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Lessons and Carols – The Church Service that “Went Viral”

STA/NCS Lessons and Carols

The Festival of Lessons and Carols, like the best holiday traditions, is always the same, yet always new.  Plan yours with care; enjoy it with delight!       Why Lessons and Carols works Every December, choir directors the world over have the care and delight of preparing a Festival of Lessons and Carols.  Some might […]

Why We Need Christmas Pageants

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I think our pageant captures some of the complication of the trip to Bethlehem. The Holy Family were compelled by law to travel, despite Mary’s pregnancy. They found a place to sleep that was most likely even more uncomfortable than a fold-out-sofa in a cramped guest room. It was inconvenient, uncomfortable, and travel was probably the last thing they felt like doing. As adults, I know we can relate.

7 Ways to Welcome Church Visitors on Christmas Eve

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For most of our churches Christmas Eve services are among the best attended and the most important of the year. And when something is important it takes time to get ready. An analogy is a Christmas party or dinner in your home. You spend a lot of time preparing, right? And I’m sure that one area of preparation for you is hospitality.

Why Christians are Excited about Brene Brown

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Brene Brown has utilized her research to demonstrate that authenticity isn’t just something you have or do not have. Authenticity is a choice, albeit a choice with consequences. Furthermore, she highlights the “daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” Being authentically yourself all by yourself is alright; however the true value of authenticity comes from being wholeheartedly yourself in relationship.

This Seven Dollar Item Helps you Welcome Church Guests on Christmas

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Helpful signs answer these questions, thereby reducing anxiety, and allowing us to focus on the positive reasons of why we came to this location in the first place. In the case of church: God! Granted, signs can never replace the human touch, but humans cannot be in every place at every moment. Signs, on the other hand, are quite good at that!

In Defense of the Christmas Cookie – Recipes included

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Baking cookies offers an important component to bake sales, caroling, and gifts: cooperation, concentration…and sugar! Making cookies from scratch is not much more complicated than ripping open a box or slicing cookies from a tube. However, it is infinitely more satisfying, and teaches young people important kitchen skills.

Dear Parents: Thank You for Bringing your Children to Church

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As people engaged in communicating the love of God to children, we know the value of age appropriate learning led by loving teachers using pedagogically sound resources. And we also understand the importance of including children in intergenerational worship.

Too often I’ve witnessed parents, weary and worried about disrupting the service, apologize to the people around because their children were wiggly or loud. They shouldn’t have to feel that way. Parents, grandparents and other caregivers may wonder at times if it is worth all the effort. This letter is for them:

Talking with Children about Hard Topics

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Writing this post in the first week of Advent, we have in our minds the text from the Gospel of Mark, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘In those days, after that suffering…'”

In the same week, many parents and church formation leaders are asking how and when to talk with children about the events in Ferguson, Missouri.

On the one hand, there is no “one-size fits all” recipe for such difficult and complicated discussions. On the other hand, the following resources offer wisdom regarding children, the news, and caring conversations. We may not be experts, but sometimes we cannot let that prevent us for opening up to the children in our care.

12 Children’s Christmas Books to Tell the Birth of Jesus

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We’ve chosen twelve books that use text and image to capture the imagination of the very young and those who read to them! Some of these books use Scripture, some tell the story from the point of view of animals at the manger, some combine science and imagination to fill in what the Gospels don’t say. Grab a […]

Advent Arrives – Light in Unexpected Places

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Advent arrives and brings light to unexpected places.

Table Graces and Prayers for Thanksgiving

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For families at home or church, this post offers prayers and table graces perfect for Thanksgiving, or other occasions of table fellowship.

Advent Inspiration from SSJE – #adventword

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“5am is about the time we get up to pray,” said SSJE’s Brother Jim Woodrum. “Of course you can look at your email after 5am, but we want to make sure it’s there when you wake up.” Advent from SSJE If you are looking for an Advent resource to recommend (and to use yourself), check […]

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

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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

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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!