Godly Play is a worship ministry for children age 3 years through 4th grade. It takes place during the 10:30 a.m. Sunday worship service. Children sit with their families in the sanctuary for the beginning of the worship service and then are dismissed to the Godly Play session. Trained storytellers and greeters lead the children to the Godly Play classroom in the Education Building where a special classroom is prepared just for them. Parents and children are reunited at the classroom after worship.
Godly Play is a Montessori-based method of religious instruction and experience. It is a complement to Sunday School. Using simple props, the storyteller relays a story to the children which leads into a “wondering time.” Through the wondering questions, children have an opportunity to engage in the meaning of the story. Godly Play stories focus on important Biblical or sacred stories (like Abraham & Sarah, Moses, Creation, etc.), parables (teaching stories Jesus told), and Christian practices (baptism, communion). Through the use of story children learn valuable tools for faith and the language by which we describe our faith.
Children also engage in a response time after the story where they may continue to process the lesson. There are no assigned activities for the children; each child chooses from the classroom materials how he or she will respond. For some it may mean play with a toy, others will want to retell the story to themselves using the story props, still others may choose an artistic outlet like drawing/painting/journaling/beading/etc. Some days the children experience the Feast, which is an informal experience of communion. Some days are reserved for a longer period of response time where the children may choose to work with classroom materials for the entire session.
Adults who lead Godly Play often find that it feeds their soul in unexpected and positive ways. Greeters often quickly find they want to become storytellers. And adults find their experience of the story brings new insights into their own faith, and the children often say quite profound things. Godly Play is a very reverent and beautiful way for children to learn about faith, to experience their growing faith and to learn how we worship.
Contact Ron Crawford for more information or talk with one of the Godly Play teachers. Godly Play teachers: Kelly Lauderback, Ron Crawford and Adrianne Yoder.