Every event we have at our church is well attended. 98% of our children come each week, and are actively involved in ministry. Family Ministry is booming, with 80% active in weekly faith formation gatherings and fellowship events. 100% of youth on our roster are involved in some type of small group and are deeply committed to their faith. Sports are set aside for church. Plays, recitals, and other practices and performances are low in priority for our members – church is where it’s at. 24/7. Like God intended?
Don’t worry, the above statements aren’t true. You aren’t failing in your role as a minister of discipleship or faith formation or youth/children’s ministry.
Life is strange. Would you even want to be apart of a church where the first paragraph was true? Where sports weren’t important and children and youth had no other life except church? How boring and closed off to the world they would be!
The truth is, attendance and participation is low. People are busy, they have lives apart from church, and that IS A GOOD THING! Hear me – it is not something to judge or condemn. Just because families choose together time or extracurricular (music, dance, sports, art, etc.) over a church program doesn’t make them any less of a follower of Jesus
SO – what do we do? We who answered the call to professional ministry, whose joy is to teach people the gospel – the way of Love that Jesus taught us – to all people?
When I first started ministry 14+ years ago, program models worked fine, but even then in my area people were started to get busier outside of church. After moving to the North Shore of Chicagoland, I realized that program-approaches were not going to work, and more “take home” “at home” faith formation was necessary. After all, you can’t expect results if you only exercise/eat healthy one hour a week, so how can you expect your faith to be nurtured/strong just by being in the church building one hour a week?
One of our church vision statements was to “create habits of worship, prayer, and learning.” This is so profound, because it acknowledges that faith formation doesn’t just happen at church. It’s a habit that we create, a routine; a mindful, intentional act.
Long story short, I started to create holistic faith formation materials that would accompany the sermon series the Senior Pastor chose. Sometimes we’d even work together to choose the series/theme. Below are some of those ideas put into practice. Some are more full of activities while others are more inspirational/thought/conversation type topics.
What are you doing to promote at home faith formation?
May 2020 theme was “upside down” – Sermon on the Mount sermon series about living differently according to Jesus’ teachings
June 2020 theme is “Movie Time” – movies that spark thought and habits of relationship and service to one another
Easter 2020 Series