Amid the trend of online monthly box subscription services, Amanda Monroe thought there should be one to help spark faith conversations between family members.
The 29-year-old director of children’s and family ministry at Grace Lutheran Church in Loves Park, Ill., recently created “Faith Fix Boxes” to help families open up about their faith.
Much like online box-of-the-month subscription services, such as Stitch Fix or Graze, that provide monthly packages of clothing, food or other products to subscribers, Faith Fix Boxes are filled with Christian resources that can be ordered online and mailed to you monthly.
Monroe hopes they will make a positive difference in the lives of their recipients.
Inside each box are themed activities and devotions, plus additional games, crafts and other items aimed at bringing families closer and creating conversations that might not come up otherwise, Monroe said.
“A lot of the questions [the boxes ask] are just life questions,” she said. “When is a time you’ve struggled with something? Who are some people you see who need God’s love?”
Joni Meichtry of Rockton, Ill., has used several Faith Fix Boxes with her husband, Mark, and 11-year-old twins, Jonathan and Mitchell. “I think it’s great,” she said. “It helps me do something a little serious with them. Boys don’t know how to talk about feelings. They don’t want to discuss anything, so it actually opens up an avenue to talk about stuff.”
Each Faith Fix Box costs $25 (a five-box deal is $100) and contains four weeks of faith-based materials.
The “God is Love” box, for example, helps families explore how much God loves them. Families receive dice, gold coins and game pieces for a board game based on the story of the prodigal son, and they learn how love can be shown in the form of forgiveness. In another activity, they read the story of the good Samaritan and then create a first aid kit as a family.
“They can talk about those supplies and how we can help people—not necessarily with those supplies—but how we can help people by sharing God’s love, such as sitting with [someone] at lunch if they don’t have anyone else to sit with,” Monroe said. “[It’s a way to] talk about those everyday life things.”
Monroe’s two popular “Superhero” boxes discuss Jesus’ life and his superhero acts, such as healing the blind man, turning water into wine and the greatest act of all—dying on the cross and rising from the dead.
The boxes are geared toward 3-year-olds to sixth-graders. While that’s a large age range, the activities, crafts and family challenges are engaging in different ways, she said.
From idea to reality
The idea for Faith Fix Boxes came to Monroe almost two years ago. While at a training for local church leaders, she and her colleagues were asked several questions: How could they do more for families? What resources could they provide?
“I sat there and was thinking about conversations I’ve had with parents,” Monroe said. “The one thing that kept coming back in my mind [was parents saying], ‘I would love to do more with our family at home and talk about faith. I’m just not sure where to start.’ ”
The popularity of subscription boxes intrigued Monroe—she used the clothing service Stitch Fix and a similar baby product subscription service when her daughter was born. She didn’t see why faith subscription boxes couldn’t work.
After six months of planning, Monroe debuted her idea to her home congregation last fall. Instead of receiving boxes in the mail, families were encouraged to pick them up at church.
And they did. The boxes quickly increased in popularity, from a handful picking them up to 60 families this past April.
As the numbers grew, Monroe felt the push to extend her service to more people. She opened an online store in January, and people from across the country have purchased Faith Fix Boxes.
She’s also created Faith Fix packages for churches to purchase. This allows congregations to download the devotional that comes in each Faith Fix Box and access the supply list so they can put together boxes for members on their own.
“A couple of churches purchased them to send out during the summer months when attendance drops,” Monroe said. “Others purchased them to send home regularly. It was exciting to see that other churches were interested in having this resource for their families as well.”
Meichtry believes the boxes also may be a great segue for those who don’t regularly attend church to bring Christ into their homes.
Monroe would like to see her ministry grow, with boxes making a difference in the faith lives of families everywhere. “One family [told me] the kids went off to school and all the buzz in the car was they wanted to come home and do the box together,” she said. “That’s what’s special—not that they want to do the box, but they want to sit down and do them together.”