I’m hosting #Churchkidchat this week and, inspired by a great question from Sarah Green about how we might use less plastic in children’s ministry, I thought we’d focus our chat on the general area of making children’s ministry more environmentally friendly. There are a few directions this could go – here are some of them, to get us all thinking:
THE THEMATIC CONTENT of our children’s ministry might be focused on care for creation, sustainability, stewardship of the earth, delight in God’s world, which is identified as an essential aspect of Christian idenity and living in the Five Marks of Mission.
THE PLACE where we do children’s ministry might give us opportunities to engage with the created world in new ways, for example by holding sessions outdoors. We might go a step further and reframe children’s ministry along the lines of wildchurch or forestchurch, intentionally inhabiting the place so that it is formative of our thinking and praying and action.
THE TIME when we undertake children’s ministry may also be an interesting thing to reflect on – we may or may not have the chance to explore ministry with children at a variety of times and days, but it the changes of the seasons and the relationship between dark and light, growth and decay, warmth and cold can still be explored if our children’s mininstry is taken out of a controlled environment and allowed to be shaped by the natural environment. There may be ideas we can encourage our church families to use at home, for those times when having group sessions isn’t practical.
THE MATERIALS we use can reflect our care for the environment in a number of ways: at a basic level it might mean involving fewer single-use items, less plastic, etc, but taking it on a stage we can also activitly encourage engagement with creation, whether or not the thematic content is specifically to do with the environment. Just as using colouring pens to make art doesn’t mean our session is actually about the pens, we can also use natural objects (stones, sticks, leaves etc) as the materials for a session that is not explicitly about the materials we use. We may find, however, that using such materials helps us and our children to think and reflect and pray in different ways from when they are given pens to use.
Here are some of the ideas, questions, and resources that we talked about, captured from the twitter feed and put together into a pdf.