Broadening our faith formation pathways

16 09 2013

RailwayTracks 21-15-29I’ve noticed that most congregations have a very limited vision for when and where faith formation occurs.  Most focus on what happens in the congregation via Sunday School, Forums, confirmation, and in worship settings.  We encourage congregations to build on what’s already working in these settings while also being open to new ways for helping people celebrate life shaping faith. Listed below are a few questions to help you to expand your repertoire of faith formation opportunities that take place at and beyond the congregation.

How are we helping people learn on their own and learn online?

  1. Do we provide Bible reading plans?
  2. Do we provide a list of recommended books about the Bible, theology, prayer and spiritual practices?
  3. Do we provide or direct people to online Bible and theology courses?
  4. Do we provide or direct people to podcasts, Youtube clips, and blogs that grow their faith and develop their leadership skills?
  5. Do we direct people to radio stations and television programs?
  6. Do we provide DVDs and other learning resources for people to check out?
  7. Do we provide or direct people to spiritual directors, mentors and apprenticeship opportunities?
  8. Do we direct people to retreat center programs, college lectures, community plays and regional church programs?
  9. Do we direct people to lectures and trainings that help people become advocates for causes they care about?
  10. Do we highlight learning opportunities offered by other local congregations?

What can we do to help facilitate learning in small groups?

  1. Do we offer book clubs or resources for people to start their own?
  2. Do we offer Bible Study group, Lectionary-based groups, or prayer groups?
  3. Do we offer discipleship or faith sharing groups?
  4. Do we offer special interest groups or movie discussion groups?
  5. Do we offer life transition groups or recovery groups?
  6. Do we offer Living Your Strengths and other settings for people to discover their sense of vocation?
  7. Do we offer servant events and mission trips?

What can we do to facilitate learning in large groups at and beyond the congregation?

  1. Do we offer field trips to local museums, plays, concerns and lectures ?
  2. Do offer financial planning courses such as Financial Peace University?
  3. Do we offer parenting and grand parenting programs?
  4. Do we celebrate milestones at and beyond the congregation?
  5. Do we offer beginning, intermediate and advance training tracks on faith formation?
  6. Do we offer trainings that develop people’s skills such as Stephen Ministry or the Befriender program?
  7. Do we offer ongoing leadership training and development opportunities?

What might your congregation need to pay closer attention to in the future to make faith formation opportunities available to all people, at all times?



One response

23 10 2013

I realize our short-comings in the first section, even point #1. My congregation has chosen to not buy a full set of ELW’s however, we of course have enough Bible’s for everyone. I would love to have a ‘Bring your Bible to worship’ routine. I think it would be great for the younger generations to see and I believe good footnotes are some of the most interesting and pertinent information to help us grow.

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