Charting a New Course for Faith Formation

Charting a New Course for Faith Formation

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To say that the pandemic has turned our world upside down is an understatement. In our ministry we have skirted potholes and faced detours. We have planned programs only to have to re-route, postpone, or scrap our ventures entirely.  In spite of these challenges, faith formation leaders have proved to be a persistent and creative bunch.  You have pivoted programming and maintained connections with families, always with the goal of sharing God’s love.

In peacetime or war, in times of plenty or hardship, the message of God’s steadfast love endures. We know that generations before us have responded by delivering faith in new ways that met the needs of their day.  The stories and teachings of Jesus have been shared at the seaside and in the desert, in rustic churches and grand cathedrals, in homes and in communities. Whether we teach in person or online, our call is to love and serve the Lord and pass along the gift of faith to the next generation.  

Covid has prompted us all to take stock and re-assess.  This is a good time for faith formation leaders to step back from the day-to-day details of ministry and climb up to the balcony to reflect. What are surprises or successes of the last two years? What new ministry or approach is needed for the future?  Which programs can you let go of?

We are called not only to adapt, but also to innovate.  Innovation is a pro-active and intentional process. The first phase involves dreaming, planning, and preparation for a new direction. If the initiative involves something that marks a big shift away from familiar routines or traditions, it is wise to try it as an experiment with a set period of limit.  Then, while implementing the experiment, it is crucial to take notice.  Pay attention to the impact.  Who participated, and who was absent? What kind of energy was present?  Where did the spirit show up? How did it meet your ministry mission and goals for faith formation?  Finally, take some time to debrief and reflect on the experience. What needs tweaking? How can you iterate? Use these observations to help determine your next steps before repeating the cycle.

Here are three resources that you might find helpful as you re-imagine faith formation for these times: Jesus calls us to go out into the world and share God’s love. Let us care for children and their families, and encourage opportunities for sharing faith in the home. Let us look beyond the church walls to connect with the wider community.  Let us be a light to those who are unchurched and may be hungry for hope.

Prayer:  O God, show me the way.  My destination is deeper discipleship and a faith filled with vitality.  Be a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path.
 

 
 

Author

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Debby D. Kirk

Debby Kirk is the Faith Formation Team Leader of the Southern New England Conference.  She serves on the Faith Formation Team and oversees the Youth and Young Adult Ministries programs of the Conference. She organizes leadership development programs ...

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