It’s Fall Break in the school systems of North Georgia. While others are headed out of town or enjoying a staycation, it’s the week I set aside to get organized for the fall and advent season. Everything was calendared months ago, published on July 1st. Now it’s time to put some details on the Advent google docs to be shared with the lead teams for each event and campaign when they return.

Parenting With A Purpose – with a focus on Apologetics (giving God our minds to defend our faith in Jesus) we will share a Blueprint for Discipleship at Home for the fall and a teaching of what God teaches us about work in a world that only wants to play for the spring.

Grandparenting With A Purpose – with a focus on engaging in sacred conversations we’ll have a table chat in both the fall and spring with other grandparents who have navigated the hardest conversations with their grands.

New Faith Milestones
I Can Tell the Story (one for Advent, one for Lent) which will be Messy Church events using images to tell the birth story of Jesus and the resurrection story of Jesus. For Advent: soup & bread, activity themes from Matt Rawle’s new advent study, The Heart That Grew Three Sizes: Finding Faith in the Story of the Grinch. It’s a post-pandemic look at the Grinch taking the redemption story to a whole new level. The adult videos, only around 10 minutes in length are so rich I was able to write the Children’s Moments, the event stations, and a lot of the Christmas Eve service from Rev. Rawle’s materials speaking of phrases kids get like hate, words and people redeemed by Jesus, truth vs lying, and the power of music and memory.

I Can Worship With My Family – interactive, intergenerational worship service for kids with adults in the room. We bring our teaching services from the summer parking lot to Big Mac (the sanctuary). It’s a teaching service at 11am in Big Mac for worship, prayer, giving, singing, Apostle’s Creed, doxology and more when the whole family learns together why we do what we do and what makes Big Mac, Big Mac. Opening a registration link for kids and families who want to take a lead lets us communicate expectations to families and not just kids. Clarity and communication builds trust. All of the other Faith Milestones we teach separately will be now be lived out in community with our church family, not only the Children’s spaces.

Part of that organization is also getting some shopping done so the resources are on hand and we’re not scrambling hoping to find what we need.  The complete details are not on the google doc yet, but today I placed orders for….
Advent Blocks (purchased in summer at deep discount/added another church to order for even more discounts)
Red squishy hearts imprinted with “Jesus loves me”
Red, green, white, lime chenille sticks
What the Bible Is All About Handbook for Kids
Discipling Your Grandchildren: Great Ideas to Help Them Know, Love and Serve God
Prayer buddies in pompoms
God Is Three Persons
Family Advent Pop-up Calendar

Let’s not forget to be clear of the goals and the why of each experience. Every experience must be a developmentally appropriate faith formation experience. Ministry leaders are not event planners, but disciple-makers who take every opportunity and effectively use what’s in our hands to give testimony to God’s goodness and His faithfulness to His people. Determine when, where, how, who, and the discipleship follow-up for sharing the good news of Jesus and His plan of redemption and restoration in truth as the priority not the add-on or side-note. Write it down so not to be distracted by a negative comment or an expectation expressed after-the-fact. Measurable goals offer clarity, purpose, and let you set priorities to filter the could-haves and should-haves. The experience is part of your over-all strategy for faith formation, not a one-and-done.

Partnering with families means they can trust that we will be prepared to be a blessing as their calendar begins to turn into fall. Partnering well with our leadership team means they will not be overwhelmed and will have on hand the tools to be successful.

How do you get organized for the next season?

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15