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Thinking bigger about faith formation

Thinking bigger about faith formation


When I check out congregational websites, I’m always surprised with how much content is focused on what happens within the walls of the congregation.  In regard to faith formation, most websites would have you believe that the only way person is spiritually fed is to come to church and participate in a structured program.   Opportunities abound, however, for making faith formation a more organic and holistic process.  I believe that the church needs to think bigger about when, where and how faith formation occurs. John Roberto’s Guide to 21st Century Faith Formation suggests a few ways we can expand our vision for making faith formation a 24/7/365 experience.   Listed below are a few settings where faith forming activities could take place.

  1. On your own: online courses, reading, audio programs and podcasts, video programs and podcasts, apps, online faith formation websites
  2. Mentors, spiritual guides, and apprenticeships
  3. Large group: workshops, speaker series, multi-­‐session programs, single session program, roundtable discussions after Sunday worship, intergenerational programs, film festivals, conferences, field trips
  4. Small group methods: book clubs, online courses, discipleship or faith sharing groups, Bible study groups, theology study groups, Sunday lectionary-­‐based or sermon-­‐based faith sharing groups, practice-­‐focused groups (prayer, service/faith in action), support groups
  5. Retreats, camps, and extended programs
  6. Study-­‐action: study program with action projects, service projects and mission trips with reflection and learning
  7. Online tools and social media: blogs, wikis, video conferencing

Consider ways you might extend the congregational experience into daily through providing online resources. Consider ways congregational time can be used to equip people how to practice faith everyday, everywhere. Consider ways to share what people are already doing to form faith while at home or on the go. Faith is a verb, and can’t be compartmentalized to just a Sunday morning or two hour experience.  Think bigger by making forming faith a 24/7/365 experience.

Some Toughts (4)

  1. Cindy Mueller
    added on 28 Jun, 2014

    I couldn’t agree more – the challenge is helping a congregation make the adaptive changes necessary to live into such a culture shift.

  2. added on 30 Jun, 2014

    We do well until we get to number 7. I think we need to tap into and use some website Bible studies. Faith formation is not represented at all.

  3. Jim
    added on 9 Jul, 2014

    Cindy, how do you as a leader help other leader make adaptive changes? Tracey, what do we communicate to others when we DON’T provide online tools and resources for people?

  4. Tracey Harris
    added on 9 Jul, 2014

    I think what we inadvertently communicate when we don’t provide online tools and resources is that we are focused on you only when you are in our building. That is a sad place to be.

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