Building Faith’s Top Picks for Adult Christian Formation Curriculum

Looking for the “best” curriculum for your adult Christian formation program? There are many options from a variety of publishers and denominations. The right choice depends entirely on your context and goals.

Below you’ll find a list of Building Faith’s favorite curriculum options based on theology, availability, and pedagogy. The articles in our Curriculum Center can help you identify your needs, capabilities, and hopes. Looking for more support? Join our free weekly Office Hours or reach out via email.

How To Use This List

For each curriculum “top pick” we list the name, publisher, publication date, age group, curriculum contents, and a brief summary. We have done our best to include helpful information such as:

  • how the curriculum works
  • number of lessons included
  • digital media options
  • additional accompanying resources
  • materials available in Spanish and French
  • availability of corresponding curricula for other age groups (children, youth, intergenerational)

We have organized the options alphabetically by name under two types of curriculum (based on this “5 Types of Sunday School Curriculum“ article):

  • lectionary-based
  • thematic

Additionally, we have focused this list on Christian formation curriculum for churches to use with adults throughout the year. While some of the options below may work well in various settings and with various age groups, the list does not feature seasonal curriculum or resources designed specifically for Bible study, confirmation, at-home settings, or intergenerational formation. For adult Bible study resources, check out our Top Picks for Adult Bible Study Curriculum. For adult confirmation options, see our Top Picks for Confirmation Curriculum. For intergenerational program resources, see our Top Picks for Intergenerational Curriculum. For seasonal resources, a good place to start is our Articles by Topic page.

The name of the curriculum provides a link to the curriculum’s website. The name of the publisher links to their “About” page where you can learn more about their theological approach. If you follow the link for each church denomination, you can review their statement of belief.

As always, when choosing a curriculum for your setting, take into account the theology, biblical interpretation, context, materials, and representation of human identities and experiences as you discern which curriculum might be the best fit for your context.

Lectionary-based Top Picks (Updated 2023)

1. Feasting on the Word

This curriculum revolves around exploring Bible stories through the lectionary cycle. The young adult and adult curriculum resources are part of a collection of formation curriculum for the whole church so that children, youth, and adults can engage the same lectionary scriptures in age-appropriate ways. The full scope and sequence of 52 lessons from September 2023 – August 2024 focuses the majority of sessions on the gospel readings with select Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms readings interspersed. Lessons in the adult curriculum include group dialogue, scripture reading, activities, and prayer, and the lessons for young adults provide a series of conversation prompts designed to be flexible for a variety of settings. You can access sample lessons on the curriculum website.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Westminster John Knox, 2022 – present, new publications annually (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.))
  • Age group(s): young adult and adult
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for purchase by age group for each season (fall, winter, spring, summer) or the whole year in printed or digital formats; it involves a leader guide, and the adult version leader guide includes resource sheets

2. Reading Between the Lines

This curriculum was formerly known as BibleWorkbench. It is designed to help adults engage scriptures from the Revised Common Lectionary in reflective and experiential ways. The curriculum provides weekly lessons for the whole year, and it can be used for personal or group study. Lessons include attention to biblical context, questions for imaginative reflection, prompts for connecting scripture to contemporary situations, and additional readings to put in conversation with the scripture. You can view a sample lesson on the publisher’s website.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: The Educational Center, at least from 2017 – present, new publications ongoing (not affiliated with a specific church denomination)
  • Age group(s): adults
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for purchase in printed and digital formats by issues containing 8 – 9 weeks of lessons, six-month subscriptions, or full-year subscriptions; it involves a study guide for all participants

Thematic Top Picks (Updated 2023)

1. Animate

This curriculum seeks to facilitate formative learning, conversation, critical and creative thinking, and practices about central dimensions of Christian faith and life. It is designed for adults of all ages. The curriculum addresses three main topics: Faith, Bible, and Practices (see links for each scope and sequence). Each topic contains 7 lessons that feature videos with church leaders and scholars as well as journals to prompt group discussion. You can view sample materials on the publisher’s website.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Sparkhouse, 2012 – 2014 (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
  • Age group(s): adults; we think it may also be beneficial for high school youth (grades 9 – 12)
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for purchase by topic in printed or digital format; it involves a facilitator guide, participant journal, and DVD; lessons can also be purchased individually

2. Current

This curriculum provides opportunities for in-depth exploration of core dimensions of Christian life. The curriculum is tailored to four age groups — preschool children, elementary age children, youth, and adults — as well as to intergenerational groups so that the whole community can participate in a common formation program. It consists of 3 different series: “Seeking Justice Together,” “Seeking God Together,” and “Seeking Peace Together” (see links for each scope and sequence). Each series contains 13 lessons, and lessons for adults include prayer, spiritual practices, scripture reading, discussion, and activities. You can view sample lessons on the curriculum website.

Additional Information

3. Dialogues On

This curriculum offers three different series of lessons with the aim of fostering generative group conversations on social justice topics. The series include “The Refugee Crisis,” “Sexuality,” and “Race,” and each series contains 7 lessons (see links for scope and sequence for each topic). Lessons consist of preparatory readings, group discussion, personal storytelling, opportunities to practice dialogue techniques, short videos, and group activities. You can view sample lessons on the publisher’s website.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Sparkhouse, 2018 – 2019 (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
  • Age group(s): adults
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for purchase by topic unit; it involves a facilitator guide, learner book, and accompanying DVD

4. Follow Me: Biblical Practices for Faithful Living

This curriculum is designed to help adults learn about key Christian practices for a life of faith. The adult curriculum is part of a formation series for the whole church so that children, youth, and adults can all explore the same Christian practices concurrently in age-appropriate ways. The practices include “Welcome All,” “Pray,” “Do Justice,” “Worship God,” and many more. The full scope and sequence consists of 36 units that span four years, and each unit involves 4 – 6 lessons on a specific practice, resulting in around 38 lessons per year. The adult curriculum features a reflection guide for personal or group use as well as a leader guide for groups. Lessons include scriptures that illuminate the practices, multiple activity options and discussion questions about the practices, and prayer. You can download a sample lesson on the curriculum website and also view videos about the curriculum on the Growing Faith Resources YouTube channel.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Growing Faith Resources, 2020 – present, with more lessons forthcoming (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.))
  • Age group(s): adults
  • Contents: The curriculum is available for purchase by unit in printed or digital format, and it consists of a leader guide and participant reflection guide; accompanying infographic posters are also available

5. Lesson Plans That Work for Youth and Young Adults

This curriculum provides opportunities for young adults to engage justice through scripture, group learning and discussion, individual and group activities, and prayer. It consists of two 8-session series of lessons, one on “Racial Justice” and another on “Climate Justice.” The curriculum offers age-specific lessons for both youth and young adults. You can view the full scope and sequence of each series and also access all the lessons for free in the topic links.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Department of Faith Formation of The Episcopal Church, 2021 (The Episcopal Church)
  • Age group(s): young adults; corresponding lessons available for middle and high school youth
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for free by age group in digital format; it involves lesson plans for leaders; additional resources and recommended readings for racial justice are also available

6. Living the Way of Love in Community

This curriculum enables adults to learn about the seven practices of the Way of Love in small groups and to discern ways of incorporating the practices into their lives. It involves 9 lessons for sessions intended to last 90 minutes with possible meal fellowship for an additional 30 minutes. The lessons include prayer, group discussion, reflection and writing activities, and worship. You can access the full curriculum along with additional Way of Love resources in English, Spanish, and French for free on the curriculum website.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: The Episcopal Church, 2018, revised 2019
  • Age group(s): adults
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for free in digital format; it consists of a facilitator guide that includes printable resources for participants

7. Making Sense

This curriculum engages adults in reflection and conversation about major theological questions. The full scope and sequence consists of 4 different series on the topics of scripture, Christian faith, the cross, and Martin Luther with 6 – 8 lessons in each series. Lessons include preparatory readings for participants, short videos, group discussion and activities, scripture study, and suggested activities for participants to do throughout the week. You can view a sample lesson on the curriculum website.

Additional Information

8. Pilgrim: A Course for the Christian Journey

This curriculum offers both an introduction to Christian faith and formation for deepening Christian discipleship. It contains 2 stages, “Follow” and “Grow,” and both stage cover 4 topics with 6 – 7 lessons for each topic, totaling over 48 lessons. Topics include the Baptismal Covenant in The Book of Common Prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, creeds, the Bible, and more. Lessons involve prayer, scripture reading with lectio divina, reflections to read and discuss, and ways to continue engaging the lesson during the week. You can view a sample lesson on the publisher’s website.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Church Publishing, 2016 (The Episcopal Church)
  • Age group(s): adults
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for purchase by topic in printed format; it involves a participant book for each topic and a leader guide

9. Transforming Questions

This curriculum is designed to help adults grapple with key questions about faith and life. It seeks to make space for asking questions and being formed and transformed through the asking. The curriculum covers 10 lessons on different questions with a bonus lesson on the Episcopal tradition, and the topics treated include questioning faith, Jesus’s identity, how to read the Bible, what happens after death, and more. Lessons involve leader presentations and small group discussions with the option for extending a 60-minute session with a 30-minute meal together. You can access a sample with the scope and sequence as well as the full curriculum in digital format for free on the curriculum website.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Forward Movement, 2015 (The Episcopal Church)
  • Age group(s): adults
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for free in digital format; it involves a facilitator’s guide and participant guide; the participant guide and a companion book called Faithful Questions are also available for purchase in printed format

Adult Curriculum Chart (2016)

Access the printable “2016 Curriculum Overview for Young Adult and Adult Formation” by Sharon Ely Pearson


Editor’s Note: This article was last published on June 14, 2021. It has been revised, updated, and republished on August 23, 2023.

Featured image is by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash


Source link

Write a comment

Verified by MonsterInsights