what if - small

Toowong Uniting Church are trialling the A Big Year digital discipleship resource in an all-age pastorate (mid-size group) meeting regularly during 2014.

A Big Year is a digital discipleship resource being developed by a partnership that includes the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod.

Toowong’s well-established pastorate program includes a number of mid-size groups that meet regularly to explore faith, fun, food and fellowship. The all-age pastorate is a new experiment that includes active participants of all ages, including kids.

While A Big Year has a family version, it’s primarily shaped for a family to participate in together—so the team from Toowong are doing a little adapting to make it suitable for a group of families and individuals to share the journey.

With A Big Year offering a different theme each month, Toowong’s experimental format sees the group meet twice monthly—first opening up the new theme, and then exploring more deeply over those two meetings.

Each gathering includes hands-on creative activities, exploring a Bible story, discussion and sharing and a prayer time—all designed to be suitable for all ages to participate together.

A Big Year provides the framework for the program’s themes, and the resources for each family/individual to get hands on with their faith exploration in the times in between each gathering.

The first gathering included 26 people (14 kids) unpacking the A Big Year first month theme of “Margins: making space to live differently”.  Here’s an extract from the run sheet from their first day:

  • Gathering time: tea/coffee/snacks (include Kit Kit and Time Out bars), optional activity – making a family weekly schedule (tools: blank weekly schedules). “Jesus and the disciples withdrew to a quiet place, making space.”
  • Intro: intro the Big Year theme and process, intro the new pastorate group format and meeting times
  • Bible Story: presenting the Feeding 4000 story in a creative, hands-on kind of way
  • Exploring the theme: Discussion about margins, sharing A Big Year challenges, first responses
  • Creative: make a fridge magnet from Kit Kat/Time Out wrappers as reminder of the theme (tools: laminator, self-adhesive magnetic strip)
  • Prayer: small groups, free form, around the theme “Margins”
  • Dinner

We’ll seek an update from Toowong later in 2014 as the experiment continues. For more information, contact Scott.

(What if? is an occasional feature, sharing real-world stories from churches and faith communities to encourage your imagination.)