Summer Recap and Resources for the New School Year

Happy August, friends!

My summer has been a full one and writing time has been hard to come by. So, I am happy to have a few new things to share and some old favorites as well. Disclosure: some links below are affiliate links in which you may purchase products I use and love. The money I earn through affiliate marketing helps with the cost of maintaining this website. 

What we are up to at my church:

Prepping for back to school: I know some areas are already in the swing of things, but here we have 2 more weeks until our Back to School Blessing. We’ll be giving out stickers designed by my daughter with Micah 6:8 on them. Last year we used Psalm 23. Both stickers are good anytime of year.

Getting our lessons organized for the year with this lesson planning calendar and teacher training focused on building community, nurturing curiosity, offering choice, and connecting with God (take a look at these handouts I created).

Looking ahead at Advent kits and hiring a new Minister of Youth, Young Adults, and Mission (are you called to youth ministry and looking for a vibrant ministry with room to nurture your gifts and skills? Apply though Ministry Architects)

What I’ve been up to this summer:

I began a DMin program in Educational Leadership at Virginia Theological. The three week residency was a time to meet wonderful colleagues and to immerse myself in the Psalms, arts in worship, and to imagine my contextual study. My curiosity around how to teach faith formation is the fuel getting me through some intense coursework. Also, it was like camp for adults! Five stars.

I also just returned from a gathering with John Roberto and the Lifelong Faith group who I worked with a bit last year. I got to meet my dear friends and deacon colleagues Kathy and Tanya in person! I look forward to seeing what new opportunities arise from this gathering. Check out the amazing resources on both Lifelong Faith and Launch!.

New on my reading list:

Godly Play in Middle and Late Childhood arrived from Church Publishing the other day and I am looking forward to diving in to see how to enhance the Godly Play experience for older kids.

How to Try: Design Thinking and Church Innovation, written by a DMin colleague. Right now I feel the tension between betting back to normal and exploring new, effective faith formation models and strategies needed for this next generation. Design thinking is the strategy I employ to explore ways of nurturing lifelong faith.

For fun I read The Wild Trees which is a true story of adventure, redwoods, lichen and the occasional romance. I also read Search: a novel about a church’s process of calling a new pastor which was both hard to put down and hit close to home.

I’ll end with a bit of Sunday’s prayer:

Because you meet us at the edges of our questions and our faith, delivering us from the false promises that trap us, we trust that you will meet the world, O God.

Meet all at the margins and inspire us to create communities of wholeness.

Meet all who face the uncertain edges where violence looms, make the weapons drop; transform them into tools of peace.

Meet our leaders at the verge of tough decisions, illuminate the ways of justice and truth, that they might serve your people.

God of promises that outnumber the grains of sand, turn our wants and complaints into service and thanksgiving. Help us to remember to tell our children of the great things you have done that this generation and the next might seek you, and turn to you at every crossing.

Through your spirit, make our voices to praise you and our hearts to dance. For, who is like you O God, majestic and holy, awesome in splendor, creator of wonders? (Exodus 15:11)

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