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 to buildfaith@vts.edu.

How To Use This List

  • For each curriculum “top pick” we list the name, publisher, publication date (if applicable), age group, and a brief summary. We have done our best to include helpful information in the summaries such as:
    • Age group breakdowns
    • Digital media options
    • Materials available in Spanish
  • Click on the name of the curriculum to visit the webpage for the curriculum.
  • Click on the name of the publisher to learn more about the theological background of the curriculum and click on the denomination (if applicable) to read their statement of belief.
  • As always, when choosing a curriculum for your setting, take into account the theology, Biblical interpretation, context, materials, and representation. Use the articles in our curriculum center to help discern which curriculum might be the best fit for your context.

Top Picks for General Adult Curriculum (Updated June 2021)

A list of “top picks” for adult Bible study curriculum can be found here.

Animate
Publisher & Date: Sparkhouse (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), 2012-2016
Age Group: Young adult (also appropriate for high school youth)
Summary: This curriculum is divided into three areas: faith, Bible, and practices. Each session includes a video featuring a leading voice from the Christian faith which can be followed by journaling time, group reflection, or both. This resource is available as a complete curriculum or as individual sessions.
*Digital content available through Sparkhouse Digital

ChurchNext
Publisher & Date: Independently Published (Episcopal)
Age Group: Adult
Summary: This is an online learning platform with a wide variety of sessions and courses from Bible studies to building healthy families, managing finances, racial justice, Confirmation, marriage preparation, church history, theology, prayer and more. The courses could be used by individuals, small groups, or entire congregations.

Education for Ministry (EFM)
Publisher & Date: The Beecken Center of The School of Theology, The University of the South (Episcopal), revised 2020
Age Group: Adult
Summary: EFM is a four-year program that offers a certificate in theological education. The format centers on small groups of study and practice led by a trained mentor. Together groups study, worship, and engage in deep theological reflection.

Embracing Series
Publisher & Date: Morehouse Education Resources, a division of Church Publishing (Episcopal), 2010
Age Group: Young adult and adult
Summary: This is a video-based curriculum offering topical units featuring video teaching by well-known theologians. Each unit is divided into five or six sessions and includes a workbook. Topics include forgiveness, prophets, and spiritual awakening.

FaithLink: Connecting Faith and Life
Publisher & Date: Cokesbury (United Methodist), 2020
Age Group: Adult
Summary: FaithLink offers topical studies that help participants connect their faith to current events and daily life. This curriculum offers a wide range of topics from climate change, to immigration, mental health, and homelessness.

Feasting on the Word
Publisher & Date: The PC(USA) Store (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)), 2020
Age Group: Adult (corresponding children and youth curriculums available)
Summary: This curriculum follows the Revised Common Lectionary and allows groups of different ages to explore the same Bible passage each week. It explores the “what, where, so what, and now what of each biblical passage” through a variety of learning and teaching styles.

Lesson Plans that Work
Publisher & Date: The Episcopal Church, 2021
Age Group: Young adults and youth (curriculum for children also available)
Summary: This curriculum offers new lesson plans this year for middle school students, high school students, and young adults. The lessons are thematic and focus on topics of the day such as racial justice and healing, creation care, and equality.
*This curriculum is a free, downloadable resource.

Living Compass
Publisher & Date: The Samaritan Family Wellness Foundation
Age Group: Adults, Parents (curriculum for teens and kids also available)
Summary: The Adult Faith & Wellness Circle serves as the core of the adult curriculum from The Living Compass. It is designed for a small group of adults to meet together with a facilitator for six sessions to discuss faith, wellness, balance, and decision making. It would work well for a small group of adults of a similar life stage such as retired, empty nesters, young adults, etc. A curriculum for a separate Parent Faith & Wellness Circle is also available.

Pilgrim: A Course for the Christian Journey
Publisher & Date: Church Publishing (Episcopal)
Age Group: Adult
Summary: This curriculum is designed specifically for seekers and new Christians to explore what it means to be on the Christian journey. There are eight courses: Turning to Christ, The Lord’s Prayer, The Commandments, The Beatitudes, The Creeds, The Eucharist, The Bible, and Church & Kingdom. Each course offers six sessions that follow a similar pattern of prayer, reflection on a biblical selection using lectio divina, an article by a modern writer, and reflection questions.

Reading Between The Lines
Publisher & Date: The Educational Center
Age Group: Adult
Summary: Reading Between The Lines (formerly BibleWorkbench) is a lectionary based curriculum designed for small group education or individual study. For each week, one text from the Revised Common Lectionary is highlighted.

The Work of the People
Publisher & Date: The Work of the People
Age Group: Adult
Summary: The Work of the People is a visual library featuring short films for folks exploring spiritual questions. These films can be used in a variety of ways, including large groups, small groups, individual study, worship, and retreat settings. You can search for films on the website by topic, keyword, scripture reference, the lectionary, and author names.

Transforming Questions
Publisher & Date: Forward Movement (Episcopal), 2015
Age Group: Adult
Summary: This curriculum offers ten sessions that are appropriate for use with both longtime Christians and newcomers. It invites participants to engage the basic questions of the Christian faith through a combination of teaching and conversation.

A list of “top picks” for adult Bible study curriculum can be found here.


Special thanks to Sharon Ely Pearson for consulting with the Building Faith editors for this article. Sharon recently retired as Editor & Christian Formation Specialist with Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI) with 35+ years of experience in Christian formation on the local, judicatory, and church-wide level. Known for her knowledge of the variety of published curricula across the Church, she has also had her hand in the birthing of numerous books, including the best-seller, Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People and the 6-book series of Faithful Celebrations: Making Time for God. A graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary (2003) and a lifelong Episcopalian, she lives in Norwalk, Connecticut with her husband John, a 17.5 lb. cat named Shadow, and Chobe, a 7-year-old, tennis-ball-fetching, rescue black lab. They have two adult children (both teachers) and a 5-year-old granddaughter who is a budding environmental activist. Follow her at www.rowsofsharon.com.


Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash.

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