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Micah 6.1-8; Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1.18-31; Matthew 5.1-12

Outline act of worship for all ages

All-age worship ideas that offer an outline for worship. Individual items can be used alone or as part of your own worship design.

Use the Jump to this week's menu on the right to find Prayers, Hymns and other resources; see also Sermon ideas and Thought for the week.

This week we explore opportunities for growth in life's darker times.


Use the activities and prayers to gather the group and introduce the theme

All age act of worship Session

Is it good for you?

  • Take a quick survey of who thinks the following are ‘good for you’: taking exercise; eating vegetables; singing; lying in the sunshine;  drinking milk; washing your hands; eating chocolate; stopping at a red traffic light; staying up all night watching TV. A pretty random  list, but one unlikely to have 100 per cent agreement on every item! Ask: Who does things that they know are not good for them?  (Some may be willing to name their bad habits, but there’s no need to force the issue.)
  • In reality, we all do things or make decisions that may not be good for us. We may have little or no option, or it may be a genuine  mistake, but hopefully we learn from such experiences and seek to do things differently next time. In today’s worship we explore this in  relation to our walk with God and, in particular, how our more difficult experiences can be a source of growth.

Call to worship

Let us be encouraged in our walk with God.
When we are faced with challenges,
when the way before us is dark,
when we are not sure what to do,
let us be assured that God is ready to bless us,
and to bring us through it all.
So come now to praise and to pray.

A gathering prayer

Lord, we come before you today,
knowing that you do not choose us
because we are clever or strong or powerful.
Rather, you call us to rely on your wisdom,
to fight in your strength,
and to boast that you are always there for us.
Help us to walk humbly with you
each step of the way before us.
And in our worship today,
give us fresh insight and renewed commitment
for that journey of faith.
In Jesus’ name we pray.


First impressions

You could also use the image and following questions to help introduce the theme.

Click on the image to view a larger version
or use the Jump menu to go to This week's images.
For artist's details, see this issue's illustrators.



  • What surprisingly beautiful things grow in dark places?
  • Have you experienced growth during or after a difficult experience?
  • How might you support someone who is experiencing a tough time?
Share the Word
All age act of worship Session

Micah 6.1-8

This reading uses the language of the court – ‘plead your case’ – suggesting a courtroom scene as a suitable setting. A judge, seated at  a ‘bench’ (table), introduces the case (vv.1-2). Then, from the witness stand (a lectern, or similar), ‘the Lord’ presents his case (vv.3-5).  Up to four defendants respond (sitting on chairs, but standing to speak), reading vv.6-7, half a verse each in turn. Finally, the judge sums up and gives the ruling (v.8). The defendants bow to the judge and leave.


Matthew 5.1-12

The Beatitudes may be examples rather than a definitive list, inspired perhaps by the people Jesus saw gathered around him. You could  dramatise this by having a small crowd of people around an actor playing Jesus. The first half of each beatitude is said by someone from the crowd, to which Jesus responds. Alternatively, the crowd could be the congregation, with people standing to speak from their place.

A narrator begins by reading verses 1-2. Then verse 3 to 10 continue antiphonally – e.g. person: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’ followed by Jesus: ‘for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. Jesus might take a moment to ponder his response before giving it. Verses 11-12 are a  little different: there is a whole verse for each part of the saying, and they are two statements rather than one, both clearly delivered by Jesus. Jesus should pause after verse 10, say verse 11 in a more sombre tone, then pause again before delivering verse 12 in a much  more upbeat way. It could help to link the readings together, and make it clear that the Beatitudes – written in the third person – are  about our attitudes and actions, if Jesus concludes with the end of the Micah reading: ‘What does the Lord require of you, but to do  justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?’

Explore and respond

A sequence of active worship ideas; individual elements can stand alone

All age act of worship Session

Active worship

Blessed if…

Explore what the Beatitudes mean in practice.

You will need: 16 small cards each with either a question or its answer on it. Here are some examples of a question and its answer:

Are you aware of your spiritual needs?                  Seek out the kingdom of heaven.

Do you mourn, or have regrets?                             Ask God to comfort you.

Are you meek before God and others?                  Be strong in your reliance on God.

Do you long for righteousness in the world?          Be filled with a passion for justice.

Are you merciful to others?                                     Accept God’s love and mercy for yourself.

Do you strive to be pure in heart?                          Look for God in the world.

Are you a peacemaker?                                          Share love with all God’s children.

Are you persecuted for your faith?                          Hold fast to the kingdom of heaven.

  • The list of Beatitudes are not statements about other people, but an encouragement to us all to act. With that in mind, this simple activity turns them round to  emphasise the point.
  • Give out the cards randomly. Invite someone with a question to read it aloud. Drawing on the original Beatitudes – looking them up in pew Bibles, etc., if  necessary – the person who thinks they have the answer to that question should read it out. You could invite everyone else to indicate if they agree that the correct answer had been chosen. Repeat this with all the questions. It should become apparent that some questions and answers overlap.
    W E A


Group discussion

Consider the merits of darkness and light.

  • While it always seems natural to strive for the light, to hope and work for better times, ask if people can think of examples in which darkness or darker times  have had a positive impact on life and growth.
  • A couple of simple examples to get things going: Did anyone have a poinsettia plant for Christmas – is it still red? Did you know that if you want it to re-flower  next year, you must hide it in complete darkness every night from October to December? Or, what do you know about growing rhubarb? It loves its roots to be in manure and grows very well in near darkness!
  • Now, can anyone think on any real human example?
    W E


Modern messages

Creating an accessible call to holiness.

  • Micah’s three-part rule for life (6.8) and Jesus’ more lengthy guidelines recorded by Matthew (5.1-10) are solid advice about the sort of people we are to be as  we walk with God, even in darker times. In this age of snappy slogans and memorable images, memes can be a light-hearted shorthand (if you are not sure what memes are, do an internet search for ‘meme examples’ – they often comprise an image and a slogan).
  • Invite people, in small groups, to design/create a meme to get across Micah’s message about what God requires of us.
    S A


A simple worship activity

Share blessings.

  • Ask: Do you feel blessed? Invite people to share ways in which they have recently been or felt blessed. We can also be a blessing to each other. Again, invite  people to share recent personal stories and examples.
  • Namaste is an Indian non-contact blessing or greeting, made with hands pressed together in front of you as you gently bow to another person. It symbolises the  idea that ‘The God in me bows to the God in you’. Encourage everyone to bless each other in this way. You could, at the same time, say ‘Peace be with you’ or ‘The peace of Christ’ or similar. Then read Psalm 15 and sing or play the Taizé song, ‘Bless the Lord, my Soul’ or ‘Bless the Lord oh my Soul’ by Matt Redman.
    W E S


A prayer for all ages together

Thank you, God,
that whether it is dark
(cover eyes)
or light
(open eyes wide)
we can still grow.
(reach hands up high)
Thank you that when things are difficult
(look at the ground)
and going very well
(jump up)
you bless us and help us.
(hug yourself)


Activity sheet

Go with God

Consider together what you have explored, what that means for each of you and how it might influence your daily lives

All age act of worship Session
  • Display or give out slips of paper printed with the words from the end of the Micah reading: ‘What does the Lord require of you,  but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ Invite people to share with a neighbour something  that they can realistically do in the coming days that is an example of each of the three ‘rules’. Encourage and help one another if the examples do not come easily.


A sending out prayer

Lord, you bless us in so many ways.
You love us just as we are.
And you also want us to grow closer to you.
Show us how we can bless others
by putting them and you before ourselves.
May we walk humbly with you every day.

Go with God 24/7

Encourage everyone to put their faith into action

Continue the process of thinking about how you can put Micah’s rules into practice. Keep a copy of Micah 6.8 close to hand all the time,  and refer to it as often as possible, asking yourself, ‘So, what can I do today?’


Give out the ROOTS at home resource to encourage faith at home.

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