If you want to run Church with UTB, the services will usually reference a resource included on this page. In due course I am planning to expand this section with some printable sheets, however at the moment if you want to print anything you will need to copy / paste into a document yourself.
The Bible does not say that we need to confess our sins all together in a service. However, I believe it’s a good and healthy thing to do for a church to do together. In the Anglican tradition, we would say a pre-written confession to confess our sins in general, and then whoever is leading would pray the prayer of absolution to assure the people of God’s forgiveness for those who repent.
Confessions are normally said by all the congregation together, and followed by a prayer assuring God’s forgiveness (known as the absolution).
You can use a confession from the Bible (for example, Psalm 32 or Psalm 51), or you can use a version which has already been written such as this one. This confession is taken from An English Prayer Book, published by the Church Society, and based on the language of the Church of England Book of Common Prayer.
Most merciful Father, our Creator and Judge,
we acknowledge and confess
that we have sinned against you
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with all our heart;
and we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
We earnestly repent,
and are truly sorry for all our sins.
For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake forgive us,
and strengthen us to serve and obey you
in lives wholly renewed by your Spirit;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Following the confession, this absolution would be prayed by whoever is leading the service. It is taken from the same Church Society publication:
Loving Father we rejoice that you pardon and forgive all those who truly repent and sincerely believe your holy gospel: grant us true repentance and your holy Spirit; so that we may live godly, righteous and holy lives and that we may come at the last to your eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers can be made up on the spur of the moment (sometimes called ex tempore), or they can use written words. Some people, especially those who aren’t very confident praying in public, like to write prayers down. Other people prefer the freedom of praying using whichever words come to them at the time.
If you’re new to prayer, I would suggest starting with prayers which are written down and then praying freely as you build more confidence. However, I like to keep at least some written prayers as part of the service.
It’s always good to include the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
The Church of England publish collects every week, and they – especially the traditional ones – are usually excellent. You can find them by using the Daily Prayer section on the website.
I can also recommend a couple of books of prayers: The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett, and Into His Presence, edited by Tim Chester. Both of these are collections of puritan prayers and devotions, and they are both excellent resources for prayers.
At the moment, Understand the Bible does not produce any resources for children. However, there are LOTS of good resources for teaching children about Christianity. The one we use in our home church at the moment is The Big Book of Questions and Answers (and its follow-up, The Big Book of Questions and Answers about Jesus) by Sinclair Ferguson. Anyone can use these to help children learn the basics of the Christian faith. How exactly you decide to structure the time is up to you. You know which children will be present and you will have the best idea of their needs.
It might be best to teach children separately, before or after the service, or maybe have them in a separate room for a while. It’s up to you. The main thing is, ensuring that children are not forgotten!