A couple of years ago I was introduced to the work of John Roberto and his organization Lifelong Faith Associates. One of his projects is 21st Century Faith Formation and recently I have been recommending the first chapter of his book Faith Formation 2020 as an accessible and helpful introduction to the trends of post-Christendom. He’s also affiliated with an organization called Vibrant Faith which does similar work in 21st century faith formation.
I’ve been wanting to attend either a Lifelong Faith Associates or Vibrant Faith training for several years now but haven’t been able to fit it in my schedule. So I’m very happy that Fourth Church is hosting Leif Kehrwald today and tomorrow for Vibrant Faith’s Do What Matters! training. Their approach is akin to the Network Church model I posted about last week, so I’m finding this workshop very stimulating and encouraging.
I’ll plan on posting some reflections and questions generated by this experience this week. But I can go ahead and say that this is a great resource that I highly recommend for churches ready to think about faith formation in new ways. It brings together some of the best thinking in relationship-based ministry, family-based faith formation, 21st century realities, network theory, and digital culture.
Some takeaways and favorite points from today:
- Instead of creating programs we should be creating a faith-forming culture.
- Networks of fundamental/developmental relationships are critical.
- In the Bible “family” is more like this wider network of relationships than what we think of as the nuclear family.
- Faith formation needs to be based in the realities of the 21st century instead of assumptions that may or may not have been true generations ago. The primary assumption of the Sunday School model is that children were enveloped in a culture of faith. This is no longer the case.
- In a family we don’t learn through programs or lectures, but organically.
- We will always lose the battle if we expect people to come to our church buildings and suggest that if they don’t they have their priorities wrong. The church needs to change our paradigms rather than tell people their priorities are wrong.