1. Show and tell
You will need access to technology for this particular activity, including a digital camera or camera phone, computer with presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint, projector and screen. This will work well if you've been carrying out some activities together - eg, crafts, football game - and then assemble afterwards for a short informal worship gathering. Compile all the photos taken into a series that makes the basis of a 'show and tell' style presentation. Parents, grandparents and carers just love seeing their children up on the screen, helping to create a real sense of belonging, value and worth. At the end of the photos you could all say a simple prayer together:
Lord, we welcome you in our midst;
In our work, rest and play, we come to you.
(Make sure that you have the permission from all the group to take photos, particularly from the responsible adult if taking photos of children by asking them to sign a sheet at the beginning of the activity saying that you will only use these photos for this activity alone.)
2. Tried something new?
You will need: several large sheets of paper/card attached to the wall or a display board, and large felt-tipped pens.
Invite everyone to share together - either in pairs or in a group - something new or different that they have done this week/month. They might have tried a new food/dish, bought a new coat, passed a spelling test, been to the dentist, visited someone or somewhere that they've never been to before, helped someone out, learnt how to do something that they've never been able to do before - no matter how big or small. Each person has a piece of paper or card - they should write their name on this and then write or draw a picture representing what they've done this week/month. When everyone has finished, stick the cards together on the wall. Each person is different and unique but we are all part of the family of the church.
Adapted from Margaret Withers and Tim Sledge, Creative Communion: Engaging the whole church in a journey of faith, BRF, 2008, p58.
3. Customised T-shirts/badges
You will need: plain T-shirts from larger chains of superstores, iron and ironing board, iron-on transfers also available from larger superstore shops; for badges - large sticky labels, or cut out large cardboard circles and fix safety pins to the back, mirrors.
Celebrate each other's uniqueness by inviting everyone to write their name on their badge and then look into a mirror and draw a portrait or symbol of themselves on the badge. For the more professional look you could hire a dedicated badge printing machine from a school educational suppliers that is completely mechanical.
Margaret Withers and Tim Sledge, Creative Communion: Engaging the whole church in a journey of faith, BRF, 2008, p57.
4. Sing together
A funky movie version of 'I Will Enter His Gates/He Has Made Me Glad' from Integrity's iWorship Resource DVD A. It has loads of pictures of different sorts of cheery people coming together and the lyrics can also be put up on screen.
Take it further
If you're feeling brave or know someone with good PowerPoint skills (which is usually your average teenager these days!), then you could use the audio track and put your own photos of everyone who comes to your group/meeting in a visual presentation with the lyrics embedded. Of course, as newcomers join, you will have to keep this updated.
5. More resources
'Mucky Paws': Rev Roderick Hamilton and the community of Clydebank Abbotsford have created a collection of contemporary liturgies and creative moments, in an attempt to engage all the senses with people who don't always go for the linear approach. There is a fabulous collection of photo galleries with ideas for all-age craft activities, poems, meditations, etc, to view, adapt and then launch your own group's creativity in your own gatherings.
Starters for Sunday - a Church of Scotland resource for Sunday worship (or for your worship at other times).