Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Great Advice! Find out how to involve children in worship

Dear Thoughtful Christians,

Jesus openly included children. On one occasion, as he taught his disciples he put his arm around a child and told the disciples that welcoming a child was much like welcoming him (Mark 9:36-37). The children learned by participating and asking questions.

Today's children learn in much the same way. Any qualified teacher will tell you that children learn best as they experience life. There is no better way we can help our children grow in their relationship with God than through worship. Furthermore, it is important to involve children in worship during the early years. If they learn songs and hymns, the creeds and prayers, and understand the various parts of worship, they will most likely continue to appreciate worship later on in life.

Written for parents of children of all ages, this week's new parenting study titled, "Teaching Your Child about Worship" has suggestions for explaining worship practices and symbols to nonreaders, beginning readers, and older elementary-aged youth. There is even an excellent guide for parents to help them explain what the words of the Lord's Prayer mean to younger children. And, as always, there are reflection questions for parents and discussion questions for parenting groups.

Sunday School Survey
In order for children to begin to learn about the importance of worship they have to actually be in worship on a regular basis. This has become a struggle as more and more churches begin to offer Sunday school during worship. When does your church offer Sunday school classes? Take a moment to respond to this question by clicking here. Results will be shared next week.

New This Week

Helping your child grow to understand and participate in worship services.

Visit us again next week for our new adult studies titled, “Bridging the Generation Gap through Storytelling” and “Spiritual Disciplines for Different Personalities.”

Peace, Andrew Yeager-Buckley

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Relaunch Special: Subscribe for Only $150 Now through August 31

Dear Thoughtful Christians,

Today we're proud to launch the latest transformation of Users who currently have an account with us will be receiving an e-mail from us shortly that includes detailed instructions on how to access your account on the new site. If you're not registered, click here to create your FREE account. In addition to the more than 400 thought-provoking downloadable studies, you’ll now find thousands of books with discounts ranging from 20%-35%. That’s real savings!

Relaunch Subscription Special
To celebrate the site relaunch, annual subscription rates to The Thoughtful have been reduced to $150 through August 31, 2010. Don't forget that subscribers receive a 35% discount on a great number of titles.

Free Study Special
In the spirit of this week's relaunch celebration, the newest Thoughtful Christian study for adults will be provided for free to nonsubscribers. It is titled "Lost: Live Together or Die Alone." This will join our collection of eleven other FREE sample studies available for you to test out in your congregation this week.

"Lost: Live Together or Die Alone" is a study about the hit TV series Lost. Lost is a show about faith. J. J. Abrams, the show’s producer, said this on stage at the Golden Globes in 2006 when the show won for best drama series; but J. J. Abrams didn’t have to tell some of us—we already knew. In this study participants will be introduced to the characters and concerns of the series, watch scenes from the show, and discuss questions closely related to them.

New This Week


A one-session study on the theological and ethical issues raised in the hit TV series Lost.

Visit us again next week for our new Youth and Parenting studies on the film New Moon.


Andrew Yeager-Buckley

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New This Week - Make Love Not War: A History of Valentine's Day

Dear Thoughtful Christians,

At stores around the nation, Christmas ornaments have been replaced by red roses and candy canes have changed to heart-shaped chocolates. That’s right, it’s almost Valentine’s Day! And just as Christmas is more than ornaments and trees, Valentine’s Day has a rich tradition in the Christian faith. In this week’s new study “Make Love Not War: A History of Valentine’s Day,” participants will learn the history of Valentine’s Day, explore the power of romantic love, and find that Valentine’s Day is about a love that embraces all.

This is an excellent study to use on its own, but also fits in wonderfully with the following studies for four weeks of materials on relationships and love of all God’s people.

We also have a Valentine’s Day study for youth—“B My Valentine! What Is Love?”—that you can use by itself or as a kick-off for discussing relationships with youth using the following studies. If you use all of the studies below you will have four weeks of materials.
Last Week's Top Five
Learning Forgiveness: A Lenten Study (Lenten Study Pack)
Reflections on the Lord's Prayer: A Lenten Study (Lenten Study Pack)
Meet George Washington (Bible and Theology - Historical Figures - Adult)
Gospel Portraits of Jesus: A Lenten Study (Lenten Study Pack)
Where Is God When Disaster Strikes? (Bible and Theology - Theology - Adult)

Visit us again next week for our new youth study titled “The Dating Game: How to Survive the Roller Coaster.”


Andrew Yeager-Buckley

Click on any of the links above to be redirected to the site for more information.

Join the conversation by reviewing a favorite study.  Follow us on twitter and facebook.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New This Week - Meet George Washington

Dear Thoughtful Christians,

Last Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the monumental inauguration of the United States’ first black president. A few weeks from now, President Obama will celebrate his second President’s Day as president. To help you celebrate this President’s Day (February 15) and Washington’s birthday (February 22), we’ve put together this one-session adult study about George Washington, his faith life, and religion’s relationship with political offices, titled “Meet George Washington.” While this is a great stand-alone study, there are two additional ways to use it with other Thoughtful Christian studies.

Study it with other studies on historical figures to take a trip back in time. Used in the following order, you will work your way from past to present. If you use all of the studies listed below you will have six weeks of studies.

You can also use this study with the following to take a deeper look at the relationship of religion and politics. If all studies are used you will have five weeks of materials. We suggest the following order.
Of course, our nation’s presidents are not the only leaders worth recognizing. This week we will be in Nashville, Tennessee, for the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) annual event. We look forward to meeting some of you thoughtful Presbyterians! Drop by our booth to say hi, give us your thoughts, and to take a sneak peek at our new Web site.

Last Week's Top Five
Learning Forgiveness: A Lenten Study (Lenten Study Pack)
Where Is God When Disaster Strikes? (Bible and Theology - Theology - Adult)
Finding God in Times of Tragedy (Bible and Theology - Theology - Youth)
Where Is God Leading Me? (Retreats)
Reflecting on Our Lifelong Journey with God (Retreats)

Visit us again next week for our new adult study titled “Make Love Not War: A History of Valentine’s Day.”


Andrew Yeager-Buckley

Monday, January 25, 2010

January Highlights from The Thoughtful

January, 2010

Dear Thoughtful Christians,

Were you successful at being thoughtful this Christmas season? In your shopping, driving, cooking, toasting, praying, giving, receiving, hosting, eating, talking, listening, waiting, pushing, did you live up to your image of how a thoughtful Christian should be and act? Just how should a thoughtful Christian be and act?

We receive many positive comments about the name of this program. Christians resonate with the title. It seems to represent our earnest desire to faithfully engage our messy, complex world in a way that demonstrates the best Christian practices. I spent some time this Christmas looking over some notes I have taken from some of your comments over the years. According to you, a Thoughtful Christian is someone who

  • Breaks down barriers that divide
  • Tolerates differences of opinion while striving to understand others
  • Articulates a position on an issue after sincerely listening to all sides
  • Humbly learns from others and admits what is unknown
  • Acts on belief and is willing to take risks
  • Seeks to be part of God’s reconciling plan to heal the whole world
Thank you for the inspiration! May our 2010 New Year resolutions include these goals to be more thoughtful Christians! Our staff promises to work with our talented group of authors to pick issues and themes to help us meet our resolution. We may not always live up to our goals, but hey, who ever lived up to their resolution of going to the gym five times a week? Hopefully, we’ll stick at this more important goal for longer.

New Retreat Essays for Planning any Retreat
These four FREE essays will help retreat planners understand the basic purposes for retreats and how to go about creating a plan.
  • Church Retreats and Faith Formation
  • Essentials of Retreat Planning
  • Ideas for Worship, Play, Community Building
New Retreat Designs
This new feature allows leaders to download a document that includes specific plans for leading a one-, two-, or three-day retreat for your church group using Thoughtful Christian studies. Five retreat designs are offered to begin this new feature and new ones will be posted regularly. Below are the titles for the first five.
  • Reflecting on Our Lifelong Journey with God—A two-day retreat for older adults
  • Developing a Green Action Plan for Your Congregation—A three-day retreat for church leaders
  • Where Is God Leading Me?—A three-day retreat for youth
  • Exploring Spiritual Practices—A two-day retreat for adults
January Editor’s PickWhat Our Christian Neighbors Believe

We often make jokes about different denominations based on a thin slice of truth. But can you really explain the difference between a Lutheran and an Episcopalian? The United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church? Take some time to learn about the backgrounds and beliefs of some of the most well-known denominations in our country. We’ve thrown in a fun two-session study on the Shakers as well. If you use all of the studies listed below, you will have sixteen weeks of study material. You may use these in any order.

What do Baptists Believe? This two-session study addresses some of the major beliefs most Baptists hold dear and traces the history of the major groupings of Baptists from their beginnings until today.

What do Episcopalians Believe? In session 1, participants are introduced to Episcopalian belief through examining the history and development of the Episcopal Church within the Anglican Communion. Session 2 will discuss belief as actively revealed in the worship of the church through the American Book of Common Prayer, the central organizing element of the Episcopal Church.

What do Lutherans Believe? This two-session study examines the life of Martin Luther and the theology of the denomination.

What do Presbyterians Believe? In session 1, participants are familiarized with Presbyterians and learn what they believe about God, sin, and the Bible. The goal of session 2 is to educate participants about the Presbyterian understanding of salvation.

What do Shakers Believe? In this study, participants will learn about some of the more interesting aspects of the Shaker religion and will discuss the Shakers’ dedication to the concepts of equality, simplicity, and constant devotion to God. And yes, we’ll touch on that celibacy issue as well!

What do United Methodists Believe? The first session reviews the importance of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience for Methodists. The second session introduces participants to the core beliefs of the Methodist tradition.

What does the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Believe? This two-session study traces the history and beliefs of this denomination through the generations.

What does the United Church of Christ Believe? This two-session study acquaints participants with the all-American denomination the United Church of Christ (UCC), an amalgamated denomination begun by the Pilgrims.

Recent and Upcoming Studies
We wish you a very good New Year! And thank you for your support!


David L. Maxwell, Editor
The Thoughtful Christian

Click on any of the links above to be redirected to the site for more information.

Join the conversation by reviewing a favorite study. Follow us on twitter and facebook or subscribe to our blog.
Connecting with Women in the Bible—A three-day retreat for women
What's the Point of Church Retreats?Reaches out to others in need