This curriculum review is part of the Children's Ministry Toolkit - a collection of resources for building strong and vibrant children's ministry, brought to you by Faith Formation Ministries.
Bake with the Bible is a 6-week curriculum created in partnership with Edible Theology. It’s a project that explores the role of food in spiritual formation, encouraging families to dive deep into six biblical stories and connect with God through baking bread.
As the authors, Kendall Vanderslice (founder of Edible Theology and author of We Will Feast) and Linnae Peterson, state: "Bread is more than just a handy metaphor in the Bible. Bread is the tool God uses to prove God’s provision for, redemption of, and ongoing communion with humanity."
Bake with the Bible is available in several ways:
Self-guided teen version
Family bundle (children’s version plus teen version)
You can view sample sessions here.
A church license is also available if all the families in a church would like to give this curriculum a try.
Note: In this review we’ll focus on the children’s version.
Each of the six sessions includes a Scripture passage with wondering questions, storybook suggestions, family activities and prayer suggestions, historical or cultural lessons on bread, and a recipe for baking a different type of bread.
The authors have also created two additional sessions that are included with the curriculum purchase. The first is a bonus lesson for families to create a table grace as a household. And since the authors acknowledged that several of the original lessons focused on events of Holy Week, they created another additional session entitled “How to Bake Through Lent.” This supplement includes a shortened lesson for Ash Wednesday that acts as an introduction to the bread experience.
Note: the curriculum states that there is a digital resource page for links to videos and music recommendations, but our reviewer was not able to locate it.
How to Use
This structure can be flexible. Since there are so many options, a family could easily expand this over a two week period if desired. Depending on the attention span of the children and the depth of conversation, they believe that each session (except for the bread baking session) will last 15-30 minutes.
There is much to like about this curriculum. The most significant for our reviewer was how it engaged children in the ways that they make meaning of their faith: through stories, wondering, play, and tactile experiences (like bread making). The activities provide fun and enjoyable family experiences in a way that nurtures faith formation.
This curriculum is also flexible and inexpensive. There are a variety of ways to customize the lessons, with many options to choose from so that families can pick what works for them. The curriculum design also supports things Faith Formation Ministries values: wonder, a relational approach to discipleship, story, play, etc.
Our reviewer particularly loved the activity that invites families to create a personalized and simple table grace to use before meals.
This curriculum suffers from a bit of “audience confusion.” While it is obvious that this curriculum is set up as a family activity, it is designed as a curriculum that would be used by a Sunday school teacher. Positively, each lesson provides all the activity instructions and sample scripts for conversations. But the sessions use “school language” (“This script is a suggestion for how you might teach the lesson”). Family faith activities need to be more conversational and our reviewer was concerned that a parent might not understand how these scripts and prompts would guide a conversation.
Two lesser concerns include our observation that the storybook suggestions could use some discussion or wondering questions, and some of the activities could use a better tie-in to the lesson.
We’re very comfortable recommending this curriculum. It engages faith formation in a unique and fun way. We can easily see it being used in a family setting either as an interactive way to have family devotions or as a family night activity. Note that our reviewer didn't actually bake any of the bread, so we don’t know how the recipes work, though they did appear simple and easy for a family to do.
If you have any questions about curriculum for children’s ministry, contact Mimi Larson, Faith Formation Ministries’ Children’s Ministry Catalyzer, at [email protected].