Christian formation is the lifelong process of growing in our relationship with God, self, others, and all creation. Every experience in our lives can provide us with the opportunity to express our faith; the challenge we face is recognizing these opportunities and learning ways to live a sometimes countercultural life in a secular world.
The Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation – outlines the Episcopal Church’s commitment to ongoing learning for all Christians.
LeaderResources – RI churches can download curricula for free on the LeaderResources website that is published by LeaderResources (excludes books or other publisher’s materials). Contact Mary Ann Mello for instructions on how to access these materials.
In Dialogue with Scripture – a series of articles about Bible study and 17 Bible study methods you can use with or without preparation. Use with the scripture lessons of the day for adult, youth or intergenerational groups. (free download)
Guidance for how to choose a curricula for your church can be found on Building Faith. Some of the more commonly used curricula are listed below.
- Lesson Plans that Work – free, downloadable lesson plans on the Gospel reading for each Sunday for young children (intended for non-readers), older children (grade school age children) and adults. Also lesson plans on the Old Testament readings for younger and older children.
- Short courses and Vacation Bible School (free download; contact Mary Ann Mello)
- Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori.
- Episcopal Children’s Curriculum extends over nine years for children from ages 3 to 11. Lessons are organized around the seasons of the Church year and draw from The Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, the hymnal, church liturgy and tradition. ECC lesson plans include tips for adapting sessions to small and large class sizes and offer a variety of fun activities that help children grasp important concepts. (free download)
- Godly Play is a formative program that invites children to walk around inside the faith, its stories, traditions and favorite characters and find themselves and their own stories nestled and active there. The child is invited to respond directly to what he or she has experienced in the ‘story.’
- The Journey to Adulthood (J2A) is a complete youth ministry program of spiritual formation for 6th – 12th grades. It uses Bible study, prayer, rites of passage, outreach ministries and both serious and playful activities to underscore its core messages: 1) Manhood and womanhood are free gifts from God. 2) Adulthood must be earned.
- Living the Good News – Lectionary-based curriculum designed to help children be at home in the church and with its basic teachings. I Will With God’s Help, a confirmation curriculum, is part of this series and builds on the baptismal covenant, beginning with the creed and devoting the next five sessions to the 5 questions.
- Workshop Cycles – Children (grades K-5) work on a single Bible story or concept for several weeks using a different approach each week (storytelling, drama, cooking, crafts/arts, computer use), each facilitated by a different person according to his/her skills and interest.
- Seasons of the Spirit – A curriculum which includes ritual, music, visual art, meditation and tangible exploration of the living word. The vision of this program is to provide God’s people with lectionary-based, ecumenical resources that empower all ages to be transformed in Christ as they: explore meaning and mystery in the Bible; celebrate in worship, sacraments, education, and service; engage in ministries of love, justice, and witness; and live in inclusive communities of faith, shaped and led by the Holy Spirit.
- Holy Moly – Lessons follow a four-part sequence: Discover, Relate, Connect, and Create. Each week, kids watch an animated Bible story video, talk about the story, read their Bible Storybook or Bible, and complete a creative activity. Resources are available for kindergarten through grade 4, by unit or as digital lessons and online subscription. (Evangelical Lutheran Church)
- Conversations with Scripture – a series of books on each book of the Bible
- Journey to Adulthood – a six-year program of spiritual formation for youth; free to RI churches (contact Mary Ann Mello for instructions)
- Living the Good News – lectionary based curricula for nursery through adult
- Faith Lens (from the Evangelical Lutheran Church) – Weekly Bible studies that engage youth and young adults in connecting world events with the Bible, faith, and everyday life. (free, online)
- Re-form (from the Evangelical Lutheran Church) – focuses on core beliefs, tradition and ancestors
- Seasons of the Spirit – lectionary-based, ecumenical; see description under Children above
- These are our Bodies – session plans with activities for Young Adults (ages 18–30) to explore issues of sexuality in the context of our faith
- Young adult resources – free to RI churches; (contact Mary Ann Mello for instructions)