Augsburg Fortress
One Mission Blog - reflections on the ministry of publishing

Community building with Spark at Mt. Carmel LC

May 23rd, 2009 by Beth A. Lewis

I love to receive notes from people who are excited about using the resources we create at Augsburg Fortress. It energizes me (and as you might imagine, the many AF colleagues who work for months and months on these resources) to hear an enthusiastic customer taking one of our products and using it in dynamic ways to energize their communities of faith. Yesterday, this one came into my email in-box from Pastor Melanie Heuiser-Hill at Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. She has given me permission to share it with you because I thought that others who plan to use Spark Sunday School and the Spark Bibles might be able to borrow some of her good ideas!

Here’s what Pastor Melanie said:

“I thought I would tell you a little about my preliminary plans with the Spark Bible at Mt. Carmel. As you know, we have a small Sunday School. I just got our church foundation to buy Spark Bibles for ALL of our kids next fall — they (the foundation) is very excited to do this. Anyway, we’re going to have a Bible Sunday on September 14th when the kids will receive their Bibles in worship (from their PARENTS, not the Foundation). I’m hoping to get them hooked up with someone who will pray for them (and every other kid under 25) at the same time. We’ll sing various hokey Bible Songs and begin learning the books of the OT and NT together as a sort of prelude or children’s sermon intro. Then, after worship we’re going to play intergenerational Bible Bingo. Then, there will be a treasure hunt for the little ones and their parents and a GPS geo-caching activity for the older ones. We’re a neighborhood church so I can send them to untold numbers of member’s homes within just a few blocks. At each individual’s house there will be a reading/telling of a certain story (the host’s favorite?) and/or some kind of activity. I’m thinking of a progressive lunch idea made of biblical foods that go with the story or something. Details are still vague! Anyway, hoping to involve ALL ages and have a really fun day and celebration.

Just thought you might be interested given who you are and what you’re doing! Something like it could very easily be adapted at other
congregations — I think ours will be especially cool just because we can hike around to different houses…. Our older folks will love it!”

I love the intergenerational and age appropriate engagement that Pastor Melanie has planned. And, I am impressed by the way this small congregation is thinking creatively about funding for the purchase of the Spark Bibles through their Foundation rather than traditional budgeting. We see a lot of this same type of creative funding of purchases of Evangelical Lutheran Worship and Lutheran Study Bible for congregations, too.

Thanks for sharing these great ideas, Melanie! I might have to check my calendar to see if I’m in Minneapolis on September 14 so that I can visit Mt. Calvary and see this in action!

I welcome blog posts of these types of creative ideas and success stories about ways that congregations are using any of our resources! Or, send me an email, if you’d prefer. These real life stories really help us as we strive to develop more engaging resources to for your ministries!


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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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