Our Common Life…Words from the Conference Staff
Meeting the Challenge. Some days I really like my job. I actually like my job most days, even on the bad ones. But, this week was likeable in fairly remarkable ways.
This week I started facilitating the Called to Lead groups that have formed around the conference. These groups are made up of lay and authorized ministers who do children, youth and family ministries in their local churches. These are Sunday school teachers, youth leaders and even some pastors who are committed to working with young people and their families.
I am always amazed at the passion and creativity with which these people approach this important ministry. This week, during which I met with about 20 of these folks, was no exception. We are reading together the book Faith Formation 2020 by John Roberto. This book challenges church leaders to think more holistically about faith formation programming. In other words, it asks readers to consider the current realities churches are facing in order to plan more vibrant ways to form faith in all kinds of people – young, old, longtime church members and those new to church.
This book challenges readers to consider wider social trends. The statistic sharply point to the increasing numbers of people who do not affiliate religiously; not surprisingly the numbers of people participating in churches continues to decline. Not an easy thing to read if you’re a church leader who is passionate and excited about passing along the faith to young people.
I was impressed with the courage of the folks attending these gatherings this week. They allowed themselves to be pushed, named the ways in which the book challenged them and already started to dream ways in which they can better form faith in their own churches.
Being part of these groups gives me hope for the church. Knowing that there are a significant number of people who are willing to be challenged and who are willing to challenge their own congregations to move into new territory reinforces my conviction that the church is on the verge of a tremendous resurrection.
Please hold us in prayer or even approach me if you want to start a group in your area next year! I’m humbled and blessed to walk this journey with you.