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March 2019

Observing Lent with Children


Photo Credit: Sherman Street CRC

When working with children, we often focus on the joys of Easter and can overlook the season of Lent. Similar to Advent and the anticipation of Christ’s birth, the season of Lent is a 40-day period before Easter that anticipates Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and his glorious resurrection. Lent is a rich time of anticipation as we await the event that is not here yet, but is sure to come, and celebrating Lent with children is important. It provides us an opportunity to be intentional with kids, talking with them about Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.

Here are some thoughtful ways to help engage children with the season of Lent:

The Broken Pot is a seven-week children’s message series based on Isaiah 30.

Simplified Stations of the Cross tells the story from Jesus’ arrest to the resurrection and offers simple meditations and actions that even young children can participate in.

Try This at Home is a blog post that provides four family resources for Lent.

Lent in a Bag is one way an Ontario church created tangible Lenten experiences for kids.

Check out this blog post from Jellytelly that contains various discussions and activities that focus on Lent and Easter.

Spiritually Vibrant Households

The Barna Group’s latest research found that spiritually vibrant households are ones that are also welcoming households. The research is showing that “faith formation is connected to and increases with a spirit of hospitality.”

So how do we teach kids to be welcoming? Growing Faith has a short blog post that describes simple ways for parents to model hospitality with their kids. If you want to check out a presentation on Barna’s research on spiritually vibrant households, you can watch their free webcast until March 31.

Simple Steps for Creating A Welcoming Ministry

An important part of our ministry is to create an environment where families feel welcome, safe and comfortable. There are many ways to implement hospitality into your ministry.

Jana McGruder of Lifeway Kids has written a short article that outlines four simple ways to make your ministry more hospitable. Check it out here.

VBS Curriculum Review

Sifting through Vacation Bible School curriculum options and deciphering their marketing messages to choose something that's theologically sound, easy to use, and fun for all can be a daunting task. Thankfully, the fine folks at Building Faith, a ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary have done the legwork and launched their annual list of VBS reviews: VBS Reviews You Can Trust.

If you have any questions or need help in choosing a specific curriculum for your summer ministries, contact FFM’s Children’s Ministry Catalyzer, Mimi Larson, at childrensministry@crcna.org.

Help me Choose the Right Curriculum!

How do you know what curriculum to choose? There are so many options! Is one better than another?  Is there a perfect curriculum that I am missing? 

Check out our Ten-Question Tool for Choosing Curriculum, which can support you in your curriculum decision-making process. It features ten topics to consider when making your selection; each with a question or two you will want to answer before determining your choice. Karen Deboer, Faith Formation Ministries’ Creative Resource Developer, recommends that you will want to place the most weight on the answers for the first two topics of the list—theology and scope and sequence—because while you can adjust any curriculum to meet your other needs, the theology and structure of a curriculum are both foundational. If you have questions or challenges about choosing curriculum, contact FFM’s Children’s Ministry Catalyzer, Mimi Larson, at childrensministry@crcna.org.

Let’s Be Friends

The CRC Children’s Ministry Leaders Facebook page is a place for you to meet others involved in CRC children’s ministry. It’s a place to network, ask questions, share resources, and encourage one another as we seek to build strong ministries that nurture children in the faith. Join us!

Faith Formation Resources Corner

“The family provides a significant and irreplaceable role in faith formation with children and adolescents” (John Roberto in Faith Formation with a New Generation).

Do the parents in your congregation feel equipped to encourage children’s faith formation? Check out Faith Formation Ministries’ Family Faith Formation Toolkit, which will help you develop a vision for family faith formation in your congregation and equip parents and caregivers with family faith practices and resources!

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