A challenge every church has to face is building a service that engages the entire age range of the congregation.  How can we create a worship environment that has space for 6 year olds and 60 year olds?

Painswick United church is doing a better job answering that question than almost any church I’ve visited.

The church has a small but diverse congregation, and is currently meeting at the plaza on Hurst Drive.  The focus of today’s service was prayer, based on Matthew chapter 7.

Although we frequently refer to the church as a ‘family’, it seems that in most churches our corporate acts of worship are segregated; kids in one place, adults in another.  Kids and adults have different leaders, different activities, and different lessons.

I know from experience how hard it is to craft an environment where children and adults can learn and participate together, so I was very impressed that I witnessed that this morning.  A space was created at the front of the church for the children to gather, and they were led through a short and engaging lesson about understanding prayer as an opportunity to connect and commune with God.  Then the kids got to sit at the craft table at the back of the building while the adults were led through pretty much the same lesson.

Prayer is a transformative process.  We encounter God’s presence when we pray.  God is concerned with more than our immediate happiness: he wants a relationship with us and wants us to grow and mature into people that love and bless the world around us.  Prayer is not the thoughtless repetition of phrases, but an active engagement with God that can change us as much as the world around us.

Important words for children and adults alike.

I think after only visiting two churches I’m already beginning to see some common strands.  Believers who want to be connected to one another, and see the churches of Barrie bless the city.  I hope I continue to see this as I continue my journey.