Make Room: A Big Picture View of Lent

When my children were very young I always looked forward to the changing seasons. Inside and outside the church, the turning of the circle brought new colors and sights and smells—plenty of opportunity to explore and create.

My little library of activity books kept us busy. But when it came to Lent I was never satisfied. The kids and I ironed grated crayon on to waxed paper to make stained glass crosses; we made purple paper chains, and hot crossed buns; we even blended and burned our own incense. But something was missing. Continue reading

Illustrated Children’s Ministry

In my ten years of ministry, serving four different churches, one element of worship that has always been hit-or-miss was the children’s moment.

More often than not, a well-meaning pastor or lay leader would invite the kids up for a few cute jokes, or maybe a creative object lesson that would just go over the kids’ heads. This always annoyed me.

In my last call, as I was exploring and reclaiming my identity as an artist, I began creating illustrations of the lectionary passage for the day, and used those as visual aids to simply tell children the biblical story for the day. I then gave the children a copy of the illustration to take home. Continue reading

Pentecost Resources

It seems like we just celebrated the glorious news of Easter, but Pentecost, the fiftieth day, is rapidly approaching. This is the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church.

This seems to be a holy day where many churches craft their own intergenerational traditions, rituals, and ways of celebrating. Some congregations dress in red and take a church picture. Others release balloons symbolizing the spreading of the Gospel. Some fly kites, make pin wheels, or wave streamers/flags in worship to live out the Holy Spirit’s symbolization of wind in Acts 2, John 3, and in the very Hebrew and Greek words for spirit.

Many denominations provide resources or take up special offerings on this day.  Here are some links to the denominational resources I found. What resources and ways of celebrating this festive day, have you found helpful? Continue reading

Holy Week for Leaders

Amidst the palms and pageants, extra services and rituals, it may be difficult to remember why this week is holy and to hear the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection in a new way as ministry leaders.

So instead of educational activities geared to telling the story to others, which we may have been planning for weeks, today’s post is a collection of resources from around the web that will help us to hear the story anew. The only planning you’ll need to do here is to find 10 minutes or so during this week to read or view some of the following devotional pieces from many different traditions. Continue reading

Holy Week for Children

Many people around the web seem to be searching for resources to help explain the core stories of our faith, celebrated during Holy Week, to young children. In their inquiries I hear a fear and reluctance to talk to children about death and resurrection. Sometimes we hide this fear in metaphor by talking about dogwood blossoms or butterflies, but metaphors are confusing for most children. We will not scare children by talking about death. It surrounds them in the natural world. They play it dramatically in their games. Many see it within their families and community. The fear is more on the part of adults trapped in the cultural taboo of not discussing death, than it is in the minds and hearts of children. Continue reading