As adults in the faith, most of us have a solid understanding of how worship looks throughout the year. We grow accustomed—maybe even desensitized—to the changes around us. Sometimes the altar has a green parament but other times purple, for example. While children may be more observant of these patterns than we expect, it’s important that we intentionally teach them about the seasons of the Church Year in Sunday School.
As believers in Jesus Christ, there are certain things that we always know to be true. Jesus came to earth as a baby, born to a virgin. He performed miracles and led twelve disciples. He was crucified to atone for our sin, and rose again, that we may have eternal life. While we might not ever lose sight of this “big picture,” we benefit from slowing the story down, contemplating and learning about each chapter in its due season. Observing the seasons of the Church Year allows us to do just that. But, how does that translate to the Sunday School classroom?
Church Year Connections
One available tool is Church Year Connections, which has three editions (Year A, Year B, and Year C) following the three-year lectionary outlined in Lutheran Service Book. The Leader Guide features
- Object lessons
- An Order of Opening Worship
- Collects of the Day
- Hymn and song suggestions
In addition, the included CD provides teaching points and applicable music resources: recordings, melody-line scores, and PowerPoint presentations.
Church Year Connections is a helpful tool for understanding not only seasons of the Church Year but also each week. Follow the Church Year through special events like the Transfiguration, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday with Collects (prayers) and object lessons for each week of Sunday School.
Observing the Church Year is not just spiritually beneficial—it also helps you with lesson planning by providing a built-in framework for your weekly lessons. When you’re not sure where to begin, start by taking a look at the Church Year. Tools like Church Year Connections take even more work off of your hands by prescribing specific lessons and prayers for each week.
As you begin filling in this liturgical framework for your curriculum, consider your lesson plans for the upcoming Christmas season. Though Advent falls in the end of the calendar year, it marks the beginning of the Church Year. Start the Church Year strong with new Christmas lessons from Enduring Faith Bible Curriculum, which will provide everything your class needs for the busy Advent and Christmas seasons.
Enduring Faith Bible Curriculum: Christmas Lessons
The new Enduring Faith Bible Curriculum: Christmas Lessons is a great Sunday School option, featuring four lessons leading up to Jesus’ birth:
- Lesson 1: Mary’s Christmas Story: God Promises a Savior (Luke 1:26–56; 2:1–20)
- Lesson 2: Baby Jesus Is Born: The Nativity of Our Lord (Luke 2:1–20)
- Lesson 3: The Songs of Christmas: Rejoicing in God, Our Savior! (Luke 1:46–56; 2:1–40)
- Lesson 4: Once Upon a Clear, Dark Night: The Visit of the Wise Men (Matthew 2:1–12)
In addition to the components pictured above, the kits include the following:
- A video for each lesson
- A skit for each lesson
- Four four-page lessons for middle school or high school youth
- Four Arch® Books
Stay tuned for the new release of Easter lessons in 2024!
Growing in Worship Weekly Worship Folders
Another tool to bolster Church Year education in your parish is Growing in Worship Weekly Worship Folders.
Colorful and interactive, these four–page weekly worship folders use realistic artwork and coordinate with the lectionary to highlight the weekly theme and message of the day. Features of the worship folder include the following:
- Child-friendly prayer of the day
- Activities that encourage children to look at the liturgical elements around them, such as banners or symbols
- Gospel reading activities
- Worship vocabulary
- Fun facts
- Family faith talk
- Church Year calendar dated with festivals and seasonal colors
We pray that the Holy Spirit works through your Church Year instruction, in whatever form it takes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), and yet, there is always more to learn about Him! Invite your students, from preschoolers to high school youth, to journey through the Church Year together.