by Ally Barrett
This is a brand-new book, fresh off the press, by someone who knows the problems and pitfalls, as well as the rich rewards, of stepping out of the three-point-sermon comfort zone.
Whether we be new to this or an old-hand, confident or terrified, lay or ordained or somewhere in between, this book can help us all to be our best when working with all of God’s family. Speaking from many years’ experience as both a parish priest and children’s minister, Ally encourages us to examine our (tacit) assumptions and to be wary of practice that implies that learning is for children and worship is for adults. Not so – all need to learn and all can worship. Preaching, she says, is where these two meet,
Note the title: Preaching With All Ages – not at, not to, but with. There’s food for though before we even open the cover. Similarly, the section ‘Theology by children’ – not for, not to, by by children. I know from my research and late-night discussions with my own children that small people can conceive of big ideas, and state them bluntly in simple language. That’s a gift that many adults would like!
Ally quotes this brilliant illustration from a 6-year-old: “In the circuit of love God is the battery, Jesus is the fuse (because the love of God comes through Jesus) and the people are the light bulbs.”
From my Amazon review:
Very useful for everyone who gives all-age talks – and I really mean *all* age, not just kids.
If you want to properly engage with this important ministry but can’t abide stodgy theology books, this is the book for you.
Ally gives examples of her own experience with all-age talks – what worked well, what could have been different – and reflects upon the issues and themes raised.
You can pinch the ideas from the example talks and adapt them for your own situation, but this is not a book of off-the-peg talks. Interspersed between the reflections are insightful explorations of ways of engaging: through the senses, experience, church life and mission, and many more.
The useful questions for self-reflection help and challenge us all to do this well, because all-age talks are not less important than ‘proper’ sermons. (In fact, I’d argue that they are more important. Think back to a church service you remember – I bet it was a more than just a lecture from the front. Engaging deeper than the ears is vital to communication and I have no idea why we think it’s only children who need that – but back to the book)
The chapter on children as theologians is of particular interest given the growing realisation that children are vital for a healthy church (and I don’t means sitting at the back with colouring, or being made to be silent mini-adults) As Ally says in the introduction, “Without the witness of children, the Church’s encounter with God is impoverished”
In case you missed it last week, I’m doing a giveaway – yay!
I’m giving away a signed copy of my first book of scripts (The Green One) to celebrate the publication of my second book of scripts (The Blue One), due out in paperback and Kindle on Saturday.
You can pre-order the Kindle version like, now. I mean you could just click that link right now. The Kindle edition is only £3.99, which is less than a pack of socks (or a large skinny, single-shot, decaff gingerbread latter. With cream. And marshmallows. Not that I’d know anything about that.)
Not ordered your copy of A(nother) Bucketful of Ideas for Church Drama yet? Let me convince you. From the back:
Need some fresh ideas for Christmas? Look no further. With scripts for Advent, Christingle and a Pop-Up Nativity, your festive season is sorted.
- Groan with Abraham and his frustrating sat nav.
- Chortle at Jonah-Man, the Pants Prophet (and his attempts at Welsh).
- Waft away the smell of The Stinky Son.
- See what really went on at the Wedding at Cana.
And find out, once and for all, what makes pancakes so tasty. (Clue, it’s not the Shriven.)
Familiar Bible stories re-told with fresh punch (and just a hint of armadillo!)
This second book in the Bucketful of Ideas series has a newly-filled bucket of simple but powerful dramas that are great for your all-age worship, children’s and youth groups, holiday club, Vacation Bible School, Messy Church, collective worship, beach mission and street drama.
With links to MP3 recordings to help you with rehearsals, and plenty of ideas for getting started with puppets, everything you need is right here. Enjoy!
Order an e-book or paperback of my new book (The Blue One) by the end of the month to be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of the first book of the series (The Green One) as well – a whopping 26 sketches in total! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org when you have ordered to put your name in the proverbial hat.
Ally Barrett’s book – I know the author personally and she sent me a free review copy, but all opinions are my own and I do not benefit from this review.
Amazon links – as well as royalties on my own book, I also earn a small commission on any purchases made via Amazon links on this website. No personal data is passed in either direction and the price you pay is the same.