The purpose of a workshop is to bring together a group of people from the church congregation and from the community, of all ages, to prepare themselves and the church building for a festival or event. Advent, Christmas, Lent, Mothering Sunday, Easter, Pentecost, Harvest, Patronal Festivals, and Saints days all lend themselves to this sort of activity.
You may have an obvious group of people who can make up a Workshop Team or you may need to create a special group or ‘working party’. A Sunday School, Kids Club or Youth Group with adult leaders would be good. A Mothers and Toddlers group, a Men’s Breakfast Fellowship, a Lunch Club or a House Group – all these could form working parties. Your local Church School might enjoy the challenge of preparing the church for, for example, Mothering Sunday. Adult-only groups work well, too. It is surprising how much fun adults can have when let loose with glue and paint and their imagination!
A workshop runs for a couple of hours, usually either on a Saturday morning before a major church festival on the following Sunday, or immediately after the morning service a week or two before a church festival – when people can stay on without too much effort. It is important that this group should have a good time, enjoy each other’s company and get to know each other.
What happens at a Workshop?
people are welcomed
name badges are made
the theme is explained
songs are learned
any whole group activity takes place
coffee and refreshments are served
people break into small groups to make things
people draw together again to look at what has been made
a meal is shared
Just before the service everything that has been prepared is put in place. During the service the songs are sung, prayers are read, plays are acted out etc.
Planning a Workshop
A workshop needs to be well-planned in advance. A group of at least 6 people are needed for initial planning well ahead of the event – more is great, any less and the work is much harder!
WORKSHOP PLANNING MEETING AGENDA
Festival or Theme of the Workshop
Date of the Workshop
This is usually planned for the Saturday morning before a Festival on the following Sunday OR immediately after a morning service.
Time of the Workshop
Venue of the Workshop – book if necessary
Activities to take place which fit the theme of the workshop – one at least of which should be a ‘whole group’ activity and several of which should be ‘small
group’ activities. Ideas could include any of the following:
altar frontal making
vestment making (stole, chasuble)
singing a new song
rehearsing a play
making something (cards, models)
finding something (treasure hunt)
a prayer group to plan intercessions
a reading group to look at the set readings
Decide who will run each group and what will be needed.
Plan what will happen as people start to arrive – name badges.
Plan and decide who will bring food for the refreshments and shared meal.*
Discuss who will be invited.
Decide who will send out invitations and deal with publicity.
*Plan a very simple meal comprising soup, sandwiches, crisps, sausage rolls and cake, with hot and cold drinks. If everyone in the planning group brings one thing there is no need for a major effort on any one person’s part.
Things to remember when planning activities
It is important to remember that this is a workshop for all ages, so some groups may be for adults only, some for children only and some for both age groups working together.
It is also really important to remember those in the church building who are cleaning the church, arranging the flowers, cleaning the brass and generally preparing the building for Sunday. They can be asked to come and join the workshop group at the beginning, especially if there is a song to be learned, at coffee and refreshment time, and for the shared meal at the end.
And finally …
Stress to everyone who is involved in the running of the workshop how important it is to be at the venue in good time (at least ½ hour before) to get everything ready before the participants arrive!