“It is the culture of the whole church that is most influential in nurturing a vital Christian faith.” Leading educator John Roberto from Lifelong Faith spoke from US research about what makes congregations effective in ministry with young people. The Effective Youth Ministry study revealed that churches which were strong in youth ministry were in fact healthy faith communities for all ages.
Roberto is in Sydney for two key events exploring what lifelong faith formation might look like in a multi-faith, culturally diverse, digital-enabled world. 60 people from a range of churches in Australia and New Zealand gathered for a three day teaching intensive earlier in the. This weekend we’re hosting a national conference which will include a range of speakers and workshops on formation and mission in a digital age.
John invites us to think about different audiences and settings for faith formation. Much of our faith forming activity is aimed at the faithful core attenders of the church. We need different strategies to connect with occasional attenders, with those in the community who see themselves as “spiritual but not religious”, and with those who currently have no interest in either spirituality or religion.
He names eight faith-forming processes and invites churches to think differently about how these might take place – intergenerationally, in family settings, through digital communication.
- Caring relationships
- Celebrating the liturgical seasons
- Celebrating rituals and milestones
- Reading the Bible
- Learning the Christian tradition and applying to life
- Prayer, devotions and spiritual formation
- Serving and justice
- Worshipping God
The developers of the “Here2Stay” formational pillars for ministry draw heavily on Roberto’s work.
It is wonderful to be among a bunch of people who are passionate about forming faith.
John Roberto’s presentation materials for the events are available here.
[…] I based much of my part on the work of John Roberto from LifelongFaith.com. John is a US Catholic whose work has contributed a lot to the UCA for about 30 years. Last year we invited him to Australia for a series of events on 21st C Faith Formation. […]