Called to Lead: Faith Formation Across Generations

Small children, donned in fancy dresses and sparkly shoes or jeans or pajama bottoms, dart here and there to find the right classrooms on Sunday mornings.  A smiling teacher greets them while they sit down on miniature seats next to baskets filled to the brim with crayons and markers, glue and glitter as they learn their next Bible story. About 45-minutes later they emerge, completed craft in hand, sharing a story of what they’ve learned with parents, grandparents and other adults.

This image undoubtedly brings smiles to our faces. But, does the church have things a little bit backwards? Given that most mainline congregations are dominated by adults, why don’t we see adults darting off in their Sunday best to a variety of classes on Bible, worship, theology or church history? Why don’t we see them engaging in spiritual practices like Lectio Divina, a labyrinth walk or silent meditation?

The book Faith Formation 2020 by John Roberto, which our Called to Lead groups are reading this year, challenges us to think about faith formation across generations. How do we continue to form and nurture the faith of young people and adults from different generations? How can we think about faith formation to adults who are brand new to the church or who are returning after a long time?

10 Responses to Called to Lead: Faith Formation Across Generations

  1. Linda Cron says:

    The book Faith Formation 2020 overwhelms me, challenges me, and excites me. At first glance, accomplishing all the tasks put forth in the book seems like way too much for our small church. But somehow, the questions posed in this book will not release me. I find myself thinking about it, even while stopped at a red light. The book keeps prompting looking forward, making a plan, being aware of who all the people are connected (and not connected) with our church in all the levels of interest, involvement, age, and life situations. How do we ensure the spirit of life and love and caring stay vital in our faith community as it is and as it could be in the future. Coincidentally, I attended a leadership group at work today in which a leadership trainer DVD clip presented one woman’s life experience stories and how they relate to leadership. A phrase she used snapped into focus for me: “Complacency ensures extinction.” This phrase seemed to sum up the core message in the book. We need to do something to grow into and with the future of the church. Complacency will not work. Pastor Dan would say, “Must have been the spirit at play today!” with the DVD message….. One of the strategies in the book is to create opportunities for intergenerational experiences to help grow the life of the church. Our home church Mayflower has tried this through “Share Synod Sundays.” The youth who attended synod purchased some DVDs of synod worship services and events to share with the members at home. The first Sunday of the month the Coffee House Crew (middle and high school) meets with the adult class to show a Synod DVD clip and share discussion. This class is quickly becoming the favorite one of the month for both age groups. The enthusiasm is palpable! For me, this is a lesson in paying attention to stepping stones rather that fighting the road blocks. In this reflection, the title of the book 2020 takes on another angle. Does 2020 mean the year by which we have our goals and targets in place with with a plan……… and/or does it mean we can see more clearly (2020 vision) the possibilities that are waiting to be discovered and acted upon? Something to think about.

  2. Linda,

    Your comments are profound! Your comment about seeing the stepping stones rather than the roadblocks reminds me of a lesson I learned when I was learning to do mountain biking years ago. The instructor said, “If you stare at a rock, you’re going to hit the rock. Look instead for the through line.” I’ve rarely mountain biked again, but I’ve often thought of that lesson and how it applies to SO many things. I’ve found it crucial in my ministry lately to go ONLY where there is energy. If people have energy around a particular project or program, go there and build from that. I really work hard not to waste energy where there is only complacency or apathy. It’s truly a discipline that I keep working hard on.

  3. Linda Cron says:

    Funny you should mention the bike story. You shared that with us at some meeting and I have never forgotten the message. It helps me keep my eye on a target passage!

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