Are You Good at Waiting? – Resources for Advent

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We begin the season of Advent on November 30th this year. The first Sunday of Advent is also the first Sunday of a new church year. It marks the end of the old church year and the beginning of the new. The last day of Advent is always December 24th. The word advent comes from a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival.” In Advent we are waiting for the coming of the birth of Christ. In our own lives, Advent can be a special time of learning to wait, slowing down, and preparing for the birth of Christ.

Prayers for Lighting the Advent Wreath at Church or Home


Many churches place an Advent Wreath at the front of the sanctuary during the season of Advent. There are different customs and practices, depending on the community.

Advent Wreath Making Survival Guide (BTDT)

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Many churches offer Advent Wreath making as an intergenerational activity. There are so many positive aspects of this activity. On the other hand, careful planning is needed. Today we hear from Kathryn Carroll, who has been coordinating this event for years, along with her Advent “gurus” at Christ Church United Methodist in New York City. It’s […]

The Living Advent Wreath – an activity for children

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Advent is a time of quiet introspection. But children,especially in Sunday school, get restless.

St Mark’s, San Antonio, TX found a solution to incorporating activity and Advent into formation time, with a Living Advent Wreath.

Coffee to Go – A church connects with the community, one cup at a time

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A church decides to hand out free coffee in the community. The result “Coffee to Go,” and it is a blessing all around.

Room at My Table, A New Book by Evelyn Bence

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Room at my Table may seem, at at first glance, like light reading. Indeed, the lively prose and entertaining anecdotes make for quick page turning. But after digesting a few reflections, one finds a volume that is expertly written, and carefully crafted through and through. On a personal note, I was thoroughly impressed with the writing and the spiritual exposition displayed in this inspiring book.

Christmas Pageant Ideas, Tips, and Scripts

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Does your church offer a Christmas pageant? Whether you worship in a large or small community; lots of kids or just a few – there is an option out there for you. Not all Christmas pageants need to be full-scale productions. In fact, there are many ways to dramatize the Nativity story with a handful of costumes/props and willing set of actors.

Curriculum Charts for Youth and Adults


Here at Building Faith, we have many fans of Sharon Ely Pearson’s famous curriculum charts. These easy to follow guides list dozens of curricula for Christian education. You will find many denominations and publishers represented. The charts list basic information such as cost, format, and teacher support.

This past spring, we posted the updated children’s curriculum chart.  Now we are pleased to announce that the youth and adult charts are ready!

Watching & Waking: A New (old) Approach for the Seasons of Advent, Christmas & Epiphany


Part reflection, part intentional activity, Sybil MacBeth’s new book, The Season of the Nativity, offers readers the opportunity to experience the church seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany as a whole.

Prayers for Halloween

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he Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and that means finding prayers for all situations. No matter how you celebrate “All Hallows Eve,” here are two prayers to use at church or home.

Why Kids Need Halloween – A Christian Perspective

Halloween Yurt Teens

And yet, Halloween continues to play heavily in the minds and imaginations of our children. This year, our third grade Sunday school class asked if they could wear their costumes to church. I denied the request, given that the holiday doesn’t fall on a Sunday. Then, my 7th grade confirmation class asked if they could design and host a haunted house. Again, I denied them, given that a mere month would not be enough time to prepare. The thing is, I can’t deny their fascination. I think, in many ways, Halloween is a holiday that kids need to have.

Where to Buy Christian Christmas Cards

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Ok, first of all, we hear you: “A Christmas post in October?!” But if you read on you will see that this is about ordering cards early so that your Advent is less stressful.

Next, the title of this post: “Christian Christmas?” It sounds off. That said, we all understand the dynamics of Christmas secular/religious/everything in between. So without delving into the whole “reason for the season” discussion, let me get right to the point: Christmas cards.

Fundraising is NOT a Dirty Word – 11 Practical Ideas for Churches


The word ‘stewardship’ means different things to different people, and our exclusive use of it confuses people. A recent survey at the church where I work showed this! Sure, the word fundraising has a negative connotation in this culture, but that is what we’re doing – raising funds to support the mission of the church. If Henri Nouwen can use the word fundraising, we can too!

This Sunday School Welcomes all Ages – and makes ‘em sit together!

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At the Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids Michigan we started Intergenerational Sunday School (IGSS) in the Fall of 2013. On the first Sunday of the month from September through May, during our education hour, IGSS replaces our normal Sunday school classes.

Instead of watching adults go off to their classes and sending each grade of kids off to their separate classrooms, all generations (even our nursery kids!) are invited to meet together in the fellowship space. We set up round tables that seat eight people. But how could I guarantee that each table would have an intergenerational representation? My solution: silk flowers and quart jars.

Preparing for Thanksgiving


Lessons in Gratitude and Giving Thanks are always appropriate in our church classrooms. The four weeks in November that lead up to Thanksgiving, that lynch pin before Advent, give plenty of time to incorporate teaching gratitude in your weekly schedule.     Incorporate Gratitude We can include teaching gratitude and thankfulness in small ways throughout our classrooms. The […]

Love and Serve – A Youth Group Learns Compassion in Visiting Aging Adults

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My favorite youth program design of all time comes from First Presbyterian Church in Kilgore, Texas. It pairs middle school youth with adults; and together they make monthly visits to various senior adults in the church.

The youth are given conversation starters and a devotional to offer during the visits. Skills are developed, faith is shared, multiple relationships are built.

While I am no longer at this church, the program is still “up and running.” The visitation week is the best part, and by far the favorite part for the youth and adults alike. Why was it their favorite part . . . because they know what they were doing makes a difference!

A Church Reinvents Adult Education with a Bible and a Blog

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I wanted to share something my parish is doing that is breathing a lot of life into our adult formation. It is easy to do, and the congregation is loving it. Also, in terms of planning, I am not having to create new and topics every week. It is based in Bible reading, but has some advantages over the Bible in a Year challenge.

Faith Formation Explained in 66 Words

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These principles, based on research and experience across Christian denominations, have stoop up for two decades, and they are still standing up. (And popping into minds wherever faith formation is discussed.)

So here they are. Print them, memorize them, tape them to your desk, send them to your congregation’s staff and volunteers… you get the idea. This is faith formation in 66 words.

How to Feed a Youth Group (When they’re tired of pizza)

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There are plenty reasons why pizza is an ideal food for youth groups. It arrives ready-to-eat; most people like it (vegetarians included); and it can be very cost effective, depending on the deal you have with your local pizza place.

But pizza can wear a little thin (get it?).

We asked Blake Woods* and Randall Curtis*, both experts with years of youth and young adult ministry experience: what are the other options for feeding a group?

How to Get Church Volunteers – Stop Recruiting Them

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And as the title of this post suggests, the most important point is that we don’t recruit volunteers. On the contrary, we call volunteers. This may seem like semantics, but the language underlines a crucial distinction. To recruit is to fill spots. We have a gap; we need a warm body to put in there. In this way of thinking, filling the spot is more important than the person who fills it.