Like many of you, the weekend before Thanksgiving our family startsgoing through all of our Christmas boxes as we prepare to decorate our home the following weekend. The minute the turkey is eaten and the guests have all gone home we shift gears. I smiled as we unpacked the nativity set my husband gave me for Christmas years ago. I thought about how it reminds me daily throughout Advent to reflect on the story of Jesus’ birth.
Mary and Joseph sought a place of comfort for Mary to give birth. They wanted someone to receive them, to offer hospitality, to welcome them home. Instead, Mary and Joseph found comfort in a stable. They created their own “togetherness’ with the shepherds, the wise men, and the animals—all who gathered around this newborn baby in a manger. Perhaps the nativity image might be one that offers us hope, consolation, and comfort while also challenging us to welcome others. To make room for another in need. To practice transformational hospitality.
This year I’ve found myself reflecting on the word comfort. There are so many people in need of comfort. Exploring the word and its meaning, I also came across a 16-century Norwegian term, hugga, which means “to comfort” or ”to console.” It is related to the English word “hug.” Last year we missed comforting one another. We missed hugs. I missed hugging my parents, my siblings, my friends. We missed touching one another at the holidays.
Of course, in my deeper dive into the word comfort, I couldn’t miss the Danish derivative of hugga, called “hygge”—it now represents an entire lifestyle trend defined by “togetherness,” “well-being,” and “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment.” Author Helen Dyrbye writes in A Xenophobe's Guide to the Danes “...hygge has more to do with people's behavior toward each other... It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality and contentment rolled into one."
Hugs. Comfort. Consolation. Creating intimacy. Togetherness. Contentment.
My husband and I have hosted Thanksgiving for both sides of our family since his father passed in 2001. But in 2020, we celebrated Thanksgiving alone with our youngest adult daughter who was living with us during COVID, just the three of us. We ordered dinner from a local restaurant, part of our many efforts to keep local businesses surviving we said, but it also hardly seemed worth the usual effort for just the three of us. There were gifts in this experience for sure, but there was also loss.
Christmas was smaller as well, celebrating with only our children, unable to physically be with our parents due to underlying health conditions in each of them. It was hard to comfort them through dropped-off gifts and blown kisses through windows, but we created ways to experience “togetherness” even in our isolation, as many of you did, I’m sure. We had regular Zoom family gatherings throughout the holidays. We played games. We sang songs. We expressed our desire to be together. And in some ways that was comforting.
Circumstances aren’t always perfect. On that first Christmas, Mary and Joseph weren’t with their extended family or their friends, but they found comfort and intimacy around this newborn child in the manger. This year, the image of the nativity is offering me a renewed sense of hope and also a sense of responsibility—to myself and to others. Whether your ministry is to young people, their families, or the community at large, ask yourself these questions:
Christmas offers us an incarnational lesson—God with us. We are called to make Christ’s presence known. “Comfort, give to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly...” (Isaiah 40:1).
Originally published on November 22, 2021 for Vibrant Faith’s Online Community - https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
What do you need to be effective in your ministry today? Prayer of course. And a certain openness to the Spirit helps. All of us need support of a pastor or other ministry colleagues to avoid isolation and burnout. And a desire to continue to follow our callings and a belief that what we’re doing is fueled by our deep purpose helps us move through unimaginable obstacles.
I don’t want to minimize any of these foundational necessities, but I also believe we need tools—tangible tools—that we can rely on to infuse efficiency in our jobs. Practically speaking, we need tools. So, what are the tools you have come to depend on in recent years?
Most of my “go to” tools are digital. Much of what I do—webinars, presentations with PowerPoints, newsletters, and so on—are visual. That’s why I rely on these everyday tools: Canva, Unsplash, Pocket, and Zoom (of course).
These are not the only tools that I use in my ministry, but these are my “day in and day out” helps that make me more efficient, and hopefully help me reach more people for the mission. I am sure there are many more tools I have yet to discover, so please share your tools with all of us. Ministry is an “us” effort. We do more for the Kingdom of God together than we could ever do alone.
Originally published on October 17, 2022 for Vibrant Faith’s Online Community - https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
I recently read church consultant/leadership expert Carey Nieuhoff’s article “Why They’re Not Coming Back to Church (And What to Do with Who’s Left).” Neuhoff’s premise is that all of us in ministry have been waiting for the “Great Return”—for people to come back to our churches and our programs in droves. And while a few places may have experienced this kind of return, for the most part, we’re coming to the “Great Realization” that it’s probably not going to happen. Neuhoff pinpoints some reasons people haven’t returned and some suggestions on how to deal with these realities. On some of his points, I agree. But I also think—it’s complicated...
This is especially true of families. Parents are exhausted from all the ways they juggled their lives, work from home, kids learning from home, so many extra precautions, and soul overload (from work to kids’ safety to kids’ education to the impact on kids’ social skills to religion to politics to climate change, and everything!). It’s been a lot. It’s not that the Great Return will never happen, but it’s not going to happen right now. We need healing, restoration, and reconciliation.
I do agree with Neuhoff that right now we need to focus on the people in front of us, not the ones who haven’t returned. The people in front of you are acting counterculturally just by showing up! We can’t just go back to the way we did things before; instead we need to use the well-earned lessons from these last few pandemic years to really engage people, to give families more authority over their own faith formation (leading them to take ownership for their own spiritual growth), and give them every reason to keep coming back. If the goal is transformation—new life for and in Jesus Christ and a deep faith in Him—then let’s create the environments that allow that kind of transformation.
We learned many things in recent years, but I think more than anything we’ve learned faith formation has to be more personalized. A person can learn about faith in a classroom or a program, but to grow in faith it has to be personal. How do we do that? Well, first, I don’t think there’s ONE way. It’s a myriad of ways—an integrated approach that looks at how we’ve been doing it and imagines something more. An integrated approach looks at opportunities that are gathered (in community), at home, independent (digital perhaps), and sent (also in community—think service, advocacy, and justice).
Gathered: We know how to run programs and offer classes, but today these have to be the best we have to offer, not just reruns of what we’ve always done. How can we meet the needs of our church community? How can we help them connect to each other and to God? How can we help them grow in their understanding of faith, but also their desire to be closer to Jesus? The first step might be listening to what they’re looking for. Another might be allowing parents the opportunity to connect to one another. Plan for storytelling and story-listening. Empower learners to become sharers, witnesses to their own faith growth.
At Home: One thing I’ve heard from parents in the last few years is that they want to feel better equipped to pray with their children, to have faith conversations with their children. Research tells us those two things—faith practices and faith conversations—have the greatest impact in the faith development of a child, so what can we do to empower and equip parents in these two areas? How can we affirm what they are already doing and give them some faith language around the truths they already teach at home—sacrifice, forgiveness, service, and so on. What faith practices and rituals can we give them tools and language for, so that they might be empowered to help their children grow in faith?
Independent learning: How can we, as leaders, become curators of great resources? How can we become architects of an array of learning opportunities, even digitally? Over the course of the last few years I’ve witnessed leaders open up entire worlds to their learners through digital playlists, Google classrooms, and/or learning apps.
Community life: Families living faith in the neighborhood, at school, at work—isn’t that the goal? How do we offer experiences that allow reflection on faith in daily living? How do we empower learners to serve the community, to become advocates for justice and peace? Then how might we gather these stories to become the collectors of faith legacy in the community?
An integrated approach does not focus on only weekly gatherings, but recognizes that families spend time learning and living their faith together, at home and in the community. It gives our learners the opportunity to be a part of the planning of their own faith formation.
In my book, Engage Every Family: A Parish Guide to Integrated Faith Formation, I tell the story of faith communities that did this around specific learning themes or events during the Covid disruption. For example, a lesson on prayer, or around the season of Lent, or any other learning theme. The leader provides a gathered learning session on this specific theme, then allows families to choose from a variety of at home, independent, and community ideas and experiences, equipping families with curated “playlists” as idea buckets from which families can create their own plans for spurring faith conversations and practices at home. A family could choose activities and lessons according to their children’s ages, spiritual interests, or even family schedules. Families choose how they might interact within their communities to live this faith out.
This strategy leads us away from a one-size-fits-all approach and encourages us to meet each person or family where they are and accompany them on the journey in new and extraordinary ways. It’s flexible. It meets families’ needs. It acknowledges the stresses on their lives and allows us to honor their time at home with one another as sacred time. Celebrate the community you have by honoring who they are, what they’ve been through, what we’ve all been through, and in many cases are still going through. If the families who have not returned are going to come back, it will be because the families who are in our community today, those in front of you right now, are nourished, restored, listened to, and known.
Originally published on September 27, 2022 for Vibrant Faith’s Online Community - https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
As August trails off into September, I often reflect back to my teacher days. I loved the end of August and looked forward to new blank notebooks, clean 16-month calendars, new pens, sharpened pencils, and an array of colored highlighters (oh the color-coding)! It was a fresh start—a chance to be organized, even if it lasted only a moment. I made an effort to know the names of students on the first day. I welcomed parents on that first parent-teacher night. It was all so exciting.
I felt that same excitement as a parish leader as well, every fall. New names. New families. How could I help them feel like they belonged? Help them feel a part of the community? Engage them in ordinary and extraordinary ways?
I follow and participate in many ministry leadership groups online, and as we prepare for fall kickoffs, I hear some of that almost-here excitement. I also sense some of the tension leaders are feeling as we try to include parents in our ministries, welcoming them in some way to the faith-formation environment. Some churches are just beginning to offer family nights. Some offer whole-parish intergenerational gatherings a few times a year. Some are dipping their toes in these waters for the first time, while others have pivoted to full family programs with parents receiving formation and/or forming their children at home.
As leaders share their excitement and their concerns, I feel their pain as they ask:
When our parish began to make a paradigm shift from drop-off faith formation for children to a family approach to lifelong faith formation, I remember getting that question often: “What’s mandatory?” My pastor and I sat down to discuss our language around this issue. Mandatory. “It’s not a state-mandated program,” I would say. “How do we mandate what people do?” he would ask. “If you don’t do this, you don’t get this? You don’t move to the next grade? It’s not school.” Neither of us liked the word. Mandatory is a word that causes immediate push-back in me. I feel the child within me saying, “You can’t make me!” Language matters.
I also knew that whatever we decided was mandatory (seven out of eight sessions or 24 out of 30 classes?) that would be the new “low bar” for people to clear. “What’s the minimum I can do and still ‘pass’?” If someone says you can miss two sessions, you might just decide you’re going to miss two sessions. It’s human nature. So, instead, we chose to use the phrase: “We hope and expect.”
Challenge your people to taste fully of the banquet you place before them. Offer them your very best, in the most hospitable way, and then tell them you hope and expect that they participate fully in what you’re offering. We know parents want to nourish their children fully. They sacrifice to participate in church because faith is important to them and we know that.
Say something like:
“We understand sometimes life happens, and we’ll work with you as best we can when that happens, but we hope (Wednesday night, Saturday morning, whatever day/time you choose) becomes your favorite day of the week/month. We’re going to do everything we can to make that true—time with your family, and your community, focused on a relationship with God.”
When we entice rather than demand, people respond well. Collaborate with parents. Invite them to play a role in the planning. Share your “why’s.” We know why it’s important to support parents in the faith formation of their children—all the research tells us! But have you shared that research with parents? Have you affirmed them for showing up—for presenting their children for formation and sacraments?
In my just-released book Engage Every Family I write that I have always had such a heart for parents, especially those who are struggling to live their faith, those who want to but aren’t sure how, and those who are unchurched but desire this faith for their children. They are making countercultural choice just by showing up! I’ve found that when we walk with them, affirm them, and build up their confidence, amazing things happen.
So this year, don't scold, don’t blame, and don’t focus on what they “should” be doing. If you can avoid words like “mandatory,” please do! This fall offer a faith formation kickoff that is welcoming, exciting, and fun for the whole community. Affirm them, invite them, and work on building relationships. From the beginning, commit to getting to know the children and their parents, and offer the parents opportunities to get to know one another. Trust that if you offer a welcoming environment and focus on loving them like Jesus loves them (right where they are) transformation is possible.
Not only will they grow in their relationship with God, but you’ll be amazed at the transformation that happens within your own heart. They are not all going to get it right. They won’t all be present 100 percent of the time, but with a little encouragement, I think you’ll notice tiny miracles you may never have witnessed when you were counting hours and mandating sessions. Try it.
I’ll hope and expect miracles for you.
Originally published on August 29, 2022 for Vibrant Faith’s Online Community - https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
Today is the publication date for my book, Engage Every Family: A Parish Guide to Integrated Faith Formation. It's also my birthday, so I am doing a lot of reflecting... on life, on family, on faith. As I reflect on being a wife, mom, sister, daughter, grandma(!), friend, writer, presenter, and coach, I am incredibly grateful. It's funny how the gift of years really focuses you in on relationships. Even in the work I do, today it is less about the projects, programs, and presentations, and more about relationship. And I give up a little more work these days so I can spend time with my precious grandson. So today, no big lessons, no practical advice or how to's, just a thank you for being here, and a reminder to love first, and the rest will follow.
Last week I led a webinar for Twenty-Third Publications on the technology that has become the air we breathe in ministry during a global pandemic. We explored the many ways ministry leaders have responded to the needs of their communities these last two years. I reflected on my own experience as a parishioner, and the lessons I’ve learned from watching ministry leaders pivot their approaches. And then we dreamed a little about what might be next.
In my home parish I learned an amazing lesson in how to build community through digital storytelling. Leaders in my church offered us a variety of virtual opportunities for worship, prayer, formation, and outreach. For example, our pastor and staff encouraged us to use digital tools to maximize our virtual participation in Sunday worship with family and friends by...
After the service we were invited to share our experiences on social media with the hashtags “#WeareOSP” and “#stilltogether” and more. People shared their images and reflections of our time together. We met new families and got to know one another in ways we might not have before—for example, we got a peek into each other’s homes, saw parents blessing their children, and experienced prayer spaces that were created specifically for this time of isolation and quarantine. Parishioners shared that these virtual approaches had provided connection when they felt lonely and comfort when they were depressed. At a time when my husband and I expected to feel far from friends and family this effort to prompt digital storytelling built faith-sharing practices that helped us grow closer with them instead.
Outside of my home parish I saw many examples of digital community-building, including...
Stories of Great Impact
As ministry leaders asked their communities what they needed, they created and implemented new ways to serve those needs—drive-thru Covid testing and outdoor prayer opportunities such as labyrinth experiences, prayer walks, and stations of the cross. Families were evangelizing each other through these shared experiences.
I had the privilege of interviewing parishioners to ask them about their pandemic faith experiences. One woman in her late 80s, Delores, spoke about being able to participate in a small Christian community for the first time in years. When she first stopped attending her small group it was because she didn’t like going out at night—later she quit driving all together. She missed her small group, but many of her friends had retired to Florida or Arizona, anyway, so it just wasn’t the same. When the parish offered virtual faith-sharing groups she joined again. She invited her friends who had moved away, and it was like a reunion. Instead of feeling isolated they felt connected once again.
Another woman, Helen, who is the primary caretaker of a loved one who is immunocompromised, shared that she didn’t know when she’d be able to return to gathered space. With her family member receiving cancer treatments she had to be incredibly careful. She missed her church friends, her pastor, and the sense of community she experienced in person. So, without a virtual option she’d lose her connection to the community, and perhaps to the church altogether. Instead she’s felt ministered to and supported during this very difficult time.
Fulfilling Our Mission, Not Our Spaces
Ministry leaders in the Archdiocese of Chicago called 2020 “a watershed year that separates the ‘before’ and the ‘after.’” In their 2021 resource guide they wrote, “The sense of ‘this is not business as usual’ creates an opportunity to focus the energy of the parish around its mission.” As parish ministry leaders we’ve been encouraged to focus on fulfilling our mission, not on filling our spaces—“Finding ways of blessing people where they are is more important at this point than getting them to show up where we are.”
It would be a mistake to presume that those who’ve not attended Sunday worship have not been spiritually nourished. This liminal space has given us an opportunity to reimagine church – to explore new possibilities. And we can learn from one another and from other nonprofit organizations that are embracing this use of technology, including senior centers that are using VR equipment to help seniors feel less isolated by “traveling” to places they were never able to see in their lifetimes to help them experience things able-bodied people take for granted (running, swimming, and more). Imagine how we might use these VR systems to help our people make pilgrimages to sacred spaces or immerse themselves in imaginative prayer experiences.
Of course, there are pros and cons to all these digital approaches to ministry, but we’ll need to navigate these challenges in the years to come—the need to pivot is not going away. Our virtual “workarounds” can help us take church beyond our own walls. The thriving congregations of the future will connect the home church and the church of the community (the parish). What will that look like in your community?
Originally published for Vibrant Faith's Online Community on January 31, 2022 at https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
Recently Vibrant Faith Catalyst blogger Dr. Mark Slaughter posted his raw and vulnerable exploration into personal doubt with “The Secret We’re Afraid to Admit.”I’m grateful to Mark for his courage, and for highlighting the relationship between doubt and faith. Mark wrote: “As pastors and ministry leaders we’re expected to puncture the doubts of others, not harbor them ourselves.” But I resonate with his decades-long wrestling match with doubt myself. The apostle Thomas has long been a favorite of mine—it’s unfair that he’s forever known as “Doubting Thomas,” because I can appreciate his “show me” attitude.
I once shared my own struggle with doubt with my pastor, and he said, “Oh good!” I must have look confused, because he started laughing. He followed with: “Doubt is good in one’s faith life. It’s an invitation to deeper faith, an invitation to wrestle with God.” There are so many examples of people wrestling with God in Scripture— why do we hesitate to share our struggle?
Perhaps we need the permission Mark offered in his blog. Mary Lou Redding writes about this kind of permission in her book, While We Wait. Spotlighting Mary's incredulous-but-brave response to the angel's news that she will bear the Son of God, Redding writes: “One lesson I draw from Mary’s questioning is that we have permission, to be less than sure, to engage God and God’s messenger when we have questions...Belief and doubt are two sides of a single question about finding meaning and direction in life.”
Mary is a model for faith. We are told “‘she was greatly troubled at what was said...’ and she went on to ponder what the angel’s message meant.” Mary summoned the courage to accept the mystery of God’s coming, without having the need to understand it. What a beautiful example of how we might live with doubt and faith together. To enter into a deeper faith we hold our balance in this tension, even surrender to it.
Our journey into deeper and deeper faith is all about surrender. And it’s a little easier for me to surrender this time of year. The miracle that empowers the culminating events of Advent opens our hearts. At Christmas, even the most doubting among us get a taste of “wonder.” Pastor and author Eugene Peterson encourages us to wonder: “Wonder is the only adequate launching pad for exploring this fullness, this wholeness, of human life... (of this mystery)... The wonder keeps us open-eyed, expectant, alive to life that is always more than we can account for, that always exceeds our calculations, that is always beyond anything we can make.”
The Advent season is so full of wonder...
So, if you’re a doubter, don’t lose hope. Invite your doubt and your faith to work on you. Wrestle with God. Ponder the big questions. Enter into the mystery. And be awake to wonder in your life.
Merry Christmas, All!
Originally published on December 20, 2021 for Vibrant Faith’s Online Community - https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
I recently attended a parent orientation at a church that’s been innovating in family faith-formation for a long time. As we were greeting families, I asked a few moms and dads how they were doing. I listened to their stories. There were parents whose work is requiring them to return to the office at least a few days a week, and they weren’t sure how they are going to manage daycare. Others had children who need rides to and from school because bus-driver vacancies have yet to be filled. Still others have decided to homeschool their children because of arguments over wearing masks. I held them all in prayer as I looked around the worship space.
I read an article in The Atlantic this month that painted a picture of parents who are not okay right now. The author, Dan Sinker, writes: “We're not even at a breaking point anymore. We're broken.” Parents are navigating so many variables. If we’re expecting things to go back to “normal” this year, for parents to show up and register their children for our programs, we might be disappointed. They’ve had to swim into the current for so long that they’re struggling to keep their heads above water.
The faith- formation team at this parish is determined to give their parents an experience of accompaniment. They’re committed to affirming parents. They told them: “In the midst of everything you have going on, you are here. We’re amazed at all you do. We are here to partner with you.” I told these parents that the research tells us that they matter most in their kids’ faith development (check out Vibrant Faith’s “Passing Down the Faith”webinar with Dr. Christian Smith for more on this). We can only do this together, only in community. I reminded them: “You’re being counter-cultural just showing up, folks. That tells me your faith means something to you.”
This church’s leaders made the point that families come in all shapes and sizes. One leader shared what it was like trying to have family meals as her pre-adolescent girls are now in numerous extracurricular activities. Another leader with four boys shared what it was like to send her firstborn off to college, visiting colleges with the next oldest son, and maintaining some normalcy for the younger ones in the midst of all these transitions. Another leader shared what it was like to advocate for her child who has special needs, in a year when everything seems uncertain. And the youngest of the faith formation team, a single woman, shared what it was like to move home during COVID— to be living in the house she grew up in once again. AS they shared their personal stories with amazing vulnerability, and you could tell the parents were connecting with them.
We gave parents an opportunity to talk with one another, to remember the feeling they had when they first held their little one, to share the dreams and fears they have for their children—and connect it all to their faith. Parents shared in small groups what their children have taught them about life, love, faith, prayer, and God. We unpacked those conversations in the larger group. There was so much hope. Parents thanked the leaders as they left the church that night.
What if this moment is the opportunity we need to really make the move from program-focused to relationship-focused, across all our ministries? What would that look like?
It might look like the night described above. It would mean we provide experiences for families based on what they need, that we find new ways to accompany them and offer hope. And it would mean that we affirm them in all the ways they are spiritually leading their families right now, offering ideas for how they might continue to do so in the future.
These are the essentials to this process:
Many church leaders are worried that families won’t return to church post-pandemic, but if we move toward relationship-focused ministries, I believe those relationships we build and the people we accompany will be the link to those who are not yet present. In this way you will be helping parents, families, and communities heal. I believe this is our call today.
Originally published on September 20, 2021 for Vibrant Faith’s Online Community - https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
When my first child was born, I remember thinking, “How is this possible? How is it that our love created this perfect little being?” As my kids grew up I was filled with awe, and my capacity for love multiplied, not divided, with each child. I don’t think I ever truly knew what “unconditional love” was until I had children. A parent’s love is one of the most powerful, transformative things in the world—and that’s vital for us to remember in parent and family ministry.
My children taught me about myself and about God. I’ve become more of who I was created to be because of them. And my calling as a mom surfaced characteristics and values that drew me closer to the heart of God.
The family is where we learn to love others, and where we learn to love God. I often say that our children are our greatest spiritual directors. Mine taught me to pray (really, really, pray!) and to surrender to God. As parents we learn over and over that we are not in control. My children taught me to live in the moment, to be present, to find meaning in the little things. And they taught me to pay attention—something that helps me recognize God’s movement in my life every day.
We are created in the image of God, and our families are an extension of that love. So, what if we reimagined our ministries in a way that recognizes, affirms, and celebrates that truth?
Start with parent meetings or parent orientations.
Instead of speaking to parents about the expectations or rules of a program, ask them about their children and their family. Give parents an opportunity to dialogue with one another. I always start with easy questions:
Give them time to share answers with one another; then allow for some large-group sharing as well. The memories and stories they share, through laughter and tears, changes the energy in the room. And once they’ve opened up, ask them what their children have taught them about life/love/faith/prayer/God. Their answers are often profound! This is what “faith formation” really looks like.
Next, affirm families in their holiness.
Families are holy—set apart by God to model the Kingdom of God. Through their self-sacrificing love, they follow Jesus each day—they do the things that he modeled for us in Scripture, preferring the needs of others, forgiving each other, praying for each other, and healing each other. So help families reframe their commitment to parenting their kids as a calling, giving them examples that spotlight their everyday actions as Christlike. Ask them to share their own examples. As we affirm them and provide language around the day-in and day-out ways that they follow Jesus in their family, parents are encouraged and empowered.
“The family is a proclamation of faith in that it is the natural place in which faith can be lived in a simple and spontaneous manner. It has a unique privilege: transmitting the Gospel by rooting it in the context of profound human values.” (The Directory for Catechesis #227, 2020)
Let’s reimagine faith formation to celebrate families in the “simple and spontaneous” manner in which they proclaim the Gospel, by the love expressed in and for their family, one another, their community, and for God.
Take a deeper dive into how to help parents more intentionally “infect” their kids with a deeper
faith by registering for an upcoming free online event hosted by Vibrant Faith —"Religious Parenting: A Conversation with Dr. Christian Smith," on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 10:30 am Eastern. Join host Rick Lawrence (Executive Director of Vibrant Faith) and very- special guest Dr. Christian Smith for an hour-long conversation on the insights and strategies gleaned from Dr. Smith’s groundbreaking research.
Originally published on March 1, 2021 for Vibrant Faith’s Online Community - https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
We’re all ready to say goodbye to 2020, but what did we learn that we might want to carry into the new year? I’ve worked in family faith formation for almost two decades. We’ve known for a long time all the benefits of partnering with parents as we live out Jesus’ imperative to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). But nothing before this pandemic has led to such widespread efforts to explore home-allied approaches.
Here are just a few of the strategies and experiments launched by innovative and improvising churches in 2020:
So, which practices, influenced by your own pandemic experiences, are you determined to carry into 2021?
Originally published on January 15, 2021 for Vibrant Faith’s Online Community - https://vibrant-faith-catalyst.mn.co/
I share my own thoughts here. They do not represent the opinions of any organization I work with or for. They are my own, and I reserve the right to change them when I please. I am still growing, and learning, and evolving.