I was asked this week if I could recall my earliest memory of a bible story. The question came from a friend who is presently studying at Knox College, one of our denominational seminaries. Her query was prompted by a paper she is busy writing on the faith journeys of children. She is hoping to sprinkle some of these personal stories of treasured memories throughout her paper as illustrations of how children grow in faith.
What a delightful invitation to take a trip down memory lane.
How are things going at your church with your children and their families?
What did you do over the last year and a half to stay connected and provide teaching and faith formation for your youngest members? What worked well? What fell flat? What slipped through the cracks? What are you most concerned about going forward? What can you let go of that no one will miss? And, how will your approach to ministry with children and their families be transformed in light of any new learnings and discoveries that you’ve made while responding to changed circumstances?
Taking time to reflect now with your children, parents, and leaders is a crucial first step if your church wants to move forward in new ways in the months ahead; ways that will serve your entire church community well while providing the best opportunities for children and their families to grow in faith together.
While it is important that we all take time to ask the people of our own congregations, ‘how has it been going?’ we can also benefit from the research of others who have begun this process of interviewing children, parents, and congregational leaders and denominational influencers.
“As Christians, how we relate to each other should set us apart” (Douglas Powe)
Earlier this week a team of six people from our synod attended a virtual conference by InterGenerate and the Children’s Spirituality Summit. We spent Monday through Wednesday listening to thought provoking keynote presentations by world leaders of children’s and intergenerational ministries, attended a broad variety of workshops and/or research paper presentations led by leading practitioners and academics, and joined affinity breakout groups that applied to our areas of interest in faith formational ministry.
Advent is all about preparing for the coming of Jesus; preparing by doing things that help us get ready, and preparing in ways that are great fun! There are so many amazing stories to hear and fun things to do over these four special weeks.
I want to share with you a exciting collection of Advent activities you and your church can easily connect with over this Advent season; a collection of five cozily decorated living rooms that open up to wonderful world of videoed stories and music, family friendly devotions and outdoor adventures, tasty recipes and fun Christmas crafts.
These living rooms have been created for churches to request and then upload to their church website each week of Advent and on Christmas Eve.
Last week Robynne Howard, Director of the Cairn Family of Camps, and I hosted a Zoom training session to introduce three hybrid faith formation models your church may wish to consider for the fall as we continue to stay out of our physical church classrooms. If you missed joining us last week, or want to review what was said, I want to share with you the video from that training session along with some handouts and resources that might help your church as you determine how you will be connecting with children and young people this year.
Have you figured out how you will be doing Sunday school and/or youth ministry with the children and youth of your church yet?
If you are looking for a hybrid model for faith formation with the younger members of your church family that will work outside of an in-person classroom setting, join us on Tuesday, September 1 at 10:30 ET for a one hour Zoom gathering and hear about some great possibilities for at-home and online education.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article that outlined how Sunday school curriculum publishers were striving to support our churches through the production of resources to help us shift to hybrid models for teaching Sunday school this fall. Each have been busy writing new curricula and/or providing supplements to their existing offerings to assist us in making the transition to teaching outside of a classroom setting smoother and better for our teachers, participants and parents.
Please revisit it for an overview of the materials each will be providing this fall, especially if the curriculum your church uses is not mentioned in the following article. Your church’s curriculum may only be highlighted in the previous article because nothing has changed since July 22, 2020.
This article has been written to provide new or additional information that has been released since I last wrote on the topic.