- (For those who like liturgy) Use a form of worship such as in the .rtf document found by clicking here. (To avoid opening it in this window, right click on the link and choose ‘save as’ to save it to your computer.)
- Give each member a piece of plasticine or modelling clay, and ask them to make a shape or object that represents their spiritual lives or their relationship with God or what they feel about God. Then each one puts it on a table, and says a little about their object as if they were saying it to God.
- In the previous meeting ask each member to come prepared with a brief contribution to the worship - a reading or song or prayer or meditation or whatever. In the worship time let each one contribute when they feel it is appropriate - you’ll be amazed how often everything fits together.
- Place an empty chair in the group to symbolise that Jesus is with us.
- Use the Lord’s prayer as a template for the worship: have quiet instrumental music in the background, the leader says a phrase and then leaves space for reflection, listening to God, or allowing others to add praise or prayer or confession as appropriate; then goes on to the next phrase.
- Draw a cross on a large piece of paper, with a matching cross on the reverse side. On the reverse, write the words of 1 Peter 2:24. During the worship, give out pens and paper and ask people to write down things in their life they want to change for Jesusí sake, and then to stick them on to the cross (with the writing hidden.) Promise them that at the end the papers will be destroyed without being read. When who want to all have done so, turn the paper around so that they can see the writing. You will need to begin and end with prayer and praise, and you will need to explain beforehand what is happening.
- The worship could follow themes of holiness and cleansing, using Isaiah 6:1-8 as a basis; an illustration might be washing hands before sharing finger food or bread and wine, or washing cups before using them for drinking - let the washing be a symbol of spiritual cleansing, preceded by a time of silent or open confession and followed by praise.
- Have a time of blessing! We bless God by praising him, we bless one another by encouragement, using spiritual gifts, praise, appreciation, intercession for one another and our concerns.
- Give to each person a piece of paper and ask them to write or draw something that represents a gift they would like to give to Jesus. After a time, when not all have finished, ask the members to explain what they have been doing. Then as an act of giving to God place them, unfinished as they are, on a table. Explain that nothing we offer God is perfect, yet through Christ it is accepted. Give time to look, and to absorb. Then have a time of thanksgiving for God's gifts to us.
- Spend time in intercession for those who are suffering bereavement or loneliness, for those who are stateless or homeless, those who are experiencing persecution, and others who find it difficult to celebrate.
- Give each person a piece of paper and a pencil. Read one or two passages about God's glory e.g. 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, Isaiah 6:1-8. The ask the group to write the letters G L O R Y down one side of the paper, and to write a word or phrase of praise beginning with each letter. The end result may be something like,
God, you are great.
Let every creature worship you.
Our hearts are full of praise for you.
Reign in us always.
Your glory will last for ever.
Then let each read their composition in turn as worship to God.
- Use songs that express God's love for us as well as our love for God.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, subsituting the word 'God' for 'love'.
Give paper and pens to the group, and ask them to write a love letter to God, then to read them out as an act of worship.
- Sing or listen to an Easter song. Then ask the members of the group to imagine that they are one of the disciples in the upper room on that first Easter Sunday. Tell the story of Luke 24:33-49, with plenty of pauses to enable people to enter imaginatively into the scene. End with a song such as 'I, the Lord of sea and sky' (whom shall I send?).
- Read Luke 8:22-25.
Then ask everybody to imagine that they are disciples of Jesus setting off in a boat to cross Lake Galilee. Read Luke 8:23, and ask people to move as if they were in a storm tossed boat - to try and imagine how they would feel. When people seem to be imagining themselves in the thick of the storm, read loudly Psalm 46:1-3.
Then tell everyone to be at peace, be still.
Then read the rest of the Psalm.
Finish with praise and prayer.
(You may want to have music or singing at the beginning and end.)
- Ask the group how they express love for someone. (Flowers, gifts, love letters, touch etc may be mentioned.) Ask if any of these ideas could be adapted to express love for God. Then choose one to do - briefly (eg if writing a love letter, just ask each person to write one sentence and then read them out to God in turn.)
- Focus on the world around (your 'neighbourhood') as follows: Begin by saying, 'We know there are many things we don't like about the world, BUT we praise God for...' and let everyone finish the sentence one at a time, as many times as they wish. (Not everyone may want to say anything.) If the group likes singing, begin with a song praying for the world around and end with a song praising God for his creation.
- Read the following story:
'Colin Holtum went from Coventry to Kenya in January this year, to take part in a mission among the Maasai. The team went to help a church which started four years ago, when two Maasai men had a dream about Jesus in the same night, and became Christians. Neither knew what had happened to the other, but both felt compelled to go and tell others about Jesus, and by 'chance' met each other on the road. They didn't know much - but they told people what they knew, and now there are four churches in that neighbourhood where before there were none. Colin reported that people were very responsive to the story of Jesus while the team was there, and many became Christians. God is working among the Maasai!'
If anyone in the group knows another story of how God is bringing people to faith in Jesus, let them share it. Then spend a moment thinking about your own areas, and ask people to thank God for what he is doing there - even if they can't see it yet. (They can thank God silently or aloud.)
Finally pray for those areas, or use this prayer:
Mission belongs to you, O God.
The ground is holy
Because you are already there.
All we are and all we do in faith
Is dependent on you
And the victory is already won.
We place ourselves in your hands
And ask you to keep us in readiness
For the time you want us to serve you
And that you will give us all that we need to do the task. Amen.
- (This may best be done in a kitchen!)
Choose a simple all-in-one recipe for a cake or biscuits, and share the ingredients out to members of the group.
Say a simple thank-you prayer for the ingredients, and for the people holding them.
Read the recipe, and as each ingredient is mentioned, the person holding it adds it to the mixture.
Put it into an appropriate tin and place in the hot oven (set the timer so you don't forget it!)
Continue with the meeting until the cake is cooked, then take it out and share it between you - first giving thanks to God for the cake, and how everyone contributed.
- Spread out pictures of Jesus. (Pictures can be seen by clicking HERE.)
Add a blank piece of paper. Ask the group to call out words that describe Jesus, and write them on the paper. Then ask them to choose one of the words, and to think about it and Jesus for five minutes - one of the pictures might help. End by listening to or singing an appropriate song.
- (For Palm Sunday) Begin with listening to or singing a song celebrating Jesus as King.
Then use palm crosses to help focus on Jesus. (If none are available, ask members to draw a simple picture of a palm tree or palm leaf, and to draw on it the shape of a cross.)
Ask the members first to focus on the palm leaf/drawing, and to think of how palms were used in Jesus' triumphal procession. Imagine the crowds welcoming the coming King. Imagine all their expectations and hopes.
After enough time, ask the group to focus on the cross shape. Remind them that Jesus was entering Jerusalem to die a terrible death - so that we can enter the kingdom of God. Remind them that he did not cease to be the King. Read Philippians 2:6-11.
End with another song focusing on the cross.
- Read John 21:1-19, giving time for members to imagine that they are one of the disciples in the boat. But after breakfast, instead of speaking to Peter, ask them to imagine that Jesus speaks to them as individuals. What does he say? How do they respond?
- Prepare some pieces of paper shaped like fish. Ask the group members to divide the fishes between them, and to write on them the names of individuals or groups of people they would like to see brought into the kingdom of God. Put the fish together, then each member picks a fish at random. Ask them to write a prayer for that person or group on the other side of the paper. If there is time, pray those prayers. At the end of the meeting divide the rest of the fishes among the group, and ask them to pray during the week for the people written on the fishes.
- 'My sheep listen to my voice' (John 10:27). During worship, have a time of 'listening'. Begin with reading Psalm 23, then ask people to listen to God. Remind them that he may speak through the words we've just heard, or through what's going on in our minds - pictures or feelings or thoughts or words. (It might be helpful for some to have paper and pen to write things down.) Lots of what goes on in our minds will simply be ourselves, but some of it may be from God. Pray, 'Speak Lord, your servants are listening', then spend five minutes or so in silence. Afterwards ask people to share what they think they've heard, however insignificant it seems - it may be significant to someone else. If what is said is helpful, let that be acknowledged. If it is not helpful, let it be ignored, but thank everyone for their contributions. If you need to respond by further prayer, do so immediately.
- Pass round a bag with some interesting shaped objects in it, which people have to try to identify by feeling, without being able to see them. When all have had a go, ask them what was in the bag, then bring the objects into the light. Point out the obvious difference it makes to see them.
Read the story of blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), and ask everyone to imagine the difference Jesus made to him.
End with a song such as 'Light of the world, you stepped down into darkness'.
- Provide people material for them to create a symbol of the new creation, by drawing or painting or writing or making. Have a piece of paper with a drawing of a throne (or chair!) and the words 'God' and 'The Lamb' on it. When all are ready, place that paper in the centre of the room, and arrange around it everyone's creations. Then have a time when people can praise God for what is to come, in prayer or singing.
- Read Psalm 136 (or part of it), and ask each member of the group to write two or three verses in a similar style, following on from verses 1 to 3 and using the same 'chorus'. For example, someone might write:
'To him who gives healing and wholeness,
(His love endures for ever)
Who healed Mrs Jones,
(His love endures for ever)
Who helped Mr Smith find a new job,
(His love endures for ever).
Then let each read out their verses in turn, all joining in the chorus. (It doesn't matter if some of the verses are the same.)
- Give out pens and paper to the group. Read Revelation 1:12-16, John's vision of Christ. Then ask the members each to write (or draw) their own vision of Christ in glory - using as much or as little symbolism as they like. When all have finished, let each read or show their efforts in turn. Afterwards read verses 17 and 18. Respond in praise.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to come into your group, and then follow the guidelines of 1 Corinthians 14:26(-33).
- Read Amos 5:8. Then give out paper and pens and ask the group members to write their own verse about what the Lord does. Then read them in turn as worship to God.
- After a time of praise, ask a member of the group to say briefly how they first came to have peace with God, then another to say how God is helping them at the moment, and then another to say what they are most looking forward to about eternity. (You may need to give them plenty of warning!) If others want to have a say themselves, let them! End with more praise.
- Begin with a song praising God's majesty and greatness.
Next use Psalm 94 to express indignation against injustice. Most Bibles divide it up into sections; either have different voices for each section, or stand together in a different corner of the room for each section. (Some may find verse 23 difficult - decide in advance whether to include it or not.)
End with a song such as Graham Kendrick's 'O Lord, the clouds are gathering' or 'Who can sound the depths of sorrow', which speaks of God's justice and mercy.
- Read slowly the words of Matt Redman's song, 'When the music fades'. (Click HERE for the words.) Then read Isaiah 1:10-20, and John 4:19-24. Then sing or listen to Matt Redman's song or a similar one.