Encounter Weekend in Worden, IL

Worden United Methodist Church is a small, yet thriving church on the edge of the Metro St. Louis area.  Though they are a secluded, small town of about 1000 people, they are part of the large Edwardsville School District.

Last weekend, they hosted an event they named Encounter, which was for 3-8 graders.  The weekend consisted of meeting on Friday night from 5:00 – 9:00 and on Saturday night from 5:00 – 8:00.  Then, they concluded the weekend with their regular worship time at 11:00 am on Sunday morning and had a church wide lunch to follow.

I don’t know what the exact average attendance is for Sunday worship in Worden, but I think it’s around 45-50.  Which is why I was amazed that there were 25 children and students at the weekend event!  Kids brought friends and they had a blast!

I was excited to lead music for the event.  The students and leaders sang really well and got into the songs. A high school student from our church came with me to play percussion.  He has been in the jr. praise band at our church for the last three years and I was glad to have him join me in leadership.

The schedule for the evenings was pretty simple:  supper, music and opening session, break off into three groups and rotate from lesson, to games, to projects, back to general worship, then an active response time to close.

One inspiring aspect to the event was the age breakdown.  I don’t think I’ve been to  many events where the focus age was 3rd – 8th grade.  However, this is the primary age group in their church, so they just went with what they had – and it worked!  It’s a lesson is doing what is needed for your specific situation and setting.

Thanks to the leadership at Worden UMC!  Great job getting something like this going.  From what I could tell, this was a first and it was really a motivating weekend!


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