What People are Saying

Jesus Loves MeThe following are quotes from real faith formation leaders who have used the Spirit and Truth Publishing products.

Product Testimonials

Learning Together units

[Learning Together] is VERY user-friendly. It has such wonderful options for presenting and reinforcing the weekly topic. The kids are remembering the lessons from week to week to week, and hopefully for their lifetime.

– Terri Wolfgram, Gallatin Valley Lutheran Fellowship, Belgrade, MT

Learning Together: Do Justice is incredibly flexible and provides you with a depth of learning that should not be missed. If I could wave a magic wand, I would have church councils work through this unit together as they go about the important business of coordinating church ministries and resources. Imagine what it would look like to have a leadership team that intentionally discussed justice and what we should be doing as God’s people. I’d also love to see it used for middle school and high school youth group gatherings. This flexible and thorough offering is worth your attention!

– Excerpt of a resource review by Elizabeth Christie of Practical Resources for churches.

Living the Word: Kids:

Thanks for creating your Sunday School curriculum to engage children in learning more about the Bible, following Christ, and being a disciple of God! I have taught SS each year since 2005 and there are many things I appreciate about teaching Living the Word. I love the fact that students are learning the same Scripture the parents are hearing in church, and the students go home each week with hands-on ideas for devotions to do as a family. The curriculum helps engage the students from the “Into the Story” activity to the “Learning the Story” and “Living the Story” activities. The lessons cover the Scripture thoroughly and don’t have “additional” items which don’t pertain to that part of the Scripture lesson.

I really like the fact that you have easy and quick digital downloads so it’s convenient to read and print out what you need for each class. The “Background for Teachers” is exceptional as a summary of the week’s Scripture lesson. I love the “Activities a La Carte,” which is great for a quick skim of what you need to know to prepare for the class. I also like the bold type for what you recommend speaking for a quick skim rather than me having to outline everything beforehand. Unlike previous curricula I’ve used, Living the Word has plenty of materials to cover the time we have with our kids, and I have not had to personally come up with creative ways to implement the lesson, which I did with other curricula that were normally boring or not written to the level of the child we were teaching.

– Kim M. Horn, 5th Grade Sunday School Teacher, Mountain View Lutheran Church, Phoenix, AZ

I have enjoyed using Spirit and Truth Publishing curriculum! Our students love the variety given in the activities to help the learn the story. I enjoy the Living the Word curriculum. It allows me to have the kids “dig deeper into the story with Bible Nuts and Bolts,” which is a great extra provided that lets me take the Bible to the next level with our students that are ready!

Thanks for the curriculum! It has been fun!

– Kira Anderson, Director of Faith Formation, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Faribault, MN

We appreciate the Narrative SS curriculum. It is obvious you have put in much thought and energy into the product – well done good and faithful one!

Again, thank you for this wonderful curriculum!

– Rev. Nate Bendorf, Calvary Lutheran Church, Bemidji, MN

Zion Lutheran Church in Chelsea, Michigan is in the second year of using Living the Word curriculum.  Our teachers give the curriculum favorable reviews overall.  In particular, kids and adults have benefited deeply from the Sunday school stories paralleling the lectionary material heard in worship. Positive feedback has been reported related to the craft and skit activities. The only negative feedback has been that there are too many activity choices each week!

-Kathy Pantolin, Chair of Faith Formation, Zion Lutheran Church, Chelsea, MI

The Living the Word: Kids lessons coordinate very well with what is being done in the church service following the Sunday School Hour with the teachings using the Narrative Lectionary. The students are making the connections between Sunday School and the service. It is really rewarding to see them understand the message everyone in the church is hearing.

 The module I use for the 4-7 graders does a good job of teaching activities that guide the students through the steps to “get” the lesson. it also has nice alternatives for me as a teacher to use so I can easily adjust  to the class size and their interest level. I am not a teacher professionally so I appreciate the way the lesson plans guide me  and I do not have to come up with ideas to teach the lesson. There are enough options to let me do my own thing, but I can stay on track by using the lesson plan.

The skits that act out the Scripture lesson do a great job and my students really enjoy them. I have been told they help them to understand the Scripture when we read the actual Scripture along with the skits.

– Brian Yusten, 4th-7th Grade Sunday School Teacher, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Lansing, MI

The Sunday School teachers are loving this curriculum that goes along with the Narrative Lectionary and watching the kids who attend service after Sunday School totally ace all the questions during the children’s message was awesome.  Kudos to you and your team!

– Jen Kooistra. Pastoral Assistant, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mt. Horeb, Mt. Horeb, WI

Why have I been enjoying my year with my coordinator/teaching role with Christian Ed at Congregational Church UCC in Austin? Because I love “Living the Word” and the narrative lectionary. We do Christian Ed on Wed. evenings and most of the kids stay in church during the service on Sundays. It is fun to watch them engaged in the service because they come knowing the story. It is really working for us!

– Aleta Christopherson, Christian Education Coordinator, First Congregational UCC, Austin, MN

We have been so impressed with the Sunday School curriculum.  The teachers appreciate the format and most of all that it matches the Sunday readings.  Keep up the good work…we really love it here at Our Saviour’s!

– Rev. Rachel Stout, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Sebeka, MN

Here’s what one of our Sunday school coordinators says, “I really enjoyed the program, as it was very helpful for crafts and game ideas. The previous program left us searching the Internet and was very time consuming.”

– Rev. Bart Coleman, Zion Lutheran Church, Beausejour, MB (Canada)

We are in the 2nd year of using Living the Word Narrative Lectionary curriculum for our Sunday School ministry. As a Sunday School coordinator with limited prep time, this curriculum has been a blessing. I simply print out the lessons and hand them off to the teachers. They easily take it from there. With so many options for each lesson, the teachers can pick and choose which activities they want to incorporate into their plan for the day. They know their kids best so they know what will be the most engaging.

We have definitely had a lot of fun with the skits and games! There are even tentative plans to incorporate the skits and other activities into a whole family/congregational event occasionally.

The “Background for Teachers” and “Story at Home” elements are appreciated as well! An unexpected blessing is that the teachers on our team have said that they have also learned a lot from this curriculum and our Sunday School program is between the Worship services so parents (and the Pastor 🙂 really appreciate that the kids are familiar with the story before joining them in Worship.
We have already ordered our 2015-16 curriculum and cannot wait until it is ready for us!

– Mary Johnson, Sunday School Coordinator, Trinity Lutheran Church, North Branch, MN

My name is Alisa L. Engelhardt Smith. I am the Director of Children’s Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Waterloo, IA. I oversee the programming and curriculum selection for children from Preschool through 5th grade. We have been using the Sunday School curriculum that follows the Narrative Lectionary for the last two programming years, as our pastor preaches on the Narrative Lectionary, so the children are learning the same thing in Sunday School that the adults are hearing in church. It has been very effective in reinforcing the key points each Sunday. My teachers for my elementary children seem to be pleased with the curriculum. The preschool teachers (3, 4, and 5 year olds) dislike the curriculum because a lot of the stories are so abstract and hard for the young children to understand. They disliked it to such a great extent that they have discontinued using it and are simply teaching “basic” Bible stories such as Noah, Jonah, Jesus’ birth, etc.

I appreciate having the specific dates in the top corner of each page to accompany the lessons. It makes it so much easier for the teachers to keep track of where they are at. And if we skip a Sunday, due to a special event, or a teacher misses a few weeks due to illness, or a trip,  it is easy for everybody to figure out where they need to resume teaching at.

There are lots of different activities to choose from for each lesson, and my teachers definitely appreciate that. Thank you for continuing to improve your products.

– Alisa L. Engelhardt Smith, Director of Children’s Ministries, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Waterloo, IA

I would be glad to. We are using Living the Word for pre school, elementary and your beta material for small groups. We are also using the Sharing God’s Story @ Home materials. We are following the Narrative Lectionary. Our families like studying and talking about the same story with the entire family. We practice standing in a circle and blessing each person in turn. That simple act of calling each person by name and blessing them in turn is so powerful both for the person offering the blessing and for the one receiving the blessing. Between the lessons, the Facebook page and the weekly devotions this is the best and strongest material we have found to assist our families in faith formation.

– Kim Boettner, Learning Committee Chair, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Birmingham, AL

Our church began using the Narrative Lectionary in the summer of 2014.  As the chair of  the Worship and Music Committee and a teacher in the prek to 2nd grade class, I was looking for a Sunday School Curriculum that would coordinate with the Narrative Lectionary.  We had been using the Spark Curriculum from Augsburg Fortress which was linked to the Revised Standard Lectionary.  I was delighted to try Spirit and Truth Publishing, Living the Word, for our Sunday School class. Ordering the curriculum and downloading it to my home computer gave me instant accessibility and flexibility with the content.  Our class ranges from 3 to 9 children on a given Sunday and I can easily adapt the materials to the age ranges and number of students that I have.  Reading the lessons online and then printing the information I need enables each lesson to be custom made.  Our older students love acting out the Bible stories.  Today we had a spirited retelling of the Parable.  The activities are active, fun, Biblically based, and all the materials are easily found at home or at church in our craft center. Our students know that their lesson will transfer to worship and the teaching is reinforced once again. If you could add one more component, it would be even more helpful to have a summer curriculum also since we have our classes meet all year.  Thank you so much for a truly excellent curriculum and for donating to Lutheran World Relief.  Wow!

– Louise Sebastian, Worship & Music Committee Chair, Zion Lutheran Church, Guyton, GA

Our Sunday School teacher LOVE your curriculum.  We use rotational SCS for our older kids and the variety of ideas is wonderful.  The pre-K kids remain together but teachers also really appreciate all the great ideas.  Our families are actually talking about Bible stories on Sundays on their way home and at dinner!  We’re really enjoying the Narrative Lectionary and its benefits for helping with everyone’s journey through scripture.  In the near future we plan to use some of the skits from SCS in worship so the entire congregation can benefit from them as well.

Thanks so much for sharing your creativity!

– Rev. Carolyn Fredriksen, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Greendale, WI

We really like the curriculum. I like the outline in the beginning that gives a verse, the theme and lesson objectives and the breakdown fro the activities and the supplies. One of the thing that I really liked was the Background for the Teachers – it helped me to be able to better teach the lesson.

The lessons are easy to follow and there are so many different activities to do. This material works can work for any size Sunday School program and it is easy to tailor it to each individual program.

I was very happy to see the take home papers for the families. We are working in our congregation different ways to get the Word in the home and the Try it @ Home sheets do that – Family Devotions!
Thank you for creating this material to work with the Narrative Lectionary.

– Tracy Hoy, Christian Education Chair, Zion’s Lutheran Church, Jonestown, PA

I would rate your Sunday School curriculum as absolutely excellent.  My wife and I have been teaching Sunday School since the year we were married (1971).  Over those years we have used many different curriculums.  I would rate this year’s 4th grade curriculum as one of the best – if not “THE BEST” – of those we have used.  Your lesson overviews, activities, worksheets and examples of classroom ideas makes preparation for each Sunday’s class extremely easy and fun.

– Dave Chesney, Sunday School Teacher, Bethel Lutheran Church, Rochester, MN

It was a gift to receive and study the Living the Word Sunday School curriculum. Here, finally, is wonderful, theologically solid, developmentally appropriate, deep, yet easy to teach curriculum to get children into God’s story. Simply and clearly written, it offers multiple choices to tailor each lesson to the groups to be taught.  If your congregation is using the Narrative Lectionary in worship, this is a perfect way to equip parents and kids to share God’s story, to hear it in worship, as well as in education, and to take it home. God calls us to get the Word and the Living Word we know in Jesus Christ inside us, inside our children. Spirit and Truth Publishing offers us a fabulous opportunity to do just that. If your congregation does not use the Narrative Lectionary, here is a beautiful, four year cycle of the core stories of Scripture, including many of those important, but often bypassed stories in the Bible. Take home sheets connect what children are learning with their home, robustly partnering home and congregation to pass on faith to all of God’s children. What a blessing this curriculum is!

– Marilyn Sharpe, Certified Family Life Educator and Faith Formation Consultant, Marilyn Sharpe Ministries

We loved this material. We did not use the materials for Sunday School, but used it for Worship Explorers–a program for our K-3 children in which they leave our worship service for a scripture based age appropriate lesson. A different person leads this activity each Sunday so having so many different activities from which to choose allowed them to always be comfortable with what they were using to teach the scripture lessons. We used the older children’s materials each week in our Wednesday evening Jr High Bible study. Over half of our group in that age range are not native English speakers so the materials were challenging enough for their understanding of the English and varied enough that they were never bored. This is some of the best teaching material I have been able to put into the hands of my teachers. Thank you. I hope many people will use it in the future. We are looking forward to next year and to looking at the Youth and Young Adult materials. I am the Minister of Music so I am excited about the new music materials.

– Dr. Judy Fiske, Minister of Music and Worship, Tabernacle Baptist Church (Richmond, VA)

Living the Word is a valuable resource for Narrative Lectionary congregations (but certainly not limited to NL users!). It’s centered on the biblical story, approachable, easy to use for teachers, and presents a wide range of ideas for children.  The teacher prep pages have been appreciated by our volunteers. The “@ Home” resources provide parents with ideas to continue faith talk and learning at home.  The curriculum uplifts spiritual practices of prayer, worship, stewardship, fellowship and service, which are vital to the faith formation of God’s children.  The teachers have appreciated the spiritual practice being named – it helps them in their planning and motivates them in an affirming and uplifting way!  All in all, I can’t think of a component that’s missing from this curriculum.  I’ve used a wide variety of curriculums over the years and this is really one of my favorites (I’m not missing the bells and whistles either).  Adults find the objectives and themes being listed really equips them in their preparation and planning and subsequently their teaching.  Our kids have responded well to the variety of ideas and materials.

– Rev. Debbie Boyce, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Issaquah, WA

I am so very excited about what you guys have done with this curriculum!   I have been in ministry for almost 25 years and this is the best, all encompassing and easy to follow lesson  that I have read.   It gives the teacher everything they need to do a good job.  I am excited!

– Rev. Marcia Carrier, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Hartford, WI

I remain impressed with the breadth and depth offered with this curriculum. Generally I find it easy to prepare for and I think the kids all walk away with at least a basic understanding of what we are teaching each week.

– Keith Cardinal, Sunday School Superintendent, St. John Lutheran Church, Mars, PA

We had a Sunday School meeting this week and I thought I would share the comments on the curriculum from our teachers: “Love it!”  “Way better.”  “Always something that works!”  “Not enough time to do everything because it is all so good I want to do everything.”

– Rev. Dawn Leger, Christ Church Anglican, Stouffville, ON (Canada)

I was very hesitant to take this curriculum on as we had been happy with our other curriculum. However, this has been a great change for us. The curriculum was perfect for the age level it was addressed for and our children love to have their binders and weekly sheets in them to review what we learned the previous week and then build upon. I have also saved a lot of money. Before, I would have to come up with craft projects and order them separate. Now, they have built in ideas into the curriculum that are easy and affordable. You can’t go wrong with that.

– Heidi Wagner, Sunday School Teacher, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Glenwood City, WI

The teachers in our program love the “menus” of activities and themes.  The options help them select the most appropriate lesson for the maturity of their students.  Five out of five stars!

– Shannon Banta, Parish Education Chair, Christ Lutheran Church, Sedgwick, KS

I am finding that the materials downloaded for the lessons are well done, easy to follow, and are very effective in teaching. I can cover a lot of ground with the kids and I think they like it too.

– Carl Harnisch, Sunday School Teacher, Mountain View Lutheran, Phoenix, AZ

The teacher’s guide gives a great background for the teacher with clear and concise take away points. The stories are easy to teach and I have always had a good response with having the children retell the story and main points at the end of class. The activities aren’t always my favorite, but I have a tendency to do big crafts and messy projects.

– Mel Thompson, McFarland United Church of Christ, McFarland, WI

The Living the Word lessons are exciting to teach and the children are interested. They like the variety of activities that I chose from your curriculum, and I like that I don’t have to do hours of searching for additional activities to supplement the lesson. I am pleased with the ease of lesson preparation, with the variety of activities, and the adaptability of the activities.  The lessons incorporate many intelligences, introduce different ways to pray, acquaint the teacher and students with the books of the Bible, and help us to understand our own connections to our faith fathers.

– Kristie Lee, Sunday School Teacher, First Evangelical Lutheran, Watsontown, PA

Very user friendly. Whether it is your first year teaching or you have been teaching many years.

– Tracy Hannah, Sunday School Teacher, St. Mary’s Lutheran, Kenosha, WI

Living the Word lessons not only bring the stories alive through role play and creative activities, but they give the teacher many avenues to dig deeper and uncover new layers of meaning for those students who have heard the stories many times before. The 4-year cycle means that there is less repetition of classic stories and room to include unusual stories such as the Valley of Dry Bones. Lessons come with a way to show children where we are in the Bible, offer a closing prayer, and often offer other prayer ideas. I have taught Sunday School for years in various denominations; I feel this curriculum is one of the best in training our children to pray, empowering them to read the Bible on their own, and celebrating God’s love.

– Adriana Hageman, Sunday School Teacher, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kingston, ON (Canada)

Living the Word: Youth

The Living the Word Narrative Lectionary youth materials are so creative, hands-on and connect to the biblical story.  And my people are getting it!  Exciting faith formation is taking place.  They are actually talking about their faith, connecting the bible story to their story.   It is getting easier for them to relate the events from their week to the story we are studying.  The continuity of God’s story makes real the continuity of God with us in their lives.   This is what I’ve dreamed being a pastor would look like.

– Rev. Ann Bassett, Peace Lutheran Church, Spring Hill, TN

This Fall we began an interactive worship service for all ages. The materials from Living the Word have been so helpful in preparation for this worship service. We have gleaned helpful tools and resources from the Small Group, Youth, and Children’s material. Thank you very much for this valuable resource.

– Rev. Courtney Arntzen, First Presbyterian Church, Missoula, MT

Living the Word: Small Groups

You have done a terrific work for the Lord with the publication of the Living the Word Bible studies paired with the Narrative Lectionary.  I started using the NL in 2012 because I wanted my preaching & teaching to tell the whole story of the Divine Narrative, from Genesis to Revelation, with a focus on each one of the Gospels.  My Sunday morning adult Bible study class considers the NL text for the following Sunday to help me prepare my sermon.  By using the Living the Word: Small Group Guides, our adults not only have a text to examine, but also a great deal of additional information and avenues to explore as we talk about the passage in context, in history and in application to today’s world.  Living the Word is true to the title–for our adults, and for me as a preacher, it helps make the Bible come alive for us!  For those pastors and congregations who utilize the Narrative Lectionary, Living the Word: Small Group Guides is a sound investment for preaching, teaching, catechesis and small group studies.

– Rev. John Ramsey, Trinity Lutheran Church, Grafton, OH

This Fall we began an interactive worship service for all ages. The materials from Living the Word have been so helpful in preparation for this worship service. We have gleaned helpful tools and resources from the Small Group, Youth, and Children’s material. Thank you very much for this valuable resource.

– Rev. Courtney Arntzen, First Presbyterian Church, Missoula, MT

We love it! Our group studies the coming Sunday’s lesson. They are more prepared to listen to the sermon and as the pastor, it helps me prepare my sermon. Their comments and foci help me to focus in on what they seem to need to get from the lesson. If they have certain questions or are wanting to know more, I figure the rest of the congregation will have similar questions and needs.

– Rev. Lynne Hanna, First Presbyterian Church, Ackley, IA

Living the Word: Cross+Gen Worship

Last year was my first year in my position at Alleluia. I was looking for a curriculum that would work for the many changes we were making to our programming. We really wanted to find something that tied the Narrative Lectionary together, something where our Sunday school children, confirmation kids, and small groups were getting the same lesson that was being given to the congregation. We had been using another curriculum for years and after seeing the waste and expense that went along with it I felt that we needed something different.

I came across Spirit & Truth Publishing and loved the Cross+Gen Worship curriculum. I liked how easy it was to download and follow. I could decide whether to print it or not, cutting down on waste. It has worked very well for our youth programs and worship, as well as the Small Group Guides for our small groups; it was important to us that we were all learning the same lesson. We also used the Sharing God’s Story @ Home in our bulletin so it was a great way for families to connect following worship. We are excited as we look ahead to the Cross+Gen Education curriculum this we will be using this year. As a church that is always looking for ways to give back to our community we really loved the give back component as well. Thank you Spirit & Truth for putting out a great Narrative Lectionary product!

– Jen Teachout, Director of Children, Youth & Family, Alleluia! Lutheran Church, St. Michael, MN

 Spirit and Truth: Teaching Kids the Heart of Worship:
This curriculum is fantastic!!  It is very well laid out, and easy to follow.  The kids are enjoying it so much.  I know the older kids really like doing the skits and acting things out.  You really hit the nail on the head with those methods of teaching.  We are very excited to start working with the Christmas program.  Our kids are really going to love that they get to choose the songs and act things out as well.  Thank you, thank you for creating such wonderful curriculum!
– Nancy Bolling, Youth/Education Team Member, Faith Lutheran Church, Everett, WA

We purchased the Spirit and Truth Full Year curriculum which included the subjects of Liturgy, the Church Year, and Advent unit, and a Christmas Program. We have up to 20 elementary students in Sunday school, which includes preschoolers. The preschoolers enjoy the picture stories and the group-time music associated with the lesson. The 3rd to 5th graders are having fun with the skits, they connect well with the material (for the lesson on communion, they helped bake communion bread). An additional bonus is that we’re incorporating the lesson we learn into our Sunday service: when the kids learned about offering, one of our Sunday school teachers asked that slips of paper could be handed out during service so that when offering comes, kids (and adults) could write down what of their time, talents, or gifts they could offer instead of just money. We chose this curriculum because of its flexibility (stories or activities can be added), uniqueness (the focus on the meaning of church traditions as opposed to repetitive stories), and straight-forwardness (helpful teacher instructions and easy-to-implement lessons). To Spirit and Truth Publishing, thank you for thinking outside the box and still engaging our kids in their faith!
– Ihoby Rakotomalala, Youth Director, All Saints Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

Feedback from parents and teachers have shown us that their children are more involved in the church services.

– Karin Westlake, Sunday School Superintendent, Faith Lutheran Church, Columbus, WI

I really like the fact that there is little prep time.  The  hard work has been done for me. The kids really have fun with the skits.  They have gotten into the characters in the skits and have learned about what worship means.  I like that every lesson has the kids using the Bible and discovery that a lot of what we do in worship comes directly from the Bible.  The kids have loved the games, puzzles, arts and crafts, and science experiments that relate to the theme of the day.  It’s easy to teach this material because the kids are as excited as I am about it.  I love that I have learned about worship along with the students.

– Nancy Connolly, 5th-6th grade teacher, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Hustisford, WI

Because it’s not just kids who could benefit from learning about our church year and liturgy I used select skits for our mid-week Lenten services one year.  Since the kids already loved the skits and characters from Sunday School they were eager to perform the skits in worship.   

– Rev. Sheila Rawn, St Michael’s Lutheran Church, Hustisford, WI

All too often it feels like we get in a rut of only going through the motions of worship, and we forget the meaning behind what we do. It was great to have a curriculum that helped our kids explore what worship is about and actually get excited about it!

– Rev. Beth Schultz Byrnes, St. John-St. Paul Lutheran Parish, Berry-Marxville, WI

The curriculum offered a wide variety of activities to choose from, which was great when we had various time limits for our class. It was very uplifting to see the students participating more in the church service because of the things they learned in class.

– Alice Kalsow, PK-3rd grade teacher, St. John-St. Paul Lutheran Parish, Berry-Marxville, WI

Our small Sunday School meets as a single class of 1st-6th graders. We sometimes have one student and sometimes have ten. The Spirit and Truth curriculum on the parts of worship is flexible and easily adaptable to our ever-changing needs, and it is relevant to the faith growth of all our students and teachers.

– Rev. Katya Ouchakof,  Cooksville Lutheran Church, Evansville WI