ResourceUMC has compiled a list of Advent resources to help church leaders prepare for the season. Resources include studies, liturgies, calendar ideas and other suggestions from a variety of sources.
Child of the Light eCourse
Upper Room author the Rev. Beth A. Richardson offers an online course to help participants use the Season of Advent to slow down and reflect quietly on miracle of Christ’s coming. Based on her book “Child of the Light,” the course includes live and recorded worship sessions, daily readings, pre-recorded discussions on Advent hymns and opportunities for online conversations with the author. Groups of five or more who sign up will get a private online classroom. Course materials are available now. Live sessions will begin on Dec. 2.
God's Unimaginable Surprises
The General Commission on Religion and Race created this new Advent resource, which uses the four weeks of Lectionary Year A texts from Isaiah. The dual themes of surprise and anti-oppression create the lens by which the truths of Isaiah texts are contextualized into our contemporary longings for God. The Advent resource includes four weeks of sermon starters and children’s messages and activities.
Go deeper with Advent prayer stations
Busyness and activity during December make it difficult to enter the mystery of Christmas, to ready our hearts for God’s incredible gift of Jesus. People all ages can engage with one or more stations depending on the time available. This practice works for different styles and services of worship as well as inter-generational events, retreats, Sunday school or other venues.
The 99¢ Advent wreath
In congregations with tight budgets, making Advent wreaths with families may be out of reach. “The 99¢ Advent Wreath” is gentle on budgets and connects children with Christian tradition through everyday materials. The wreath is personal and child palm-sized – just right for a bedside table or desk.
Walking with Jesus
“Walking with Jesus” is the theme of a new Advent study guide, worship resources and weekly reflections inspired by a recent West Virginia conference pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball is the lead writer of the materials that invite participants to imagine walking where Jesus once walked. Written first for West Virginia United Methodists to use this year, the conference invites other congregations and individuals to download and use them. The conference will be developing similar resources for the liturgical seasons in 2020.
Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2019
Discipleship Ministries has liturgies for lighting the Advent candles each Sunday. The liturgies are tailored to fit the Year A lectionary readings and are based on the 2019 worship series Advent: Are We There Yet?
Where did the Season of Advent come from?
Ever wondered how the church developed most of its Advent traditions? Discipleship Ministries has detailed information on the origins of Advent suggests other resources to help educate congregations.
New books, studies for Advent 2019
As Advent approaches, Cokesbury and Upper Room Books are featuring new books and devotional resources to guide congregations and individual United Methodists as they prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. The new books cover a variety of topics and themes for individuals, small groups or classroom settings.
Reverse Advent calendars benefit ministries
To encourage giving and generosity this Advent, many churches and non-profits are designing reverse Advent calendars that ask members and donors to give one item (or act) of charity each day of December through Christmas.
Advent outreach resources
Extend warm invitations to people in your community this Advent and Christmas! United Methodist Communications has customizable outreach tools such as postcards, invitation cards, banners, yard signs, posters and downloadable digital resources available.
Philip J. Brooks is a writer and content developer on the leader communications team at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.