Augsburg Fortress
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Gutenberg to Google: Vocation in our homes, Volume 5

October 31st, 2006 by Beth A. Lewis

In the previous “Gutenberg to Google” article, I discussed how Martin Luther used teaching aids, including illustrations, in his tracts, articles, and New Testament, all translated into German, the language of the people he served. I noted that we continue this heritage today through the use of “user friendly” pedagogical aids that are age-appropriate; from games for preschool-aged children to “person on the street” videos for adults on

When Martin Luther talked about vocation, he didn't simply refer to the call to be pastor or some other official within the hierarchy of the Church. He included vocation in one's congregation, at one's profession, in one's home with family, and in the community. As this article is first posted on Reformation Day 2006, it seems appropriate for us to explore vocation with our families in our homes.

Following in Martin Luther's tradition of urging each of us to think about how we live out our calling as disciples to serve one another in our homes through our roles as parents, siblings, grandparents, children, etc. Augsburg Fortress has worked recently on a number of resources to assist us in our vocations at home.

One of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther was in his preface to The Small Catechism, written after he visited many homes and churches throughout the Saxon region of Germany:”Mercy! Good God! What manifold misery I beheld! The common people, especially in the villages, have no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine, and alas! many pastors are totally incapable and incompetent to teach.” Keeping in the Lutheran tradition of trying to assist with faith formation in both church and home, one of my favorite small new resources is the direct result of collaboration between the ELCA Resource Center directors and Augsburg Fortress editorial and marketing staff. It is our recently published, Luther's Small Catechism / El Catecismo Menor de Luther, a bilingual version of the Small Catechism with English and Spanish on facing pages. Not only is this resource perfect for evangelism by North American congregations wanting to be welcoming to people whose first language is Spanish, but it will be very useful in homes where one generation is more comfortable speaking and reading Spanish and another is more comfortable speaking and reading in English!

Another collection of resources that has proven extremely helpful for those living the vocation of parent or grandparent is found in Splash! This started out as a “cradle roll” resource of newsletters for congregations to send to the homes of families with children, from birth to 3 years old. But, it has proven to be so popular that we have added a number of other resources for home-based faith formation including Splash! Wonderfully Made! A Keepsake Book of Faith Moments. This goes beyond the standard “baby book” with information about birth weight and length, the date of the baby's first steps, etc. to inviting the parents to keep memories of important faith moments during the child's first three years of life.

A challenge that I often hear pastors talk about is how to link Sunday morning (or Saturday evening) worship to the home. One way is to use our new Kids Celebrate Worship. These are designed to introduce young children to the ELCA and ELCIC's new worship resource, Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Through the use of fun-filled activities, kid-friendly art, and engaging information about the church seasons, sacraments, and participating in Sunday worship these small, age-appropriate booklets are perfect take-home activity resources.

An advantage that we in the 21st century have over Martin Luther's time is to be able to use the Internet as a way to make the church and home connection almost seamless. Our Here We Stand Confirmation resource has been adopted by almost 3000 congregations since it's launch in July 2005. This past summer, we added the Here We Stand Confirmation student site for confirmation-age students to enjoy (and learn from at the same time!) at home, in the library, or wherever they have access to the Internet.

And, an even more direct link from church to home-based faith formation is Akaloo! This is quite a success story! Launched in August, it already has over 500 congregations using it for intergenerational faith formation. With print workbooks supporting eight age-specific Web sites for 3-year-olds to adults, this resource makes the vocation of disciple in the home easier and more dynamic than anytime in the past 500 years!

Martin Luther's work reformed Christianity 500 years ago. We continue that reforming tradition today as we find ways to use new technologies to proclaim the gospel!

What is the next set of resources that we will develop to help people in today's busy world live their faith through their vocation as family members? We have a few ideas, of course! But, what would really help us prioritize our work is to hear from you! Please post your ideas on this blog. Let us know what we should be thinking about next as we strive to partner with congregations in the ELCA, the ELCIC, and our many ecumenical partners throughout the world to provide helpful, high quality faith formation and worship resources.

We want to hear from you!

Please e-mail Beth Lewis directly at or join the discussion at under the “Gutenberg to Google” section.

Blessings to you,

Beth A. Lewis
President & CEO
Augsburg Fortress

Copyright © 2006 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved

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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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