An award-winning, continuous worshipping community of children (and often their parents) centred around sport, team games, sung worship, Bible discussion and group prayer.
Sweaty Church is a programme we run through our Good Sport project for exploring Collective Worship through active games. We have seen it work as a lunchtime club, after-school club or even fitting into lesson time, but it has proven most popular and effective as after school.
Sweaty Church was designed in-house to have a deliberately high reliance on volunteers from connected established church congregations, in order to model family and discipleship across different expressions of Church.
A typical session includes teams of up to 8 children being mentored by their volunteer team leaders as Hettie (our trained sports coach) leads everyone through different sports and games, sung worship and a Bible story, before finishing with discussion and prayer in individual teams. Each team leader nominates a captain from amongst the children for the next week, as a means of publicly encouraging their good engagement.
At the end of each half term, we invite parents, carers and siblings to join us for a special Family Sweaty Church. Activities are tailored towards families working together and discussing the Bible story together. Often extra members of connected established church congregations will also join for these special sessions, serving refreshments and taking away prayer requests to their congregations’ prayer meetings.
Several church primary schools see Sweaty Church as an opportunity to explore worshipping communities in line with their work towards Church Partnership Awards from the Church of England Department for Education, improving their family and community links in a way that is both active and wholesome. A number of schools are keenly waiting for us to have the capacity to bring them their own Sweaty Church, and Scripture Union have published our resources, which are now being used up and down the country!
We value this project at £1,400 termly per school: 13hrs staff delivery time, 6.5hrs staff prep time & setup time, fuel, £50 towards equipment & resources, and a figurative value placed on the role volunteers (for whom the project couldn’t, and shouldn’t, exist without).
We currently work with only one primary schools on this project, costing £4,000 per year. However, we have a current waiting list of 5 schools keen to start a Sweaty Church! To extend this offer to more schools and sustain an annual provision at no cost to each partnering school, we would need at least an annual £12,000 initially.