Some buzz words appear to be short lived. They drop out of use almost as quickly as they gain popularity. But Christians inPlymouthuse buzz words that work to engage with the wider community. At the Buzz Club, a Saturday morning drop-in geared to families, simple words of welcome help engage with people. Just asking, ‘how are you?’ or commenting on their children starts to develop relationships.

‘Building relationships is what the Buzz Club is all about,’ explains founder Anne Brindley, Families Pastor of Mutley Baptist Church where the drop-in takes place. ‘“We’re here for you” is the clear message that draws people.’ Family groups know they can just come and relax. Children play while adults enjoy a ‘cuppa’ and a chat. The small, dedicated team have seen numbers grow in five years to an average of 200.

These numbers reflect a broad spectrum with attendees ranging from professional people to mothers from a rehabilitation centre. Local Evangelist Dawn Getley of OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) relates to such diverse people. She points out that her involvement withMessyChurchbegan through the Buzz Club where she regularly reminds people to come.

Held monthly on a Saturday afternoon,MessyChurchalso is geared to family groups. Children and adults join in creative activities including crafts and science. Dawn uses themes to coordinate activities. Woodcarving of animals related to a message about Noah and the ark. Making star decorations synchronised with the account of Abraham. 

When ‘messy’ activities finish, everyone goes to the church part of the building for singing and a Bible message. Family considerations include child-friendly songs with actions. Getting the meaning across to adults along with the children remains a goal. ‘The story communicates on all levels which is what OAC is good at,’ explains Dawns. She uses puppets as part of her Bible message saying, ‘They have a unique way of reinforcing the story. And it’s the puppet who can ask pertinent questions in an exceedingly fun way!’ Everyone then enjoys a meal together before going home.

Another way Dawn combines fun with outreach is at holiday Bible clubs. During the February half-term she held one atHalcyonMethodistChurch, again appealing to family groups in thePlymoutharea. The theme centred on running a marathon to win a prize. Throughout the week, activities and teaching all harmonised to compare sports achievement with spiritual life.

Opportunities for hands-on involvement helped children to participate while emphasising the biblical teaching. A huddle corner allowed them to use individual work sheets with colouring and puzzles as well as to exchange ideas. ‘With both adults and children, I always accompany my messages by painting on a sketchboard,’ notes Dawn. ‘It holds the attention of the children yet I can address myself to adults too.’ Using both lettering and illustration proves effective as it seems people get a buzz from both spoken and painted words.

For more information, please contact OAC at www.oacgb.org.uk or Tel. 020 8360 5788.

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