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

What does AF have to support Narrative Lectionary?

May 25th, 2012 by Beth A. Lewis

Over the past few months, we have been hearing this question from pastors, CE directors and church musicians. 

I met with Rolf Jacobson, one of the creators of the Narrative Lectionary (NL),  read everything I could find on the NL, and attended the recent NL workshop hosted by Luther Seminary in order to learn more about this initiative. 

According to Rolf, there are currently about 300 congregations across North America who are experimenting with NL.  Most of the work, to date, has been in the arena of preaching.  But, church musicians are trying to figure out how to easily select appropriate music to support NL and faith formation leaders are looking for curricula for children, youth and adults to bridge more easily between worship and faith formation gatherings. 

As innovative publishers, we always encourage individuals and groups who are willing to experiment, take risks, and try something new in order to energize the Church!  On the other hand, as a publishing ministry that receives no funding except by selling resources so that we have the revenue stream to invest in the next generation of innovative resources, we have to make prudent stewardship decisions and creating entirely new resources for what currently appears to be 300 congregations simply doesn’t work. 

But, that doesn’t mean that we walk away!  I have personally invested quite a bit of time and energy to learn about and connect with the community of church leaders who are exploring NL.  And, I’d love to connect even more!  If you want to share your experiences with NL and hopes for additional resources, I’d love to hear from you via email  at

And, that doesn’t mean that we have nothing to support congregations using NL!  As I posted recently in the Google Group for NL: “If you use the music resources on you can search by scripture reference. For example, the Narrative Lectionary for September 9 is Genesis 2. If you put that into S&’s music search section, you will have a long list of possible choices. We will launch an exciting new resource (this summer) called Prelude Music Planner, another robust web-based subscription resource for church musicians. The same search process will work there.”

In addition, we publish hundreds of Bible-specific faith formation resources for children, youth and adults!  One of the most popular is Spark Sunday School, a print and/or on-line curricula for children age 2 through grade 6 with the Spark Story Bible or Spark NRSV Kids Bible as the primary learner resources.  Pastor Kimberly Leetch recently put together a marvelous piece that shows which stories in Spark Sunday School tie to the dates and readings for NL. 

And, Pastor Chip Borgstadt, has put together a similar piece showing how to tie in resources from two of our youth and confirmation resources, HereWeStand and re:form

Kimberly and Chip have graciously shared their work with us and given us permission to share their work with you!  To receive a copy of either Kimberly’s Spark connections to NL or Chip’s HereWeStand and re:form connections to NL, please send me an email with your request including the name, city & state of your congregation and I will be happy to send them to you via return email.  Or, if you’d prefer, you may contact your Congregational Resource Representative  for Augsburg Fortress and sparkhouse and he or she will be happy to email this information to you.

Last, but not least, if you are looking for adult faith formation resources, we have dozens of studies that tie to particular books of the Bible.  In particular, I would suggest that you take a look at the Books of Faith series of resources.  Or, if members in your congregation would be helped by having a good study Bible at hand, invite them to consider Lutheran Study Bible, available in a number of print formats from us and as a mobile app for an array of mobile devices from Olive Tree.  You might find it of interest to note that one of the strongest proponents for us to publish Lutheran Study Bible was the very same Rolf Jacobson who has partnered in the creation of NL. 

These are exciting times in the church!  I keep hearing of innovative ways that congregations, seminaries, and our creative partners are proclaiming the Gospel and doing God’s work in the world!  The Narrative Lectionary looks like one of those ways to me.  I’d love to hear from you either via this blog or email to learn how it is working in your context.




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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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