18 June 2012

sneaking in some Godly Play

How long did you think it would be before I'd find a venue for presenting Godly Play again?

As part of my ministry training, I had to preach the sermon for our congregation yesterday. And what should be the Gospel text in our lectionary but a section from Mark's Gospel which included the Parable of the Mustard Seed! So, since the children are with us in their Play and Pray area in the chapel, I decided we should have a children's lesson as well as a grown-up sermon.

I invited everyone to come to the front of the chapel before the Gospel reading, and presented the Godly Play lesson then. After we'd wondered for a bit, and put the materials away, I had everyone stand to listen to the Gospel, or rather, the bits that hadn't already been presented in the Godly Play lesson, which is to say Mark 4: 26-29 and 33-34. Only then did everyone go back to their original places, and I went to the pulpit for the sermon.

This was actually the first time I've presented this lesson, as it was see-through-faith who presented it last year! There were various minor "flaws" in my presentation. It was hard for me to stay in the story and not get impatient with how long it took to unfurl the creased branches of the shrub/tree. When I'd practiced at home, I'd managed to get these to "stick" pretty well to the underlay as I unrolled it, but today they wouldn't un-crumple. Plus I was distracted with nerves about the other upcoming sermon.

I did get a good chuckle from the congregation at the beginning when I bunched up the underlay and suggested it might be a splodge of mustard.

The wondering remained silent ...

photo kindly taken by Rami Rekola
... but many people (not just children) took the opportunity to place birds and nests into the story themselves.


  1. I did do it and I loved it

    and I preached (in the UK) on the same Sunday and started the whole service with telling the story (no props sadly) a la Godly play

    I preached on storytelling ... and wove that into the readings.

    I had allowed my call to preach to be surpressed here in Finland, and so being in the UK again this year it's been wonderfully affirming to be a local preacher again. What's hard though is that in the MC in the UK you need to plan the whole service. I find doing the music choices quite tough and am grateful for the help of pianists and organists and that my choice to preach in only 2-3 local chapels rather than across the whole circuit was respected. It meant it was easier to build up relationships (mostly in the one church that was mine)

    I also told the parable of the man who sold everything as part of my preach in Bakewell. There I used power point slides cos again had no material and it was a big church and congregation.

    Godly play lives on

    (PS no surprise that the congregation remained silent during the "I wonder" phase ... it takes real courage to speak out IN church as most preachers do not encourage 'discussion' or 'opinion stating' ... One of the best sermons I heard in the past years was in London at a 'grill the pastor' session. 15 mins monologue followed by 30 mins questioning on his preach. That worked well with a very couragoues and not petty-minded congregation who asked questions in an affirming way and were very interested in the application of the teaching.

    I'm so not there yet though :)

  2. Good for you, Storyteller, finding a way to weave in some Godly Play. I'm sure you'll find lots of other appropriate venues as well. . . . I have also experienced lots of silence from adults in big groups, both in Germany and in Russia. I think many adults are most vocal in smaller groups where they are within their comfort zone. But silence is also a language, isn't it?


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