Intros for those with complex lives

1. Metronome

A metronomeThis brilliant starter created by Roddy Hamilton, a Church of Scotland minister on his 'Mucky Paws' worship resources, really sets the tone of who's welcome here. This resource, entitled Sunday Taster, and many of his other resources can be found on the Abbotsford website.

You will need: a metronome. It will have even more of an effect if you mic the metronome with its own microphone.

(Set the metronome ticking)

Not for the well known
but for the unknown
not for the famous
but the forgotten
not for the well named
but the unnamed
Jesus has time

(Stop metronome)

Pause

(Start metronome again)

Not for the included
but the excluded
not for the religious
but for the hopeful
not for the inner circle
but for the outer circle
Jesus has time

(Stop metronome)

Slight pause

Those of us
seeking healing
seeking hope
seeking life
Jesus has time for us
even as the world doesn't

Slight pause

(Start metronome again)

Not for those who do know
but those who need to know
the unbounded and unlimited
love and compassion
generosity and grace of God
Jesus has time

(Let metronome tick for a short while then stop)

2. Reflective start

Tealight candles in holders You will need: large central candle, enough tealight candles for each person in the group, tray filled with sand or a ceramic tile to stop heat damage on a table, matches.

The mystery and power of lighting a candle is as old as the age. As the group gathers at the start of the meeting, the leader/greeter (which could be a different person each week) welcomes the whole group together as part of God's family. Each person is then welcomed individually by the leader/greeter who lights a small tealight candle from a main candle in a tray of sand or on a ceramic tile, greeting each person by name. The tealight is then placed close to the central candle in the tray of sand/ceramic tile. Obviously the larger the group, the longer this will take, but for the God who knows even the number of hairs on our heads, the personal welcome and sense of belonging this type of welcome engenders is inclusive and meaningful.

Take it further

If you want a more formal greeting:

Leader/Greeter: The Lord is here
All: His Spirit is with us.
Leader/Greeter: And (insert the person's name), you are welcome in this place.

3. Best loved

A pair of old shoes

The week before the group meets, ask everyone to bring something that's not perfect that they love. Examples might include: a well-read, dog-eared book; a favourite childhood toy; a coffee mug with a chip in it; an old pair of shoes.

Share together why this item is special.

4. What's your dream?

Read the parable of the talents from Matthew 25.14-30 (preferably from The Message: 'The Story of Investment').

Announce to everyone that your fictional great aunt Ethel has left you a large sum of money in her will (set your own amount!) for you to invest in a worthy cause or project of your choosing. Over coffee and a cake, discuss what you would use it for and how you would invest it. Share your ideas with one another.

Take it further

Discuss together attitudes to money and resourcing. Pray too about the ideas you've shared together – God may be leading you afresh!