This section contains information on downloadable electronic resources, the Manchester Resources Centre of books and CDs, help on choosing a resource, and some useful links to other web resources.
Child in the Midst is a regular national newsletter from the Church of England which highlights current news, articles, books, websites and resources about children and ministry with children. It comes out about every three weeks. To subscribe, click here.
The diocesan Children’s Officer produces a range of material to resource your children’s work. These materials are available in downloadable format under the following headings:
Packs giving ideas for prayer and planning worship, plus the texts of recent diocesan communion services.
Using the Bible
A pack giving general ideas on using the Bible with children, plus packs exploring the special features of the three gospels used in the lectionary cycle and how to share them with children.
Services, activities and ideas for Christian festivals.
Resources on a range of children’s work issues such as, creativity, spirituality and contemporary life.
The Manchester Resource Centre contains thousands of books and is to be found on the 4th Floor at Church House. It is open normal office hours (9am to 5pm) Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) and there is a self-service borrowing system. You can borrow items for a month, and this is an excellent way of finding out whether it is what your church needs before buying a copy.
The stock in the Resource Centre covers the whole range of children’s ministry. It includes: schemes of work; material on families and parenting; resources for baptism, confirmation and admission to communion before confirmation; ideas for holiday clubs, games, drama and other creative activities; worship resources; material for marking Christian festivals; training resources for children’s work volunteers; an under-fives section; and a selection of videos.
Click here for reviews of the key items in the Resources Centre.
Books are often out on loan. If you find a particular resource you would like to borrow, please check it is in stock and reserve it before coming into Manchester. Contact Steve Dixon (0161 828 1433). He is happy to give advice about resources over the phone or he can bring a selection to your parish.
It is useful to ask yourself the following questions when choosing a resource for use in children's ministry.
How does it relate to the education programme of your whole church?
Does its theological approach reflect the approach of your church?
Does it enable the children to engage with God?
Does it give the children space to think and does it spark ideas rather than giving all the answers?
Does it make connections with where the children are at?
Does it have a variety of learning styles?
Does it cover the age span of your group?
Are there approaches which will suit boys as well as girls?
Is it culturally and socially relevant to your children?
Does it suit their attendance pattern?
What do the children themselves think of it?
Are the leaders enthusiastic, inspired, moved, spiritually fed by it?
How does it match the capabilities and teaching styles of the leaders?
(Does it play to their strengths whilst also extending their skills by suggesting approaches with which they are not so confident?)
Does the amount of detail suit the needs of the leaders?
(Leaders who are confident in devising and developing activities may only want general suggestions for sessions; those less confident may want fully detailed plans).
Do the activities actually work? Have you tried them, or do you know that they have been trialled?
Does the substance of the content match the presentation?
(Poor content can hide behind good presentation and vice versa)
Are you clear who the resource is designed for – leaders or children – and are you evaluating it accordingly?
Is the price right? Is it value for money in your situation?