Thursday, December 15, 2011

Godly Play on the Go

If there's one thing I am a near expert on, it's how to do "church-in-a-box". None of the church plants that I have been involved in, whether in Russia, the US or Germany, have ever owned their own building! As a result, transporting things and setting up spiritual spaces in creative places has become a way of life for me.  I've turned kitchens, classrooms and other small places into Godly Play rooms on many occasions.  So, when the local church near our school generously offered us the only room that wasn't previously taken for Advent festivities, I was ready. 

One of the biggest jobs is actually transporting the materials. With Godly Play, you always have lots of stuff, so it's not uncommon for religion teachers in Germany to carry around a suitcase or trolley with their GP stuff in it.  Since I always have art supplies, art boards, and cushions (to sit on) in addition to the actual story materials, I need a bicycle trailer to get it all around. Where I live in Berlin, a car isn't always terribly helpful, since it is impossible to find a parking space!

Unloading the bicycle trailer in front of the church office.
When I first walked into the room (below) where we were to meet, I wasn't sure how we would fit 10 children and 3 adults in here.  With the pastor's permission, I basically cleared out the entire room and put most of the furniture and objects in the room next door. This made the room almost twice as big and you can tell by looking at the cushions below, we could all easily fit even if we were a little snug.

I removed everything from the desk in front of the room and made a focus table with the Christ candle, cross, and two of the three stories that I would be telling.

Then, I relocated everything that was on the lower shelves, so that I could place the art supplies that the children would be using there.

And then, I just prayed that God would come and make this a joyful and welcoming space for the five boys (did I mention that they are very active boys?!) and five girls that would be coming. And though we were rubbing elbows (literally) at times, it worked beautifully!

For more about setting up Godly Play rooms, please see the post, Godly Play 101: The Space, and the commentary that ensues. 


  1. What a beautiful, sacred space you've created here. I love your bicycle trailer too - very practical! I'm going to follow your link to Godly Play 101 now to learn a bit more about what might be inside the trailer :)

  2. What a great post, I have been a Sunday school teacher for years, and am always hauling my totes and bags of supplies back and forth. I do have a regular Sunday school room with some of our regular supplies stocked. I love the way you have set up this room, as well as the 101 link. I love the idea of a circle for story time, and I love your display. I too have taught rambunctious groups of boys in very tiny classrooms, a very fun challenge for sure :) I love reading your ideas!!

  3. Thanks, Anna! There are elements of Godly Play that you would probably really like.

  4. April, So glad that you can relate to my challenges! And thanks for joining me on this journey - you are always a voice of encouragement.

  5. What a lovely space! At home, a lot of our play and creative work takes place on the floor so a lot of furniture is definitely not a must in a learning environment. My husband who is from India told me that they didn't have desks in his first school.
    I am looking forward to following your blog since I have been interested in learning more about Godly Play for awhile now.

  6. Thanks, Rebekah! Yes, I agree that minimalistic, but tasteful spaces (as opposed to cluttered ones) really help children learn and play more creatively. Godly Play is usually done on the floor except in settings where it is not culturally appropriate. There is a certain intimacy that comes from being on the floor. And practically, the children can see the materials better.