Innovation can be creating a new product. Or, innovation can be using a common thing in a new way. Two years ago, our church took a simple craft stick, prayer jar out of the Sunday school class and in to our fall potluck. By using the familiar in a different way, we began a sometimes slow, but intentional and steady movement toward all-ages faith formation in our church. We have much farther to go, but is interesting to remember the first, easy craft that got us started.
Our annual fall potluck is fun: pumpkin crafts, candy guessing, and pie tasting! What it had not been, was connected to faith. Other than a prayer before the meal, the event was purely social. There’s nothing wrong with fellowship, especially not when there’s pie! But, I saw that we were missing a faith forming opportunity. I suggested the prayer jars to the potluck committee, who agreed to give it a try. Before the event, all the materials were placed on the tables with an Fall prayer jars. (Tip: no-mess glue dots work well in large groups). Families and individuals of all ages helped each other make the jars. Prayers were shared. The jars went home.
How do I know this was a successful activity? Because in January, long after the leaves had been gathered up, more than one person came to me and shared that the jar still sat on their table. Months later, they still used it as a reminder to pray. They laughed that the Christmas decorations had come down, but the fall-themed jar that had become part of their family ritual stayed out. This inspiring story became something I could build on, demonstrating that simple things we do can encourage discipleship at home. Each season, we continue to find more ways to nurture faith formation at home, at church and in digital space. At this year’s potluck, we’ll be making a collaborative art project for the sanctuary.
Our next step for the fall will be beginning monthly, inter generational events using materials from Vibrant Faith. If you haven’t seen their resources, check them out. (Please note that I am in not affiliated with them, nor do I receive any compensation for this recommendation.) I’ll let you know how the next step goes!