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Resources for your Church and Why They are Important

Updated on October 15, 2015
RESOURCE IDEAS ON THIS PAGE
Devotions
Bible Studies
Children's Curriculum

Studies, Devotions and Music for Congregations of all sizes

Whether you are looking for free devotions for your next meeting, lessons for your Sunday School, Children's Ministry or Adult Bible Study or songs and suggestions for worship, you'll find a little bit of everything here. As worship leader and small group coordinator for Sycamore Tree Church since 2003, as well as a pastor's wife for 9 years prior, singing and writing songs for a Christian band and leading children's ministry in my "pre-clergy spouse" life, I've had a lot of opportunities to create and discover resources that can be used by churches of every size, denomination and culture.This page is a page of links. A great deal of it is free! You'll find links to resources I've created as well as resources I use on a regular basis. If you find these links useful, I hope you'll consider forwarding them to your friends or using those buttons on the right to "like" it on Facebook or give it a "tweet." I truly appreciate you stopping by and hope you'll find all kinds of resources you can use to grow the Kingdom of God right where you are!

A Book of Devotions

Devotions for Church Leaders and Small Groups
Devotions for Church Leaders and Small Groups

Available in Paperback and for your Kindle, this book of more than 40 devotions is excellent for opening your meetings or small group. It's also very popular for individual devotions.

 

Why are Devotions important?

There are many reasons you'll find Christians using devotional readings as they attempt to grow closer to Christ.

  1. Personal Growth - Christians who are really interested in becoming all they can be in Christ will generally have some sort of special time set aside daily to study and pray. Some start the day with the Bible and prayer, while others save it for later in the day. A lot of folks use devotional readings to inspire or challenge them.
  2. To Open a Meeting - Many churches begin all of their meetings with devotions and prayer. These short readings can set the tone for the discussion and decisions that are made.
  3. For Small Groups - There are a lot of different kinds of small groups in churches. Many are for Bible Study, but for those that are more mission oriented or are to promote fellowship, an opening devotion can help remind the members that the purpose for meeting is Christ centered.

Whatever the reason for devotions, it's important to find readings that are centered on Christ and will help you stay focused on the reason for your faith.

Why Study the Bible?

For some reason very few people who call themselves Christians actually study the Bible. Most are content to listen to a preacher for one hour a week and believe that's enough. But there's a lot of danger in skipping out on Bible Study.

  1. First, by skipping Bible Study, you are assuming that the guy (or girl) in the pulpit never makes a mistake. And while the reputable ones will try really hard not to, and even admit when they do say something in error, it's really our responsibility as Christians to learn enough about the Bible to notice when the mistake is blatant.
  2. Second, it's nearly impossible to become everything Christ calls us to be without knowing and understanding the Bible. Life can be so much greater when we rise to become all that Christ created us to be. Christians who choose to ignore opportunities to study scripture miss out on that abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10.
  3. Finally, Bible Study is meant to be done in a group. While individual Bible reading and study is wonderful, there's a lot to be learned in a group that just will never be accomplished when one studies on their own. To gain insight from others, even beginners, can be a huge part of Bible Study and learning.

You and your group obviously can just open the Bible to study it. You don't need any commentaries or books, but they are often helpful. Many times the questions we find in those Bible Study books or the commentary offered will help us find new meaning and give us inspiration. So I encourage you to find a good Christ centered Bible Study and a group to explore the scripture with.

Different Types of Bible Studies

There are a lot of resources out there labeled "Bible Study." I personally wish we could come up with some different names for some of them because when I'm searching for a study, I generally have to be sure to look at several of the pages to determine if it's the kind I really like to use.

I personally like the kind that I've begun to call "Bible Discussion Guides." If you've looked at anything I've written, you may have already figured that out! Discussion Guides basically are filled with questions or statements to spur discussion. Any "knowledge" they impart is found in Leader's Notes, but they assume that they'll be used by a group or even an individual who will do a little research. You see, I believe everything we really need to know is right there in the scripture, but sometimes it takes several viewpoints for us to get the full picture. So a question that allows everyone to include input can open the eyes of even the most mature disciple. I would guess that every "Bible Study" I write is based on this premise, and will give your group a lot to chew on! Some of my favorite studies in this category are the Fisherman Bible Studies by Random House. If you search on Fisherman Bible Studies at CBD.com, they'll come up!

Some Bible Studies you'll find on the market, I would really rather call "Commentaries." They don't really challenge me to "study" the Bible in any more depth, rather they shed more light on the scripture they are dealing with. I use these kinds of studies for my personal growth, but I'm just not crazy about using them with a group. I don't like to sit and read to adults, I prefer to discuss the scripture if we're going to get together and look at God's Word. My favorite in this category are a series that is NOT called a Bible Study or even a commentary. Michael Card has written his thoughts on the gospels in four editions he calls "The Imagination Series." I've read Luke and am currently working on Mark. I love his writing style as well as his insight to scripture.

Finally, a third type of study sort of combines the two. I think we should call these "Commentary with Discussion Guide." I find them difficult to use in a group because if people don't do their homework, you'll need to do a lot of reading in the group. I generally highlight a few of the passages from the reading material that I find most relevant and share that with the group or ask if anyone else has a section of the reading that they felt spoke to them. Right now I'm working with a study by Charles Stanley called "Listening to God." I was only able to preview the first lesson which had very little "commentary." The other lessons have more. The information is wonderful, but I would prefer it for a self-study rather than for a group.

Other forms of studies also combine or add to those mentioned above. For instance

  • Bible Discussion Guide with homework - One of my groups at church LOVES this kind of study. We do about four a year with a short break between each one. Some of our favorites have been "Experiencing God" by Blackaby; "The Circle Maker" by Batterson and "Having a Mary Spirit" by Weaver
  • Bible Discussion Guide with Video (with or without homework) - There are a lot of curricula out there that use video clips now. Often these 5-20 minute clips can be a tremendous help to the group. It sort of serves as the commentary part of the study without feeling like you are reading to the group. Our favorites have been "The Shelter of God's Promises" by Sheila Walsh; "War Room" by the Kendrick brothers; "The Christian Athiest" by Groeschell

It doesn't really matter which study you use, or if you even use a study! The main thing is you are in God's Word, discussing it with other Christians and growing in Christ.

Children's Curriculum on Amazon

Jesus, Teach Me How To Pray: A Year in the Lord's Prayer and Other Bible Basics
Jesus, Teach Me How To Pray: A Year in the Lord's Prayer and Other Bible Basics

Jesus, Teach Me How to Pray focuses on teaching kids the Lord's Prayer, but it also includes lessons on the Ten Commandments and the 23rd Psalm as well as some lessons for special holidays!

 

Children are Never too Young to Learn

One of the greatest gifts we can give the children of our congregation is quality Bible training and fellowship. Kids who develop deep friendship with others who share their faith have a much better chance of hanging on to their faith as they are faced with the things that will challenge their faith through High School and college. Small groups designed especially for these kids is imperative.

There is a lot of speculation as to whether or not churches should offer Children's Church during the regular worship service. Those in favor of this program designed to help Children grow in Christ feel as though this special time set aside for Children can help them be more comfortable in church and keep them interested. Opponents of taking children out of the worship service for a special worship time feel as though kids who are never in worship may never develop a need to be a part of the congregation.

In our church we have a happy medium. All children are in our worship service for the first 15-20 minutes as we worship with song and then offer a short sermon just for them. Then the kids are dismissed to their own time of learning. For 30-45 minutes the children are led in a Bible based lesson with a craft, game or activity that helps reinforce the lesson.

Whether or not your congregation has a Children's Church program, there's a good chance you include a Sunday School or mid-week Bible Program for kids. Finding curriculum for your children's ministry can often be a challenge, especially if you work with volunteers who have a limited schedule. On the right I will include links to several children's curricula designed for busy volunteers. Each has easy activities and can be adapted to fit a 30 minute time slot or a full hour program.

Quiet Times for Busy Moms
Quiet Times for Busy Moms

Moms often need their own special devotions. These short readings are great for busy moms who only have a few moments every day to get a bit of inspiration.

 

Other FREE (or almost Free) Resources

I am constantly looking for pages where I can find useful resources for our congregation. We use devotion readings, Children's Curriculum, Bible Studies, youth ideas, worship music and more. A lot of what our church uses, I have created, but I also like to use resources created by others to keep us better rounded.

At the right I'm going to try to link to some of my favorite ministry resources. These are sites I've found while surfing the net. I can't take credit for anything you find at any of these pages, but I think you'll find them very useful.

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© 2011 Lynne Modranski

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