Build up the body of Christ. Support the Pentecost Offering.

Today in the Mission Yearbook

Office of Christian Formation webinars offer resources and camaraderie for church educators


A recent webinar included an exploration of at-home resources

August 1, 2023

Photo by Alexander Dummer via Unsplash

The Office of Christian Formation’s recent webinar designed to explore some at-home resources that families can use this summer also included time for Christian educators to share their challenges and triumphs as churches and worshiping communities emerge from the pandemic.

Stephanie Fritz, mission coordinator in the Office of Christian Formation, shared some of the results from a quick parents’ survey completed late last year by Research Services, part of the PC(USA)’s Administrative Services Group. Two-thirds of respondents said they connected to a church that provided resources around faith formation at home.

Asked what they did to share their faith with the children in their life, 42% of respondents said they pray, 40% serve together and 33% said they discuss questions about God. Seven percent said they complete devotions together around church seasons, and 4% had a write-in answer, such as attending a church event together. Respondents could select more than one option.

The top resources survey respondents said they wish they could have included opportunities to serve in mission, connections and support groups with other parents, and resources to support important milestones. Prayers and blessings were a close fourth, Fritz said.

One participant in the online gathering said devotions are “something everyone wants, but few people use them. It’s almost like a security blanket. They want to be that family that does devotions, but they don’t because the rat race ensues.”

Fritz asked the educators: What’s working for you?

One participant said during the pandemic, “I put way more effort” into providing families with at-home resources. The “occasional parent” thanked her “for putting effort into this.”

“Now things are ‘back to normal’ and in-person, and I can’t say I’m putting a lot of effort into take-home resources now,” this educator said.

Another said her small congregation has “broadened home resources to make them intergenerational.” From time to time, the pastor selects a “secret word” that’ll be mentioned during the sermon. A page for illustrating the secret word — “resurrection,” “glory,” “spirit” and “healing” among them — has been included in the bulletin. The church also uses social media pages to remind families of the Scripture passages used during worship on the previous Sunday. “The youth are learning their voice matters,” this educator said. “We are trying to make those connections.”

Another is realizing that some parents aren’t confident enough in their own faith to discuss questions and doubts with the children in their lives. “We practice with parents to give them tools they need to learn alongside their kids,” this educator said. The tools include discussion-starters designed to, for example, help families talk about their favorite part of the worship service or what worship element they found to be the most meaningful during the most recent service.

Finding faith together can leave a meaningful legacy for family members. Fritz noted that a child’s soccer team “may consume all your free time, and then your child moves on, and you lose that connection. A connection not based on your child’s performance can be really important. Who are they going to turn to when they truly need it the most?”

The Office of Christian Formation compiled these faith at home tools, including faith practices, devotions, podcasts, books, Matthew 25, and ecumenical resources. Most are free but a few must be purchased.

A page with all the resources compiled by the Office of Christian Formation is here. Sign up for the Office of Christian Formation’s newsletter here.

A look ahead

Faith Formation Leader Connection webinars continue twice each month throughout the coming months. Upcoming webinars, which are held at 1 p.m. Eastern Time for the first event each month and 8 p.m. Eastern Time for the second event, include:

August 10 and 22 — Youth Resources
Sept. 14 and 26 — Advent Resources
Oct. 12 and 24 — Training Leaders
Nov. 9 and 28 — Matthew 25 Resources

Register to attend monthly resource webinars here. Watch previous webinars on intergenerational resources, resources for elder and deacon training, adult resources, and children’s resources hereherehere and here.

Mike Ferguson, Editor, Presbyterian News Service

Today’s Focus: Office of Christian Formation summer webinars

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Randy Hobson, Manager, Design & Multimedia, Office of the General Assembly
Destini Hodges, Coordinator of the Young Adult Volunteer Program, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

Our Father, as we bond together to feed those in need, we come to ask you for guidance and greater understanding of how we can continue to serve our needy brothers and sisters in more helpful ways. Help us to have the courage and faith to continue serving with open arms and helping hands. Make us instruments of your love for the community in which we serve. Hear us as we make our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.