We all get them. Electronic Newsletters from our congregation, news outlets, organizations that we belong to, or our child’s school fill our inboxes. If you are like many people, you scan them for information you might need or interesting things you may want to look into and then they are discarded. If your congregation is like many, you have gone to the electric format for a number of reasons, and even if you still print out your newsletter, I encourage you to think of how you can use it as a formation tool.
Think of your newsletter, electronic or print, as a formation tool. Dedicate the same space each week or month to being a place where people can expect to find a useful tool to use in their home. Add a prayer that is either seasonally appropriate or can be used as a meal grace, a short verse of scripture, a question for the family to discuss, and a blessing to be used at the end of their time. By incorporating these tools, people have a place to turn when the sit down to a meal and want a devotional tool.
Here is an example for the month of November.
Gracious and Loving God, thank you for your presence in our lives. Help us to see and appreciate all you have given us, guide us in sharing our abundance with others, and direct us throughout our lives so we may serve you fully and engage your mission in the world around us. Amen.
Scripture: James 1:17-18
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Question/Discussion for the Day:
What are the things you are thankful for today?
Name five things you are grateful for today.
May we feel God in all that we do, may we experience God through one another, may we treat others as God treats us, and may we give thanks for all we have. Bless our friends and family, bless those who are sick and hurting, bless those who need food and shelter, bless all of us here so we may share what we have been given. We ask this in your name, O Lord. Amen.
There are many resources you can use to help you either create a formation section for your newsletter, there are some you can sign up for and receive in your email, and there are some for which you can sign your whole congregation. Here are some of the best resources I have found:
Vibrant Faith at Home has great resources here for all age groups and they update the links each month and/or season. http://www.vibrantfaithathome.org/
Text Week has many, many resources based on each Sunday’s readings which include art, scripture, prayer, and more. http://www.textweek.com/
Daily Devo is an online devotional that you receive in your email each day which included a piece of scripture, a meditation, a video of photo to watch, an action, and a prayer. http://www.forwardmovement.org/Pages/Item/6994/Daily-Devo.aspx
d3365.org is an online devotional that is meant written for youth and young adults. http://www.d365.org/todaysdevotion/