Building Faith’s Top Picks for Children’s Ministry Curriculum - Comprised by Sharon Ely Pearson with her wisdom and experience you can trust her insights. Looking for the “best” curriculum for your children’s ministry? There are many options from a variety of publishers and denominations. The right choice depends entirely on your context and goals.
Early Childhood Curriculum:
Lutheran Curriculums from Sparkhouse including: Spark: Activiate Faith, Whirl, Holy Moly, and Connect.
Celebrate Wonder engages children’s natural sense of curiosity to help them understand God’s love. It creates a safe environment for kids to ask big questions — helping them explore the Bible in ways that feed their imagination and encourages creativity.
Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible Curriculum
It focuses on one of the first ways we begin to understand God’s self-revelation -- hearing, engaging, and wrestling with the written Word. It features 35 units. While this curriculum is meant to be a multiage curriculum for K-5, each unit includes suggestions on how the curriculum can be used intergenerationally.
Shine from the Mennonites - Welcome children and youth to a place where they are known and loved, where their questions are taken seriously, and where they can gather to hear God’s story and together find meaning for their lives. Shine guides children and youth to stretch and grow toward God’s light, and then shine that light to others.
Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints - Curriculum: 12-LESSONS (PDF Format)
This digital companion curriculum to the book, is designed to introduce children to the concepts of holy troublemaking as modeled by the people profiled in Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints, from diverse faiths, who worked for love, compassion, and justice.
Dwell Flex includes 36 sessions for use in a variety of situations and across multiple age groups. These single-page Dwell lesson plans require no other materials and work within a wide range of ages and contexts. Each Flex session includes four steps—Breathe, Tell and Wonder, Pray, and Respond—providing a simple framework for anyone to lead with little advanced preparation.
Godly Play - "assumes that children have some experience of the mystery of the presence of God in their lives, but that they lack the language, the permission and the understanding to express and enjoy that spiritual experience..." It provides a way of storytelling that invites questions of wonder about God and is appropriate for all ages. Read a Christian Century article by it's creator Jerome Berryman here.
OutoftheBox uses story and play for personal and community wellbeing. OutoftheBox stories are in use in a range of settings, including schools, care homes, workplaces, community groups, families, therapeutic settings, chaplaincy, spiritual accompaniment and faith communities.
Spirit & Truth Publishing:
The Beatitudes: An Illustrated Curriculum is an intergenerational twelve-session verse by verse study of the Beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew. It is incredibly flexible, adaptable, and formative for your entire Sunday school program.
Preschool LOGOS was created by GenOn Ministries for 3 and 4 year old children and can be used in a variety of settings: education time, VBS, Christian preschools, and daycare. The objectives for children are to:
Feasting on the Word written by mainline Protestants follows the lectionary. Great theology and good resources for all ages.
Frolic, is a family of early childhood resources that integrates faith development and child development both at church and in the home! Frolic resources help keep your church connected to active families with young children.
*Invite parents and their little ones to Frolic Faith Development classes based on the Frolic First Bible and books.
*Transform your nursery into an intentional ministry site with the Frolic Nursery Guide and other Frolic nursery resources.
*Connect with families each month by automatically sending them personalized e-newsletters packed with articles on child development, tips on early faith formation, and fun seasonal activities and ideas.
A Place for You Starter Pack -written by Daniel Erlander. This pack contains A Place for You Interactive Edition, A Place for You Leader Sourcebook, A Place for You, Little One board book, and A Place for You Animated Videos. Gives you the components you need to introduce or reintroduce your congregation to Daniel Erlander's beloved classic, A Place for You: My Holy Communion Book. Watch a video about the products here.
From Robin, comes the Inclusion + Belonging Toolkit! Available for elementary, middle and high school, these toolkits are jam-packed with interactive video lessons, student worksheets, a safe space agreement and printable posters for the classroom. Students will practice and build communication, empathy and perspective-taking.
Clergy Stuff - Provides Narrative lectionary based curriculum, liturgy helps, original music, children's bulletins and pays attends to special needs children. Dr. Kimberly "Kace" Leetch, the owner, graduated with an MDiv from Luther Seminary and serves as an associate pastor.
Faith 5 - Care to have some fun, keep your family communicating every night, and grow in your understanding of yourself and God? Try this simple five-step process for the next six weeks and see if it doesn’t help!
BimBam - is a new media studio making Jewish videos, apps and animated series that are joyful, empowering introductions to Jewish ideas and life for kids & adults.
Ooey Gooey, Inc. -is dedicated to the creation of child-centered, hands-on, play-based environments for young children and provides workshops, training, technical support and curriculum resources . Lisa Murphy, M.Ed., early childhood specialist, author, founder & CEO, is available for both domestic and international conferences and seminars.
Process verses Product Art example... hugely important and hugely different!
Augsburg-Fortress - The publishing house of the ELCA featuring a variety of resources for education as well as supplies for ministry. Consider their communion materials Fed and Forgiven. And Confirmation material.
Sparkhouse - ELCA Publishing house for kids, creates faith formation resources for children, youth, and adults-- striving to spark new life in Christian communities. Curriculum for classrooms, lectionary, theme-based, rotation models and also transferable as VBS lessons.
Church Publishing Inc. - the official publisher for the Episcopal church offers a wide variety of books and curriculum for children and youth ministries.
Cokesbury - is the retail division of The United Methodist Publishing House. Our mission is to reach more people in more places with quality services and resources that help them come to know and deepen their knowledge of God through Jesus Christ, learn to love God, and choose to serve God and neighbor.
Faith Alive - ( Reformed Church in America.) publishes materials for Sunday school and other children’s ministries, youth ministry, adults and small groups and disability ministry.
Forward Movement - Episcopal resources for children through adults.
The Thread - The Thread is a hub for the extended learning community of Princeton Theological Seminary. Developed by the Office of Continuing Education, the array of digital media and resources educate, equip, and inspire theologically curious Christian leaders.
Vibrant Faith @Home - hundreds of activities for families with children, families with adolescents, young adults, adults and couples, and activities just for kids.
Spirit and Truth Publishing - produces faith formation resources for all ages integrating education and worship, with products related to the liturgy, church year, and the Narrative Lectionary. The publisher received his MA from Luther Seminary and graduated from the Institute of Children's Literature.
Faith Lens - Free from the ELCA and written for teenagers is a weekly (during the school year) look at the lessons that uses current events and relevant questions.
Connecting Faith and Justice: Youth Lectionary A Curriculum (UMC) -This curriculum is for all youth (Junior High and Senior High) students. The lessons are flexible and can be adapted to fit the needs of your students while encouraging them to search deeper within themselves, their relationship with God and their role within their community and the world. Each lesson is designed to last an hour and includes a centering moment, scripture study, group activity and a closing moment.
The Confirmation Project - The Christian Youth: Learning and Living the Faith Project (CY: LLF) seeks to learn the extent to which confirmation and equivalent practices (CEP) in five Protestant denominations in North America are effective for strengthening discipleship in youth.
Chosen Together Confirmation Curriculum from Spirit and Truth Publishing
The Chosen Together confirmation curriculum helps confirmation students thrive by setting up vital conversations at home, connecting confirmands with one another, and explore their sense of belonging in the wider congregation. It offers a combination of online and in-person class options.
Ways congregations can be more inclusive, as written by 11-14 year old Lower Susquehanna Synod ELCA Confirmation campers:
- Have more traditionally marginalized people guest preach and speak and use their books or have them come do workshops.
- Change artwork, stained glass windows, and photos to be representative of different cultures and types of families.
- Have a mentorship program to support younger marginalized people who may not have supportive families.
- Have services at different times and provide shuttles, bulletins in multiple languages, and childcare so more people can participate.
- The Bible stories we use are mostly about men, especially in the New Testament, so spend more time preaching and teaching about stories with women in them.
- Use gender neutral pronouns for God and use they/them pronouns for all people until they say what pronouns they want you to use.
- Ask people what they need.
Click on the graphic above from Pastor Steve Thomason...for a link and more information.
The Book of Faith (variety of Bible resources can be adapted for junior high and high school) For example: "Heaven on Earth: Studies in Matthew"
Select Learning - from the ELCA come DVD and online instrtuction courses.
Amplify - videos from the Methodist church on a range of topics.