Editor’s Note: I learned about Advent in a Box through a Christian formation Facebook page and felt like our Grow Christians community would be interested in learning more about it. I’m grateful Robin Cannon accepted my invitation to write a post describing Advent in a Box, and how churches and families can use it next month. Robin is the founder and director of content development for Family Ministry Tools and will gladly answer any questions you have about this resource through the comment section below. Faithfully, Allison
“These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds.Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is a challenging passage. As a parent, I wondered, “how do I do this in a way that will inspire my children and make them want to know God better?” As a Christian educator, I wondered, “how do I help our families live this passage out in their homes?” As a church leader, I used the majority of my time, energy and resources working hard to make an impact with the hour or two that I spent with families on Sundays. I longed for effective tools to help my families live out this command from Deuteronomy 6.
Advent in a Box is a resource created by the Christian educators at Family Ministry Tools to help churches equip families to have faith conversations at home. The goal is to send home interactive, fun, and biblically sound activities that engage families and help them grow in their faith. Advent in a Box is a pizza box filled with all-age devotions and activities to help families celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas. Everything a family needs to do the activities will be in the box, aside from typical household supplies like markers and tape. We created the devotions and activities for you. Families or Christian educators will need to print the materials, buy the supplies, and pack your boxes.
How does it work?
Churches purchase a download which includes printer ready PDFs for each week of Advent that include Scripture readings, a family devotional, a real-life faith story, a hand-on activity, an interactive prayer activity and a Shine Your Light challenge. Prices are based on Sunday attendance so that smaller churches with limited formation budgets can participate as well. Churches will also receive a link to an Amazon shopping list that includes the additional items needed to make and fill the Advent boxes. The contents needed for each box have been priced to keep the cost to under $5 per box.
Why is something like Advent in a Box worth the investment?
Churches need to invest in parents and help them include God in the everyday bits of life. Studies show that on average, kids will spend about 24-40 hours a year at church. The average child will be engaged in some kind of media usage for 40 hours each week. Most kids barely reach 40 hours at church in an entire year. Kids need families engaged in their faith walk at home to counterbalance all the media influences. We all need tools to help us live a life of faith which involves more than just Sunday morning worship.
The Sticky Faith Group at Fuller Youth Institute has studied why young people end up walking away from the church. The biggest indicator they found for faith that sticks in kids was time spent talking and living the faith at home. Teens are three times more likely to stay in church after high school graduation if they encounter regular, healthy faith conversations within the home according to Dr. Richard Ross, professor of student ministry at Southwestern Baptist Seminary.
Advent in a Box is not just a spiritual formation tool, it is also an outreach tool. Create a box for each family in your church, but also think big. Challenge families to give boxes away to their friends and neighbors. Encourage grandparents to give boxes to their grandchildren, and if your church has a preschool or daycare, create one for each family.
This is an opportunity to send a light into your community in the shape of box!