June 2019

The Power of Story

Every summer, I pick out a good novel to read (preferably in the hammock). For me, summer and story go hand in hand. I love a good story. Whether it is a novel, a movie, or just someone sharing their life, a good story captures my heart with the thrill of adventure, a profound idea, or the hope for something better yet to come.  

Stories form us. Family stories can impact our identity in ways that we carry throughout our lives. They become transformational because a story engages not just our heads but our hearts as well. As I write on my blog Walking on Dry Land, the four simple words “Once upon a time” extend an invitation for the listener to enter in and to encounter a different world. A good story helps us encounter truth, hope, and a deeper understanding about ourselves and the world we live in. And if we are lucky to read a really good story, we can hear echoes of truth about God and ourselves.  

This summer’s newsletter is all about story. There are book recommendations, digital resources, as well as a toolkit that can help assist your church in becoming a faith storytelling congregation. If you have other storytelling resources to recommend, let me know!

Nurturing Faith Through Story

Looking for ways to connect children with God’s big story? Storybooks are a wonderful way to encourage a child’s faith.  

Here are some options for young children:   

Take a look at the Baby Believer Book Series by Catechesis Books, which are beautifully illustrated board books designed to introduce children to the core tenets of the faith. Don’t be afraid to introduce deep ideas to the littlest among us.

Utilizing text from The Jesus Storybook Bible, the board book Found helps Psalm 23 come alive for young children and it’s sequel Loved introduces the Lord’s Prayer to young children.  

Here are some options for older children:

The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross is a delightfully illustrated picture books that takes children on a journey from the Garden of Eden through the whole Bible and why Jesus died and rose again.  

God’s Very Good Idea won the 2017 TGC book award and introduces children to the idea of the Imago Dei — that God created each of us uniquely, differently, and in his image.  

The Friend Who Forgives is a beautifully illustrated picture book that talks about Peter’s failing and Jesus’ forgiveness. There is also a coloring and activity book available for older children.

Looking for ways to engage elementary-age kids in the Bible, church history, and theology and still keep it fun? Here are some books to help explore biblical understandings in age-appropriate ways.

The Radical Book for Kids encourages curiosity and exploration in the Bible, church history, and the Christian life. It is colorful, engaging, and full of facts and ideas!

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New is a beautifully illustrated book that encourages children to discover truths about God, themselves, and the world around them.  

Seek and Explore Devotions for Kids is a colorful, interactive journey through the Bible. It is full of hands-on activities including puzzles, word searches, crosswords and more that help you understand the Bible as the story of God’s people.

Developing a Child’s Faith Through Story

The Family Fire blog has several excellent posts about story and its impact on a child’s faith development. Check out this blog post by Calvin University’s Robert Keeley who shares how biblical stories help children develop a deeper relationship with God. In another blog post, Kim Sullivan shares how to use story as a discipleship tool to encourage a child to love and do good works.  

Also check out Storypath, a website sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary that includes book reviews that consider literary elements and style as well as theology and Scripture. Each book review comes with faith questions that can be used by parents or teachers to aid in discussion. The age for these stories ranges from preschool through age 12.

Everyday Family Faith

Looking for ways to strengthen family faith formation in your church? Check out this new resource from Faith Formation Ministries! Everyday Family Faith provides simple, do-able ideas to help families build natural faith habits at home. In each day’s section, you’ll find Scripture verses, faith talk questions, prayers, and activity ideas.

Join Us at Inspire

Have big questions about children's ministry? Are you curious about the Dwell curriculum? Are you interested in exploring how to build a strong foundation for children and youth ministry? Come to Inspire 2019 and check out these workshops that will address these questions and more!

Let’s Be Friends

The CRC Children’s Ministry Leaders Facebook group 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

Stories are powerful and they can help us understand God and our relationship with him. But even though we know the power of story, we often struggle to tell our own faith stories to one another. FFM’s Faith Storytelling Toolkit can help your congregation develop a storytelling culture in which sharing faith stories becomes a deep, rich, natural pathway to growing together in Christ.  

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