - Reading a gospel story dramatically or using drama to reflect on the reading may be more effective than a formal talk.

Use of visual aids - Use a display to illustrate the theme of the service, or PowerPoint pictures to illustrate the prayers. See that your visual aids are large and clear Short bidding prayers with a response include people who do not read. Children write good prayers. They say what they want God to know, not what we think we should tell him.

Movement and posture - Movement and posture are powerful teaching aids. For example, carrying a baptised or dedicated baby into the centre of the congregation conveys a strong message. The practice of standing for the gospel reading reminds us that Jesus is present through his word. Standing, kneeling and sitting convey different meanings.

Music - A 'good' service is often judged by its music. Remember that not all modern worship songs are easy to sing and people like different styles. Strong melodies with short stanzas, refrains and responsorial music that use soloists as well as the congregation will include everyone while catering for most tastes. Choose hymns and songs that reinforce the theme, and use them to cover movement such as the entrance of the ministers or taking up the offertory.

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