Monday, April 24, 2017

SPRING DISCOUNT: The Art of Teaching Confirmation

A great resource for a pastor, DCE, or volunteer confirmation educator!

The Art of Teaching ConfirmationThe Art of Teaching Confirmation
20% OFF Spring Discount Code: TC8NC7H6

This book shares the secrets of secondary education with confirmation educators. Maya Angelou said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." In light of what we have learned through research about how children learn, and educational policy and practice it is time now to do better by taking that information and applying it to confirmation. By changing just a few things about how they teach, confirmation educators can bring about a more significant understanding of the Bible and their faith for adolescents and with the help of the Spirit, a more meaningful personal relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The purpose of this book is to provide insight as to how to help adolescents interact with the information in a more meaningful way at their developmental level.


Ordered it. Read it. Marked it up. Loved it. It's an easy read and full of great, easy to apply tips and tricks for anyone to put into practice. I think you should take all the same logic but expand it to more than just confirmation. Those who teach Bible Studies, or lead Small groups would benefit as well - obviously some of the statistics and research would be different - but especially the quotes from Brain Rules says - this applies to any brain....I'm planning to have this book next to me as a handbook for all my confirmation lesson planning!
– Nathan Erb, Vicar and Minister of Youth & Family Ministries, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Garden City, NY

I learned a lot from reading this book-- everything from the science of the adolescent brain to practical tools and templates. I've been teaching Confirmation for 23 years as a pastor and I found myself nodding in agreement on many things I have stumbled into through experience (could have used her book 20 years ago!) and starring many ideas to use. I particularly liked her classroom management tips, her lesson plan strategies, and her analyzing of the questions we pose in class. In chapter one, she tackles the question: "Parents or pastors?" and I was surprised and challenged by her conclusion. This book offers sound educational theory, a good reminder, a powerful encouragement, and a collection of tools. It is good for the beginner and the seasoned professional.
– Jim Bender, Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Topeka, KS
20% OFF Spring Discount Code: TC8NC7H6

Thursday, April 20, 2017

EDUCATION: God's Promises at Baptism DISCOUNT

Introductory 10% Discount

I Am Jesus' Little Lamb: God's Promises at Baptism

When we are baptized God promises us great things! What are they? This book highlights the gifts of baptism and what they mean for those baptized. Add personal information and give a gift of baptismal remembrance. It's a great educational gift that keeps on giving! 

It's also a great book to read for a Children's Message if a child is baptized in the worship service.

Use this website to use the discount code below.
10% Discount Code:  MMC82824

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Find it on Amazon.
My third grandson is being baptized this weekend! In my own family (as it probably is in many) some children are baptized in the Lutheran faith, some are baptized and their parents take them to a non-denominational or reformed Christian church, some have been baptized but aren't taken to church or Sunday School for follow-up education, and some are not baptized at all. More often than not, both inside and outside of the church, people think the role of a godparent is to raise a child upon death of the parents or to be a special life mentor and friend. They miss the true responsibility. Many Lutherans, even those who have been confirmed, cannot tell you what Lutherans believe about baptism or what gifts it brings.

As many people know, I have concern about how the Lutheran church educates its members from cradle to grave. One of the ways I combat my concern is to use my teaching degrees to create resources for the church. I Am Jesus' Little Lamb: God's Promises at Baptism is one of them. It's a book about baptism that can be read to children on their baptismal birthday or any day. It shares information for parents and sponsors about the truth of baptism to clear up some of the beliefs floating around today. It would be a great gift for sponsors, for children being baptized, and for churches to give parents who have their children baptized in their church. 

This will be the first of a series I call Faith Milestones. 
First Milestone: Baptism. Check. 
Second Milestone: First Communion. Stay tuned. 

You can see a few random pages from the book below. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

EDUCATION: Need Something to Challenge Them?

If you need a problem for your youth or adults to struggle with on some random Sunday morning, try this one. I got it from a comment on a blog post (not mine). The blog was about forcing your children to go to church or letting them decide on their own. Here's the challenge:  What do you know about faith and the Bible that can help you respond to this? It might work best if people are broken into groups and share their responses at the end. You might find a lot of good, yet different, responses. Ready? Go!
If I saw a growing minority of people who never ate [went to church], at all, and never suffered any ill effects from it–they never got hungry, never got weak, never missed food in the way we’d expect–I might give up daily eating. It would save a lot of money, after all, if food wasn’t really a need, but only something we’d been taught to THINK we needed. 
If I saw children routinely being hit by cars and not being hurt–and I’m not talking about miraculous near-death brushes, I’m talking about if a child could be hit full-on by a speeding vehicle with no harm, like the child was Superman–then I probably would let my daughter play in the road. 
If science and statistics proved that children learned just as much by NOT going to school as they do by going to school, I wouldn’t make my kids go to school. 
And what of church? Well, the more I learn about the world, the less I see Jesus actually doing anything real. I see there are good people and bad people in Christianity just like there are good people and bad people in other religions, so Christianity isn’t needed to be a good person. I see unhappy Christians and happy non-Christians, so I know Christianity isn’t required for happiness. I see dozens and dozens of examples where the Bible got things wrong, where it looks like God doesn’t even exist–so I have less confidence about the Bible’s predictions of heaven and hell. So no, forcing your kids to go to church isn’t the same as educating them, protecting them from harm, or caring for their most basic bodily needs. It’s just brainwashing, to force them to behave how you want them to behave.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

CONFIRMATION: A New Idea for Old Problems

I would like to propose a new confirmation program and I want to be the one to write the curriculum because those who usually create these things in the LCMS (not sure about other Lutheran denominations) do not do a great job of creating dynamic and meaningful curricula. I'm tired of not stepping on toes, so I'm just putting it out there. I also believe that we do not do an excellent job in educating people of all ages, but that's another issue.

Right now I'm focusing on the problem of confirmation. I won't dig into the issues at this time, but here are a few in a nutshell:

  • Many parents aren't fulfilling their responsibility of training in the home.
  • Parents aren't trained or prepared to teach confirmation.
  • Pastors are not trained how to teach (middle school students or parents)

I propose the following programatic change to address these issues:

  • Parents take a pre-confirmation class going over Luther's Small Catechism and how to teach the faith at home.
  • Daily discussion questions based on the questions in the catechism are sent home every week. 
  • Pastor (who has been trained to teach students that age) teaches 2 year JUNIOR confirmation class as a kick-start to the program. 
  • Pastor and parents meet 4 times a year to discuss how things are going at home, refresh the importance of discussion, life habits, etc.
  • Both parents and students have journals/notebooks to briefly reflect on the topic each week, jot down questions, reflect on highs/lows, etc.
If I really had my way there would be a SENIOR CONFIRMATION the senior year of high school. Each year in high school students should have to complete a benchmark project that makes them think about their faith more deeply, after which they will create a final presentation. Each presentation should answer the questions: What do I believe? Why do I believe it? At the beginning of each year they will study a particular part of the Bible for Sunday Bible study (or if there is a Weds. program) to coincide with a task to be completed such as organizing a church event, a year of specific service inside and outside of the congregation (teach Sunday School all year, visit a nursing home all year, etc.), research the faith journeys of a number of older people in the church to help them see how God works in a life, learn about Lutheran worship and develop a worship service, and prepare a final presentation in an agreed upon format such as an electronic scrapbook, video, slide show, etc. Remember that the point of the final project is to answer the questions: What do I believe? Why do I believe it? Each presentation should include real life examples and scripture. Who would not have a firm foundation after something like this?

Who's willing to try this with me? We'll create the curriculum as we go!!

If you're interested in more thoughts on this, see my previous post: Time for  Paradigm Shift

Monday, March 13, 2017

CONFIRMATION: How Parents Can Help

Parents are the greatest influence in a child's life. They don't need to teach confirmation to be a huge part of the process. (Get a pdf version.) 

How Parents Can Help With Confirmation
  • Pray for your child(ren). Pray for their hearts and their minds to be open to what they hear and learn throughout the process. Pray that God grow their faith and keep them close.
  • Pray with your child(ren). It will have a huge impact on their prayer life and reinforces with them that personal prayer is important. 
  • Attend worship regularly with them. Talk to them about the sermon before they write their response. (You might want to take a few notes on occasion yourself.)
  • Talk to them about your faith and about how having faith affects how you live.
  • Be diligent and supportive in holding them accountable for their memory work. Be sure they repeat it regularly throughout the week so that it truly becomes a part of their memory. (Perhaps make it a family activity that is gone over at dinner every night or every time they get into the car?)
  • Keep track of what they’re learning and ask questions about it. Discussion of the concepts is a huge part of confirming and internalizing what they’ll be learning. 
  • Participate in family discussion questions and be available to answer any questions they might have about your faith. Feel free to contact me if you’re not sure about anything they ask.
  • Participate in adult Bible study. This single activity shows children that you personally find value in learning about God and His Word.
  • Aside from the Holy Spirit, PARENTS are a child’s single greatest influence with regard to faith and whether or not it takes root in their lives.