Posted in Advent, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Advent Devotions 2015

I completed this year’s Advent Devotions today… attached are the Social Media Devotion and Family Devotion for Lectionary Year C. I hope these resources are useful to you and your family this Advent season.

Blessings & Peace as you grow and anticipate Christ’s coming!

Family Devotional – Year C 2015

Social Media Devotions – Year C

Posted in Devotions, Faith Formation, Lent, Spirituality, Youth Ministry

Lenten Devotions GALORE!!!!

Winding PathI completed this year’s Lenten Devotions today… attached are the Social Media Devotion, the Family Devotion, and a BONUS! My mother wrote a Stations of the Cross Devotion which I am sharing as well. I hope these resources help you in your Lenten Journey.

Blessings & Peace as you grow and experience God in new ways!

Lent Social Media Devo’s Year B

Year B Family Devotional – Lent

Stations of the Cross

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Family Advent Devotion

A few years ago, when I was working full-time as a Youth & Family Minister, I began looking for Advent Resources to share with the families of my congregation.  I found a lot of resources that were okay, but not exactly what I was looAdventking for. I decided to give devotion writing a try and shared what I created with others. So it turns out, apparently I’m decent at it and people enjoy the devotions, because I’ve been asked to keep creating them.

The devotions are based on the weekly readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. There is a devotion for each Sunday and a devotion for each week which can be used once or repeated each day.  Repetition often offers the opportunity for deeper reflection and understanding. We also live very busy lives and for some once a week is the best that can be done.

Feel free to use the devotion this Advent Season with your family and let me know how it goes!!!!

Family Devotional – Year B

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Family Devotion – Advent Week #1

Opening Prayer:
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection save us from the threatening dangers of our sins, and enlighten our walk in the way of your salvation. We light one candle and pray for peace and patience as we anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ, born to set us free.  Shine your light upon us with the promise of everlasting life.  In Christ’s name we pray, amen.

Candle Lighting:
Speak these words while lighting the first candle:
O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation, Savior of all peoples, come and dwell among usAmen.

Highs & Lows:
Share the best and worst parts of your day.

Gospel Reading:
Read Matthew 24: 36-44 OR “Noah’s Ark” in the Spark Story Bible (or a similar story in your favorite story Bible) Families with smaller children – you may want to reference the Matthew 24 passage in regards to not knowing when Christ will return.

Create a Bible Verse Advent Chain. (See Appendix A for instructions and templates.) Tear off one link each day and read the Bible verse for the day.

Heavenly Father, you provide good and gracious gifts to us as signs of your redeeming love and of your imminent coming. Help us to share these gifts with others and to receive them with a grateful heart.  In Jesus name we pray, amen.

Child of God, the time is drawing near, spread peace throughout the world, be patient and wait. 

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Family Devotion – First Sunday in Advent

Opening Prayer:
Gracious God, as our nights grow longer and our days grow short, we look on these earthly signs – light and green branches—and remember God’s promise to our world: Christ, our Light and our Hope, will come bringing peace and spreading love.  We know not when he will come; give us strength to wait and hope, knowing that the time is near.  Keep us alert and vigilant.  In Jesus name we pray, amen.

Listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah:
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instructions and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift ups sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Families with small children – Instead of the words above, read “God will Bring Peace” (Pg. 164) in the Spark Story Bible OR in your favorite story Bible.

Candle Lighting:
Speak these words while lighting the first candle:
O God, rejoicing, we remember the promise of your Son.  As the light from this candle, may the blessing of Christ come upon us, brightening our way and guiding us by his truth.  May Christ our Savior bring life into the darkness of our world, and to us, as we wait for his coming.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Highs & Lows:
Share the best and worst parts of your day.

Gospel Reading:
Read Matthew 24: 36-44 OR “Noah’s Ark” in the Spark Story Bible (or a similar story in your favorite story Bible) Families with smaller children – you may want to reference the Matthew 24 passage in regards to not knowing when Christ will return.


  • Who knows when Christ will return? Do Angels? Do People? Does Jesus?
  • The Gospel talks about Noah and his family listening and following God’s instructions. Is it sometimes hard to focus and listen to God? Why?
  • How can we prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming?

Heavenly Father, we cling to the promise of Christ’s return with joy and anticipation. We know not when that day will be. Guide us as we listen to your call, empower us to share your love with others, and nurture us as we prepare the way for his return.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Child of God, the time is drawing near, spread peace throughout the world, be patient and wait. 

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Family Advent Devotion Introduction

The following is an introduction to the weekly Family Advent Devotions that I created and will be posting throughout the Advent Season. I hope they are a blessing to you and your family! Feedback is always appreciated!!! 🙂



The four weeks before Christmas mark the season of Advent, from a Latin word for “coming” or “arrival.”  We are preparing to celebrate the arrival of God himself, who became man in the form of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The church has observed a season of preparation before Christmas since the time of Bishop Perpetuus of Tours in 490 C.E.

The themes of Advent include hope, darkness/light, repentance, watchfulness, preparation, expectation of Christ’s birth at Christmas, & the anticipation of his coming again.

The colors of the season is blue or in some instances, purple.  Blue suggests hope.  Purple is an older tradition that represents royalty and the coming of a king.


The month of December is a busy time.  These four weeks are filled with church services, concerts, parties, cleaning, decorating, etc.  It can be exhausting and frustrating, but it’s exciting too!

I encourage you all to spend time as a family, in Advent, reflecting and preparing.  This devotional resource is intended to give you tools to have family devotions around an Advent Wreath. If you don’t have an Advent wreath, 5 pillar candles (one for each week and one for Christmas) will work as well.

Although there is a devotion for each day, don’t worry if you are unable to come together as a family every single day of Advent.  Even once a week is a wonderful recognition of the season and will help prepare your family.  The Sunday devotions are slightly longer so this would be a good option for weekly rather than nightly devotions. The weekly devotion is the same each night. As we steep in the Word, through repetition we often hear new things and the stories are written differently and more deeply on our hearts.

Devotions are one way to reinforce Advent at home.  Some additional ways to incorporate Advent into your home life are:

*        Caring Conversations: While decorating your house and tree, discuss that decorating is part of our preparation and anticipation of Christ’s coming.

*        Service:  Find time to serve others and discuss Christ’s service to us. (Ring bells for Salvation Army; volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen; donate old toys to Goodwill or a Domestic Violence Shelter.)

*        Rituals & Traditions: We all have rituals and traditions surrounding the season. (Baking goodies; decorating; Christmas Caroling; etc…)  Keep doing what you have always done!  Discuss WHY you do it… where it came from… who started it.


The origins of the Advent wreath are found in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who, during the cold December darkness of Eastern Europe, gathered wreaths of evergreen and lighted fires as signs of hope in a coming spring and renewed light.

Christians kept these popular traditions alive, and by the 16th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light. From Germany, the use of the Advent wreath spread to other parts of the Christian world.

Traditionally, the wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens. Three candles are violet or blue and the fourth is rose or purple, but four white candles or four violet candles can also be used. Each day at home, the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal– one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th.

Posted in Technology, Youth Ministry

Instagram & Youth Ministry


Instagram Photo Scavenger Hunt

Last spring I sat in my office on a Sunday afternoon with no idea as to what I was going to do for youth group a few hours later. It had been a busy week and I hadn’t found the time to plan or prep anything. Instead of concentrating really hard and coming up with something brilliant, inspiring, and faith forming, I decided to procrastinate and opened up the latest edition of either Group Magazine or Youth Workers Journal.  (I honestly don’t remember which one it was… I subscribe to both). Inside was an article written by a Youth Minister who had done an “Instagram Night”.  Their night involved youth logging into their accounts, then spinning a wheel which had different options of what would happen.  One option was for the youth leader to randomly delete some of their Instagram friends. Another was for the youth leader to turn a picture that could be construed as inappropriate into a “teachable moment” by showing it to the group and discussing.  This whole thing honestly kind of horrified me and struck me as incredibly invasive.  The general idea behind it was great. The execution, maybe needed a little work.

In my previous vocation I worked for a public school district in the Curriculum and Development Department, so understanding the importance of integrating technology into ANY educational environment is pretty ingrained in me.  Facebook, Twitter, and Texting are the best platforms for getting information to my youth and their parents. I figured if those could be used as ministry platforms, why not Instagram???  Just in a non-invasive, non-judgmental, non-threatening way.  Considering I had nothing else planned for that evening, it seemed like a great idea to pursue. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I’ve done photo scavenger hunts previously where the youth used their cell phones to take pictures around the church. In those instances we all had to hover around whoever’s phone had taken the picture to see the image. Fun, but not super effective.  I applied this concept and created an Instagram Photo Challenge.

Youth were split into teams and instructed to create a “Team Hashtag” to be attached to each image along with the hashtags: #instagramnight & #reformation365 (our youth group name).  Each team was given the Instagram Photo Challenge Sheet and sent off to get down with their creative-technology-rearing-bad-selves. The results were imaginative, creative, and some just downright hilarious! (Especially the image where I was recruited to represent Goliath… if you’ve ever met me in person, you know that I’m 5’2” and super petite… oh the irony!)

I used this again just this past weekend during our annual 30 Hour Famine. It was a great activity for the youth in the late afternoon of day #2 when everyone was hungry, tired, and dwelling on how much longer until we get to eat.

Instagram Photo Challenge:

    • An ad for Christianity
    • The beauty of creation
    • An image of generosity
    • An image of joy
    • A person in the church who has influenced your faith journey
    • An image of John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
    • An image of a random act of kindness
    • An image of peace
    • A scripture from the Bible (someplace OTHER than a Bible!)
    • An image of togetherness with your entire group squeezed into a small space
    • The Garden of Eden
    • Depict a Bible Story
    • An image of some problem in the world today
    • Your entire group upside down
    • An image of Jesus
    • An image of diversity
    • An image of Matthew 25:40 – “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, my brothers & sisters, you did for me.”
    • A Christian symbol – NOT A CROSS
    • Washing each other’s feet
    • Singing “Jesus Loves Me” – (Now that Video can be posted to Instagram & Vine… that’s another option for this item)
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