Phones during Church – An extraordinary exploration

Conversation | Ofa Foiakau | 22nd March 2020

What’s happening on the table at the back?

Well, Katherine Allen, with the assistance of Robyn Farrell, has started an awesome initiative at Wesley Uniting Church, Castle Hill, at the back of their church during worship.

With fluctuating numbers and a church made up mostly of older gens, Katherine has been creative in seeking ways to engage young people with Sunday service. Although still in the early days of things, only having kicked off this idea a few months ago, Katherine has provided a table at the back of the church for the young people to be at throughout the service. 

There teens have the opportunity to colour-in while listening to the service, allowing them to be creative in this new space. Alongside this, however, Katherine has also created a WhatsApp group chat specifically for young people to openly ask questions about the service and sermon, in real time.

It seems so simple, and surprisingly it actually is. An extraordinary yet simple way to explore church together. Most of us have phones these days, why not find ways to use them well during a service?

Katherine started this program to provide a safe space for young people to engage with church honestly. It definitely took time for young people to be comfortable with this, as it takes trust to not only openly share your thoughts and questions, but also your phone number. The pay off is amazing though, to have young people participate in ways they haven’t before. This initiative is flexible enough that it can cope with fluctuating numbers and it also doesn’t require much stress from the group leader as at most they are supervising and guiding the discussions. This also allows discussions without having to leave the service, as it is quiet and online, and the congregation knows what is happening at the back as this slide is shown during the service.

The pay off is amazing though, to have young people participate in ways they haven’t before. This initiative is flexible enough that it can cope with fluctuating numbers and it also doesn’t require much stress from the group leader as at most they are supervising and guiding the discussions. This also allows discussions without having to leave the service, as it is quiet and online, and the congregation knows what is happening at the back as this slide is shown during the service.

It will be great to see how this program evolves from here, if they open it up to others and continue to explore new ways to engage with church, especially in the current period of time where we cannot physically gather together. In the meantime, this is an amazing step into integrating technology with church and engagement with young people.





Ofa Foiakau is the Field Officer (Central/West), and responsible for youth/high school ministry as a part of the PULSE team.