One in mission | Linda Valentine
A ‘Feast’ for the faithful
Online curriculum fosters spiritual growth in the age of the Internet.
Today’s youth and young adults have never known a world without the Internet. Those of us in older generations, while technologically proficient, still occasionally trot off to the post office to mail a letter or to the library to check out a book. For us, it’s a brave new world!
Digital resources and social media are changing the fabric of our lives, our relationships, and our churches. They are changing the way we read and study the Bible and are transforming the traditional Sunday school classroom, where both current and future church leaders are equipped and nurtured.
One such resource—the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Feasting on the Word curriculum—is already making an impact in hundreds of churches, helping them to cultivate transformational leadership qualities for effective ministry in the 21st century.
“There are so many things to love about this curriculum,” says Barbi Smith, director of Christian education and spiritual formation at New Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Charles, Missouri. “I love that it’s online and it’s so flexible. It also educates the teachers, who are learning along with the kids, just like that saying, ‘When you teach, you learn twice.’ It’s helping to ground them in Reformed theology.”
Downloaded and uplifted
Introduced in fall 2011, Feasting is an online lectionary-based curriculum founded on the award-winning commentary series Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary.
“I love the way it’s published,” says Barbi. “I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it because I’ve always had paper curriculum and I just didn’t know how it would work. But now I just love it.”
The downloadable resource is a collaboration between the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation and Congregational Ministries Publishing (CMP), a program area of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
“I am really proud that the curriculum continues to be a part of this growing family of Feasting on the Word resources,” says Clare Lewis, publisher of CMP. “Because all ages explore the same Scripture each week, it makes it easy for families to learn and live out their faith together. With intentional connections of worship and faith formation, leaders and learners are finding their Christian faith enhanced when the Scriptures read and proclaimed in worship are explored during their educational time. We are continually hearing from congregations that Feasting is helping God’s Word come alive.”
Another thing that Barbi says she especially loves about the Feasting curriculum is that it helps the children and the teachers learn about the ebb and flow of the church year.
“That was really evident last year during the children’s time in worship on the first Sunday of Advent,” Barbi says. “When the pastor asked, ‘Does anyone know what today is?’ expecting the kids to say no, six hands went up. A first grader answered, ‘The first Sunday in Advent.’”
As a result of using the Feasting curriculum, Barbi says, both children and teachers “are learning the language of the church.”
That’s good news, because speaking and communicating the language of the church—regardless of the platform—is an essential skill for Presbyterian leaders of today, tomorrow, and forever
Resources from Feasting on the Word
Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary—a 12-volume lectionary commentary series
Feasting on the Word curriculum—downloadable lectionary-based educational materials for all ages
Feasting on the Word Worship Companion—a 6-volume series (2 volumes for each lectionary year) based on the Revised Common Lectionary, providing all liturgical pieces needed in preparing for worship each week. A CD-ROM included with each book enables pastors and other worship leaders to cut and paste relevant readings, prayers, or questions into worship bulletins. The first volume, year C, volume 1, has just been published.
Feasting on the Gospels—essays on Gospel passages from exegetical, theological, homiletical, and pastoral perspectives. The first volumes will be published in fall 2013.
For more information: feastingcurriculum.com