I love to listen to our customers. I do a fair amount of that through traveling and engaging with CE directors, pastors, seminary professors and others all across the Church. We also do a great deal of formal market research, gathering data about what is working & what isn’t, trends in faith formation, worship, and higher education in religion and theology courses. And, as you might imagine, I receive a fair number of emails, Facebook, and Twitter messages that help inform our work. But, one of my favorite ways to engage with congregational customers is to listen in on calls being made by my colleagues who serve as our Comgregational esource Representatives. While I don’t have the opportunity for this type of listening as often as I would like, Recently, I spent 30 to 60 minutes listening in on calls with each of our dozen representatives. I learned a lot, as I always do!
One of those calls was between my colleague, Elizabeth Schoenknecht and Donna Haberland, CE Director at First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, WI. After listening to what Donna shared about their children’s Sunday School program, Elizabeth recommended that they test our new faith formation resource for tweens (approximately grades 5 & 6) with our free samples. Donna agreed that this would be a great way to see if it would be a good fit for their context.
After trying Connect, Donna sent this note back to Elizabeth:
“We just finished test the Connect lesson with the 5/6th graders on Sunday; we opted to divide the lesson into two weeks, which worked very well. The responses from the teachers at both sites were varied, to say the least. The teachers and students at our Downtown Site (which is the more traditional site) really enjoyed the curriculum and would like to do it in the fall. I actually had a 5thgrade boy tell me he hopes we do the Connect curriculum in the fall because he thought it was “Awesome”!!
- They liked the fact that it was big on Bible use, and learning how the New Testament and Old Testament connect
- The kids thought the video clip was pretty funny and of course loved playing the warm up game making field goals with paper footballs and cereal!
- Teacher thought the video gave them a great starting point for more discussion.
- Another thing the kids really enjoyed was the closing ritual of putting a blue plus sign on their hands.
- Both teachers and kids were thankful they didn’t have to do leaflets/teachers thought the material was very age-appropriate.”
It is so gratifying to my colleagues and I to hear that faith formation resources we create are helpful…especially with tweens!
Thanks for sharing the feedback from the teachers & students at First English Lutheran Church, Donna!
For those of you reading this blog post, if you (or someone in your congregation) would like to learn more about Connect! or any of our terrific sparkhouse-produced faith formation resources, our Congregational Resource Representatives would be very pleased to assist you in learning more, obtaining samples to test in your context, etc.
Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress