This resource is part of a series of interactive, intergenerational ideas for engaging people in faith practices through worship and/or midweek gatherings, brought to you by Worship Ministries and Faith Formation Ministries as part of the Faith Practices Project.
The practice of engaging Scripture immerses us in the true story of God's faithful love so that we become more like Jesus as we grow in recognizing God, ourselves, and the world around us.
Below you’ll find a variety of intergenerational ideas on this faith practice. Choose from and then use the ideas to shape a summer series, plan a midweek gathering, weave into an all-ages small group study or house church gathering, and more.
There are so many ideas here that you probably won’t need them all. To help make choosing easier, we’ve organized them into three categories:
- Gather activities provide an introduction to the practice through reflection and connection.
- Grow experiences offer an opportunity to explore the practice in community in a way that can be repeated at home.
- Go resources encourage and equip participants to live out the practice.
For a list of other Scripture passages and songs you might also include during your gathering, see the Build-Your-Own Worship Service (or Series) on Engaging Scripture.
Ask. Select a Bible story (a parable or one of Jesus’ miracles might work well) to read to the group. Provide each person with a sheet of paper and a writing tool. Explain that as the Bible story is read aloud, everyone is invited to wonder about all the details that are included—and also those that aren’t included. Read the Bible story aloud twice, pausing between readings to let everyone think about what they have heard. After the second reading, invite everyone to write down as many questions as they have about the story. Young children can work with a parent or other table partner. Share your wonderings with each other. Follow up: How did this activity help you spend time in God’s story? How might you do this at home?
Invite, in advance, two or three differently aged people to share in 3-5 minutes a verse, passage, or story from Scripture that has been particularly meaningful to them and why. If people are reluctant to share, encourage them by sharing this example of how simple yet meaningful a story can be: “When I was a child, my grandmother always signed my birthday cards with the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, reminding me to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I remember those words whenever I feel anxious and afraid.”
Recreate Psalm 148. Begin by spending time in the psalm. Some ways to do this: arrange in advance for one enthusiastic reader and/or a group of differently aged enthusiastic readers to present it; provide each small group with a reader’s theater script and a suggestion to include nonreaders by assigning them the word “Praise”; read Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise by Tomie DePaola; play a video version of the psalm.
Follow the reading with an art experience in which all ages are invited to dwell into the passage together.
- Provide each person with a cardstock square (6”x6” or 8”x8”) and set out a variety of art supplies: markers, coloring pencils, paint, collage materials (buttons, feathers, tissue, paper scraps, and so on), glue, scissors. Invite each person to select a different verse, phrase, or word from the psalm to imagine and depict using the provided supplies.
- Assemble the completed sections on a wall, floor, or table. Read the psalm again as you look at all the illustrations. What do you notice? How did the images help you think about the psalm? What does this psalm show you about God?
Wonder. Provide each small group with a Bible and an excellent children’s storybook Bible. After reading the same story (a parable or one of Jesus’ miracles would work well) from each book, use wondering questions like those listed below (drawn from I Wonder, Engaging a Child’s Curiosity about the Bible, pp. 132-33) to engage with God’s story together. Note: Be sure to preface this activity with a reminder that the goal of the questions is not to come up with “right” answers but to spend time in God’s story as you wonder together.
- Who is in the story, and what happens to them?
- What do you think the story is about?
- What kind of story is it?
- How is the story different from the time and place in which we live? How is it the same?
- Why do you think this story is important?
- When might be a good time to remember this story?
- What do you wonder about the story?
*From I Wonder by Elizabeth Caldwell, © 2016 Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Lectio divina. Choose a Scripture passage that can easily be followed by a child, and distribute a printed copy to each person along with some coloring pencils and/or markers. Explain that lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”) is a way to listen to God as you read the Bible and that you are going to spend time with God using that practice together now.
- As the Scripture passage is read aloud, notice what words or phrases stand out to you. If you’d like, doodle around them on your page.
- Read the passage aloud again, paying attention to the parts that caught your attention earlier. Wonder what God might be trying to show you.
- Tell God the thoughts or questions you have about the passage. If you’d like, you could write or draw your prayers to God. Invite God to speak to you too.
- Sit quietly with God for a moment, resting in God’s deep love for you.
The above steps are drawn from pages 10-11 of Faith Practices: Holy Habits That Help Us Love God and Our Neighbor, Listen to the Spirit, and Become More Like Jesus
Send people home with faith practice resources they can use to continue the practices they’ve experienced during your time together. Some ideas:
- A simple outline of a lectio divina practice that they can repeat at home
- I Wonder, Engaging a Child’s Curiosity About the Bible by Elizabeth Caldwell is a wonderful book for anyone with children in their lives.
- 5 Ways to Retell a Bible Story with Kids—a free, printable resource for households with children
- Faith Practices: Holy Habits That Help Us Love God and Our Neighbor, Listen to the Spirit, and Become More Like Jesus—one booklet per person or household