Lights, Camera, Action

Good for...

  • Understanding how children/young people experience church

You will require 

  • An empty church building 
  • Enough video cameras for groups of children/young people to have one per group 

Preparation

  • Borrow enough video cameras (or camera phones) for your group.
  • Make sure you know how the video cameras work - and that the children/young people also know!
  • Create a list of suggested questions (see below) to prompt the participants' imagination.
  • Find someone who will be able to help with editing the films.

What to do

  • Gather centrally in the church.
  • Divide the group into 2s or 3s (depending on how many cameras you have).
  • Explain that you'd like to know what the children/young people think about the church - you'd like them to video what they have to say. They can video in any part of the church.
  • Emphasise that there are no right or wrong answers - but they might need to talk together about what is the right answer for them.
  • Distribute a list of questions that they might want to answer (but they don't need to be limited to the list). They don't have to start with the first question!
  • Allow 15/20 minutes for the videoing.
  • Come back together and listen to some of the things they videoed.
  • Arrange for the films to be edited. Who would they like to see the finished films?
  • Reflect - What have you learned? How might that feed in to what you (or the church) do? Who can help things to change?

Suggested questions

  • What's your favourite place in church - why?
  • What do you like/dislike about church?
  • Where do you feel close to God in church?
  • What could be done differently in church?
  • Where could you get more involved in church?
  • What do you think is the most important thing in church?
  • What do you think church is for? 
  • What would you like to change about church?

Adapt it for younger children

  • Have an adult/young person help the children with the cameras.

Do it differently

Take the opportunity for children/young people to hear what adults think! Use the 'suggested questions' to interview and film members of the congregation. Discuss with the young people how the adult views are the same or different from theirs.

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