Messy Church Does Science
David Gregory, The Bible Reading Fellowship, 2017

£9.99 (Approx)
4.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Helping Messy Church leaders use science to explore aspects of the Christian faith.

In popular culture there is a perceived conflict between science and faith, yet in many ways scientific understanding can enhance faith. This resource offers Messy Churches the tools to use science to explore aspects of the Christian faith; demonstrate that science and faith are complementary; and enable children and adults alike to appreciate the wonder of creation. These 100 sizzling ideas from a range of contributors provide inspiration for the Bible-based activities element of Messy Church.

What do you get?

Messy Church does science resource book with 100 science based ideas to incorporate in to the Messy Church framework. Purchasable from BRF.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Good - ring bound A5 book with colourful exterior. There are clear titles, subtitles and instructions throughout.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Aims and outcomes will be covered as part of the wider Messy Church session as these sessions are to be incorporated in to the Messy Church format. Aims can be found under the ‘Theme’ listed at the beginning of each science activity, and each chapter contains an introduction as to what the topics of experiments are and why they are important to use to learn about God.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Extremely accessible. The resource gives a brief context for the resource before then moving on to each activity listed. Each activity is clearly defined with sub-headings for what equipment is needed, what needs to be done to prepare, what the activity is and what the big questions are that the activity relates to. The leader is guided in the activity from start to finish, and there are helpful introductions to the different categories of experiments to give context to the leader.

    Who could lead it?

    As this resource is to be incorporated in to the wider Messy Church format, this session could be led by anyone passionate about science and wanting to talk to children about the conflicts or agreements between science and Christianity.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Participant resources are in the form of resources the leader buys for the science activities.

    How good is any digital material?

    Extra resources, downloads, blogs and photos to aid sessions and preparation are available at www.messychurch.org.uk/science.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    As this resource is to be incorporated in to the wider Messy Church layout, the preparation lies more with the whole session than with the specific science set-up. Having said that, in order to prepare for the experiments, leaders will need to purchase or collect all resources (and have enough for all people attending) and read through the setup for each experiment. There are photos online of some of the experiments and how they turn out, and each activity has a helpful rating for how difficult, messy and dangerous the activities are, which may impact the leaders’ choices. The resource should not add any extra unnecessary planning time to Messy Church than would be expected for an original Messy Church with crafts session. A very easy-to-use book.

    Is there website support? Links?

    A few more free downloadable activities, updates, photos and blogs related to Messy Church does science can be found at www.messychurch.org.uk/science There are also links to external sites when needed to know how to make something - on YouTube or other sites.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Interaction is key to the Messy Church format and to this add-on. Participants will complete a science experiment together and will be guided through what to do by an activity leader or by the main leader if there is a very small group. Afterwards, children are prompted to respond to the big questions brought up by the experiment, and, depending on the mix of ages, can discuss or just answer the questions as suitable.

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

    This resource is specifically focused on learning through science and the links between science and life. It is very hands-on, so participants learn from practically taking part. There is opportunity to learn from answering questions and discussing them at the end of each activity, which is relevant to what has been done. More delivery styles would be catered for in the wider Messy Church session.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    As there are so many ideas to choose from, the resource is very adaptable. It can be used as substitutes to crafts in a Messy Church session, or as stand-alone sessions if the context is a science environment or theme. Ideas can be used for all age involvement, kids’ clubs, midweek sessions, school sessions and many more. They can be used for 15+ minutes depending on time allocation and the ratings for mess, danger and difficulty help leaders to know what will suit their context and age group best. With so many choices, leaders will be certain to find something which suits their setup, time, space, resources, ages and group size. Some resources for the experiments may need to be bought in advance.

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

    The activities each have two key areas which apply the material well. The first is the section on ‘Big thinking’ where the activity is made relevant to the science and useful application behind it. Participants think about how what they have done is important in real practice. The next section is on ‘Big questions’ where participants then apply the science experiment to the passage being explored - this can be done by answering the questions or discussing them depending on age groups and ability.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Each activity contains a section called ‘Big questions’ which links the activity to specific passages in the Bible.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Biblical material is presented as passages at the end of each experiment to read and answer questions about.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Application to everyday life varies between the experiments as they focus on different things, but overall this is done very well as the whole point of this resource is to connect science to God and life. It will be presented in 3 sections: before you begin, big thinking and big questions. For example, children may learn about the human heart, and are asked questions about it before starting an experiment to learn how they work, and thinking about what they do using quantitative measurable approaches. They then look at questions to do with God making our hearts and what the importance is for us to look after them day-to-day.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    The resource works to demonstrate that Christianity and science can complement one another and do not have be in conflict.

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

    The resource encourages participants to act on many different things taught in the Bible, but depending on the activities chosen. The topics relevant to developing whole life discipleship are: water, the earth, stars and space, air, light and colour, human body, plants, animals, power and energy, transformations and reactions, time and measurement.

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

    This resource is unique in that it encourages people to grow in their faith through learning about the world and how it works. It draws exciting comparisons between things we can make and do and how those relate to God and his creation. For example, children may do an experiment about particles changing from solid to liquid depending on the variables; this leads in to discussion on how we react under pressure - what happens to us and how do we change? What does God say about being stressed?

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

    This resource is specifically science based, which means it has an exceptional ability to link life and how things work to God and his purposes. For example, in one experiment, children go and see how many plants and organisms they can find, write them down, then come back and consider the role of these living things on the planet. They then look at passages in Genesis and Psalm 139 and consider how all things made by God were good and we need to help preserve them and the planet. The activities do extremely well at linking the things we see and know around us to God and what he has intended for them and us.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Very well. This resource links real life experiments to real life problems and what the Bible has to say about them. For example, one experiment is to make a bottle rocket which flies off. Children think about how sometimes they may feel like they are going to explode, with excitement or anger. They learn about Galatians and self-control,  and discuss methods to be self-controlled when they feel angry.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Personal evangelism is covered in some topics more than others so leaders would have to choose carefully if evangelism is a key focus of a session. For example, there is an experiment for a chemical reaction which keeps transforming and growing. Children are asked to consider what catalysts are needed to use their gifts to bring themselves and others closer to the kingdom of God.

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

    Community involvement is encouraged in two ways, 1) activities which encourage evangelism and looking after people we know and care for and 2) activities which talk about the world and God’s creation and how we are here to steward it. Leaders can pick the focus they are seeking from different experiments.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    This is primarily covered in experiments to do with the universe and earth modules and topics.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Mentioned in a couple of activities, so can be accommodated for if this is the focus of the wider session or Messy Church layout.

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