Growing Together
Sas Cutting and Alex Taylor, Premier Youth and Children’s Work, published May 2017

£38.40 (Approx)
3.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

For years, Premier Youthwork provided top-notch (even if we do say so ourselves) session plans for youth groups and we decided it was high time we did the same for children’s groups too. Every month, we’ll be providing you with four sessions for 0-5-year-olds (called First Steps Together), 5-11-year-olds (Growing Together) and 11-18-year-olds (Journeying Together) – choose the best age group for the children in your church community. All three age groups will be exploring the same Bible passages, so you’ll be able to mix and match if you have a mixed age group.

What do you get?

Access to Premier Youth and Children’s Work online resources and session plans, as well as their monthly magazine – available at: www.youthandchildrens.work

Free first month’s initial subscription, including magazine and online resources. £38.40 monthly subscription going forward, £5 for magazine alone.

Who is it for?

Children aged 0-5 years, 5 – 11 years and 11 – 18 years.

NB This review covers 5 – 11 year old material. Small groups. Beginning, Growing, Enquiring.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Good, easy to navigate online and clear layout with clear subtitles. It can be difficult to find the sessions which are part of the same series online unless specifically viewing them under their relevant monthly issue.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Clearly written at the beginning of the session under ‘meeting aim’. The four aims in May’s series are: To begin to understand something of who God is; That God was with Moses; To understand the importance of God saving his people in Egypt; and To explore how to live God’s way.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Accessible and easy to follow, presented on one A4 page/pdf file if accessed online. There is a paragraph on the background of the passages addressed to help leaders understand the context of the time.

    Who could lead it?

    Adults and children’s workers passionate about helping children grow in the Christian faith. If the relevant All Age Service is being carried out with the whole congregation, leaders would need support from church leaders.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Resources for children are mostly in the form of activities created by the leader rather than set worksheets or booklets. Relevant to theme, aim and chronology of session layouts.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A however website support is helpful and easy to access, and links are given for support with some craft activities.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    20 minutes - 1 hour preparation. Leaders will need to buy/collect items for craft and Bible story sections. Preparation is very easy and sessions quick to read through prior to running them.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Yes via the magazine and website: www.youthandchildrens.work  (log in required)

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Interaction between the leaders and the group is continuous and there are some parts for children to interact just with one another. Interaction is encouraged via discussion, games, crafts and Bible story-telling.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    This is done well with most of the session being interactive. There are inventive tools throughout to help relay Bible passages in a fun and memorable way, visual aids to help children interpret them too. For example, one Bible story is told by having physical items which are relevant for each part in the story; at each check point children pause in the reading to consider the item.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Very adaptable, with a recommended running time of 55-60 minutes per session. This means it can be used as part of a church service, lunch club, after school club or just in small groups. The sessions do not impose a high cost to run and can be done in small and large spaces. No access to digital material is necessarily needed so it can be easily set up in different rooms. Each month, four sessions are produced within one theme, with the intention that one session would be completed each week. If you have children of other ages, there are equivalent sessions on the same topics but with adapted content which could be run alongside the GROWING TOGETHER resource. There are also separate All-Age Service layouts which can be used and, further games ideas which can be added/removed depending on the time you have allocated. The quick preparation time of these resources make them stand out among other similar products.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Appropriately for the age group. The children apply material by crafts, discussion time i.e. answering questions from the leader, and by prayer and time for reflection at the end of each session.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    20 minutes of each session is directly spent on telling and interpreting the Bible passage.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    This is done well as the options for presenting material are varied but not so many options are given that the leader need get confused or make their own decisions if they are new to running sessions. Biblical material is presented by use of physical aids, actions, role play, drawing and answering questions about the passage as they go through it.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Appropriately for the age group, children are mostly encouraged to do this in the sections of ‘chatting together’ and ‘creative response’. For example, they may be asked ‘Do we need all of these commandments today?’ when studying the Ten Commandments.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No, open to all denominations and perspectives. No specific liturgy.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    This particular issue inspires people towards whole-life discipleship by teaching children about who God is and how he has helped his people. Children need to understand that they can trust God, before focusing on discipleship so this issue teaches children core characteristics about who God is and that He is for us. Children are also encouraged to interact with God in different ways to build their understanding of him, for example in prayer and reflection.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Again this resource encourages children to grow in faith by teaching them more and more about who God is and what he does. By being involved in activities like prayer, discussion and reflection children learn how to interact with God too.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    In this issue, God’s purposes are presented mostly by the story of God helping his people out of Egypt and children learn the vision he had for the people who follow him. There are different purposes focused on in different issues of this resource.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Real life issues are not talked about explicitly, children are more encouraged to learn and apply what they learn to everyday scenarios.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not a focus in this issue but mentioned in other issues; appropriately to the age group.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Not a main focus.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a focus in this issue but mentioned in other issues; appropriately to the age group. Children do learn though about problems which happened in other areas of the world during biblical times which encourages them to think further afield than their own communities.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a main focus.

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