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625 results for Online Faith Formation
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Program Planning in Faith Communities
Curator Tim Shapiro
article
3 Big Communication Mistakes Organizations are Making During the COVID-19 Crisis
This no-nonsense article about communication during a crisis will help you look at the big picture, think creatively about leadership, and provide the information people need.
article New
Principles for Online Ritual Design
This practical guide helps congregants create their own sacred spaces and rituals from home or far away.
article
Resource List for Online Church
Written during COVID-19, this succinct guide quickly empowers congregations to transition to online platforms.
For The CRG Created For The CRG
Faith Life: A Millennial Perspective

Most people can carry a casual conversation with a young adult. If that seems like a challenge in your congregation, check out the first part of this blog Relationships: A Millennial Perspective.


How about discussing values and faith beliefs with that younger generation? It’s accurate to say “times have changed.” In many parts of the United States, it’s no longer assumed that people go to worship every week. This makes conversations about faith challenging –but not impossible.


As a congregational consultant and millennial, here’s what I think you should know about millennials and faith.


We value spirituality and group connection. Contrary to statistics declaring the decline of religion in America, millennials do care about spirituality. It just looks different. Consider the Harvard Divinity study How We Gather. Thriving millennial movements like Crossfit and The Dinner Party draw upon common elements: community, personal and social transformation, purpose finding, creativity and accountability.


Action step: Evaluate which of those elements your congregation does well. Practice talking about those benefits and invite potential newcomers.


Value us through hospitality. I appreciate worship services that allow casual clothes and free coffee. It’s not about the cool leader in jeans or the best local brew. It’s about inviting us to come as we are. If it’s between wearing jeans and not showing up, it’s better to have us show up in jeans.


Action step: Take time to evaluate the new visitor experience. This list of 50 Ways to Welcome New People will help. While staying true to your congregation’s culture, eliminate unnecessary discomfort for visitors.


We are likely to question faith and require a safe space to do that. Rather than accepting doctrine or marketing, young adults prioritize exploration and personal experiences to determine their beliefs. This allows for rich, yet messy, thinking. Author of The New Copernicans Dr. John Seel explains this well. I highly recommend checking out his book.


Action step: Practice active listening and humility to prioritize relationships. This is especially important when the other person doesn’t share your beliefs. Celeste Headlee’s TEDTalk will help you brush up on conversation skills. Once you build a trusting space, it becomes easier to dialogue about faith.


book
Generations Together: Caring, Praying, Learning, Celebrating, & Serving Faithfully
This comprehensive guide helps congregations lay the groundwork for establishing vibrant intergenerational churches.
web resource
Vibrant Faith @ Home
This interactive, online resource center offers free faith formation tips and tools to build a stronger, more faith-focused family.
For The CRG Created For The CRG
The Formative Power of Your Congregation

Many elements make you the person you are. You are shaped by your race, your geographic location, and your genetic structure. Your personality is formed by your family, your friends, and the choices you make along the way. You are influenced by education, social affiliations and friendships.

All of us are formed by the company we keep. The company we keep includes the congregation you attend. Whether you are aware of it or not, the activities of your congregation create certain thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make you who you are. In this way, your congregation has formative power.

Life together
I was reminded of the importance of being part of a religious community when a clergy person described a project happening in his congregation. He told me about a booklet being produced by the staff called Rule of Life. The Rule of Life is a guidebook outlining what it means to be part of the congregation.

The pastor says, “We want to encourage people to live a certain way of life.” Part of the guidebook is written as a catechism with answers to be learned and recited. Other parts of the guide describe specific practices in which one participates as a member of the congregation: at noon every day we are going to pray this Psalm.

If you read Psalm 23 every day, that Psalm is going to become part of who you are. The virtue of trust represented in the lines of the Psalm will more likely become part of your heart, mind and soul.

What elements are most formative in a congregation?
Of course, it depends on the particular congregation. I have observed and experienced the following activities having a positive impact on adherents:


  • Testimony, telling the story of their lives

  • Religious practices, particularly worship, prayer, singing, study of scripture, and rites of passages or sacraments

  • Reflection on practice: not just doing things but thinking about their impact with others

  • Relationships including across generations

  • Liminal experiences: pilgrimages, mission trips, cross-cultural experiences, spiritual retreats

Sharing stories
Here is an exercise to consider doing with a congregational board, team or class.

Remember a time when a congregational experience formed or reinforced a positive attribute in you. Write down the experience. Take turns sharing the stories out loud. Listeners are invited to ask open, curious questions to enhance group reflection. What themes are evident? What further growth might the congregation support?

Resources you can use
To consider this subject more, look at these resources: the books In Search of Wisdom, Community: The Structure of Belonging, and Living into Community.

 

periodical
Lifelong Faith Journal
The Life Long Faith Journal is an online free magazine available in PDF format that covers a wide range of topics, such as: faith formation in a missional age, cultivating a community of practice, the emerging media and the gospel, church leaders and tech visionaries, hybrid networking, drawing children to the center of congregational life, faith formation in small congregations, less talk-more action, infant faith formation and doing children’ s ministry differently.
web resource
Concerning COVID-19
This website provides guidelines for compassionate congregations during a crisis, instructions for live streaming and mass messaging, plus creative worship and faith formation resources.
article
Faith Formation in Adulthood
This resource combines theoretical and practical information to cover what a congregation needs to know about adult faith formation and why it matters.
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