As I reflect back on life a year ago, I’m amazed both by how far we’ve come and how far we still are from what I thought life would look like at this point. Last summer I imagined we’d be past the COVID finish line as fall approached, able to completely return to life as normal. But as the Delta variant makes its way through the world, I find that I’m still uncertain what the coming months will look like in school and at church, particularly for my young kids who cannot yet be vaccinated.
In the midst of this reality, I’m so grateful for Dwell Flex and the ways it continues to bless churches in flux. Launched last fall, Dwell Flex—a new multi-age, multi-setting edition of Dwell—adapts to a variety of contexts, making it the perfect option for churches that are unsure what this fall will look like. The 36 New Testament sessions (available now) and 36 Old Testament sessions (currently being released) work with a wide range of ages and in a wide variety of settings, including by video, at church, and at home.
Over the past year, I’ve had the joy of observing just how flexible these materials are, as I’ve seen the variety of ways churches have made use of this resource. Here are just a few ways churches have been blessed by these materials:
- First Christian Reformed Church of Barrie, Ontario and Covenant CRC in Edmonton, Alberta used Dwell Flex to create videos to help parents to lead their children through a Dwell session at home. (See this CRC News article to read more about how these churches used Flex.) Using Dwell Flex in this way allowed many churches to continue children’s ministry while not meeting in person during the pandemic. Moving forward, many churches are finding videos created from Dwell Flex sessions are also a simple way to encourage at-home family faith formation.
- Bellefield Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, used Dwell Flex to lead online Sunday school this past year. Each week, the kids would sign on to Google Meet, gathering together to hear God’s Big Story even while apart. Some weeks pets, toys, and stuffed animals joined the fun, as kids shared prayer requests and exciting news from their past week, and processed together what was happening in the world around them.
- Rise Up Church, a church plant in Cedar Springs, Michigan, transitioned to Dwell Flex from the Kid Connection curriculum when Dwell Flex was released last fall. They’ve used Dwell Flex for their multi-age children’s ministry program that includes ages 3-12, with the older children being trained as helpers.
This is just a sampling of the ways Dwell Flex has blessed churches across North America. Moving forward, churches are beginning to imagine how Dwell Flex will help them transition out of the pandemic. Because Dwell Flex adapts to a variety of situations, churches can use the materials for online children’s ministry and then continue using the same content when they are able to transition back to in person ministry.
Some churches are also considering using the primary age-graded Dwell materials for in-person children’s ministry, while also continuing to create family faith formation resources with Dwell Flex. The hope is to build on what many parents have already been doing, using Dwell Flex and the accompanying God’s Big Story cards to equip parents to continue faith formation at home.
Additionally, many churches are considering a both/and approach: using Dwell Flex both for in-person children’s ministry, and also for parents to use at home. This is particularly helpful for children who, after a year of being home with their families, may not want to leave the worship service for children’s ministry, or for families who may not yet be attending in person with their unvaccinated children.
Due to the popularity and possibilities of Dwell Flex, we’ve decided to build these materials into a four-year curriculum, and are currently releasing the second year, comprised of Old Testament sessions. Dwell Flex is included at no extra cost to churches with an existing subscription to Dwell Digital. More information about this exciting resource can be found on the Dwell website.