Home Grown Faith Formation Leaders

Home Grown Faith Formation Leaders

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In conversation with pastors and in looking over the current classified listings on the SNEUCC webpage, I notice that many congregations are seeking faith formation leaders for children, youth, and/or families.  The majority of these positions are half time or less, partly due to budget constraints and partly as a reflection of the numbers of children involved.  It is also true that there is not a pool of leaders poised to apply for these openings.  These realities call us to think creatively about how to staff this important ministry.

Instead of waiting for a veteran candidate to apply, why not cultivate one who may already be planted in your own backyard?  We often look outside our church family for staffing, but many of our most creative and passionate leaders grew out of their own local church setting.  You may be able to identify someone in your congregation who has heart for children, a mature faith, and willingness to learn.  With encouragement and accompaniment, a homegrown leader can have a powerful impact on your ministry. 

Any leader can benefit from professional development, and this is especially true for some one who is just starting in the role. There are three ways that our SNEUCC Faith Formation team can help you cultivate, nurture, and support new leaders:
  1.   SNEUCC Faith Formation Leadership Training and Certification  (FFLP)
New leaders will benefit from skill building and equipping through our FFLP classes.  Registration is now open for the 2022-23 series and some of the topics include Making Disciples, Developmental Ages and Stages, Worship and Sacraments, Creating Safe Environments, and Racial Justice.  Participants can select a few classes for enrichment or work towards a certification program.   These classes (offered on Zoom) provide an excellent grounding for ministry.
  1.  Communities of Practice (FF CoP)
There are twelve active communities for Faith Formation Leaders and each of these is led by a wise and dedicated facilitator.  Groups meet six to eight times per year and offer valuable support and resource sharing.  Here are some inspiring testimonials from current participants:  
  • My Community of Practice has given me tons of ideas and wisdom which I have taken into my ministry. My group has also been a safe place for me to share the joys, frustrations, and everything in between that this field brings.
  • It was very encouraging and uplifting. It gave me hope for the church to hear about the good work my colleagues are doing.
  • First, I feel more understood and supported because I can connect with peers doing similar ministry.  It is oddly comforting to share similar successes and frustrations.  Secondly, I feel more connected to the churches in my community because I now have relationships with other Faith Formation practitioners. It would be a blessing only to have peer support, but to have it within the same communities versus across greater distance makes the support feel more intimate.
  • The biggest blessing is the fellowship and camaraderie. Being able to connect and speak with others who KNOW what you're going through is truly priceless. My group is always willing to help and share ideas.
Fill out this FF CoP Interest form if you would like to be connected with a group.  This program is available at no charge thanks to your proportional giving for this shared ministry.
  1. Connect to resources
Our team is constantly curating materials and posting them to the Making Disciples page of the website.  You will find links for on everything from curriculum, to intergenerational worship, to church safety, and more.  To learn about upcoming events and programs, subscribe to Discipleship Matters our monthly newsletter.  For crowd sourcing and program announcements, feel free to join our Southern NE UCC Discipleship Facebook Group.  We want to be in relationship so be sure to send along contact information when you hire new staff members.

Investing in a new leader in these ways will provide a strong foundation of support in which they can grow and flourish in the holy work that is faith formation.   With a little cultivation a new leader can blossom and the ministry will bear fruit and bless your congregation. 
 

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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