Do everything in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14

Every gathering with children should be meaningful
– both for children and  teachers –
and aim to have a positive impact on the life of
children, families, and the church community. 

Love First is not only
a curriculum,
but a different approach to children’s ministry.
Love First engages the whole church, not just the children.
And it aims to help parents raise the loving and compassionate children they mean to raise.

It is…


Love First was designed to address the needs of today’s children, teachers, parents and entire church communities. We begin with an age-appropriate bible story, and find ways to make it come alive in children’s lives today. We do that by pairing it with current events, contemporary literature and media. Our aim is to make children’s faith come alive outside of Sunday morning.


Each week we talk about love: loving self, loving neighbor and loving God. This makes it easy for children (even the sporadic attendees) to understand our purpose for gathering, and it keeps parents in the loop. Each week, parents can simply ask, “Who did you talk about loving today?”


Relying heavily on research from The Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Love First strives to foster empathy and compassion in children by developing a practice of caring for others. We commit to being a place where children and their families can practice being compassionate in a community that values love and compassion. 

I commend this book to anyone who is in charge of a children’s program at a church, for clergy looking to make meaningful changes in programs, and for parents who are wondering how church can help in the process of raising loving children.

Amy Cook

Episcopal Diocese of California

Love First has been so helpful to me. I am able to easily tweak the lessons based on the age group of the kids we have each week. They love circle time, and the bible story suggestions associated with the different lessons are wonderful. This has made so much of a difference for me this year. Taking the time to create meaningful lessons for the different age groups has really been my struggle in the past. I do not feel challenged anymore with making sure the short time I have with the children is meaningful. I can’t say enough great things about the curriculum. What you have created is really special and I am so grateful to have these tools to share with our children.  Thank you!

Jaime Davin

Sunday School Teacher, Church of the Epiphany, East Providence, RI

Love first should be required reading for anyone charged with childhood faith formation in the local church.  The story of St. Barnabas’ journey toward meaningful and sustainable children’s ministry will inspire, challenge, and unstick many churches from the ‘what is’ to the ‘what could be.’

The Rev. Ivy Beckwith, PhD

Faith Formation Minister, United Church of Christ