What is Faith Formation? Below are several definitions of “faith formation.”
- We define faith formation as every action, experience, or relationship that nurtures a transformative relationship of trust with God and shapes the way we see and interact with God’s world. Faith Formation is the very mission of God’s church, to equip followers of Jesus Christ so that they may be sent out into the world to spread God’s kingdom. Basically, faith formation is the process by which our faith grows, and our lives are shaped by God’s love. (spiritandtruthpublishing.com/faith-formation)
- In the United Church of Christ, we can understand faith formation to be “an engaged process of learning and practice integrated throughout all aspects of congregational and daily life.” This definition highlights the initiative and action we must take in our own faith formation. In essence, we become clay so that we are formed and transformed by the Holy and by one another. (UCC.org)
- The Church’s catechetical mission aims to help the faithful of all ages to grow in both human and Christian maturity, enriching the whole of life with the leaven of the Gospel. Consequently, appropriate goals and content will embrace all the faith dimensions of an adult life—for example, understanding and communicating the faith, skills needed for personal growth, the experience of family life, relationships, public service, and concern for the common good. (USCCB.org)
The reason that I bring up this topic is because it needs to be a priority in every Christian church all throughout the world. It is necessary for each one of us to grow in a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ, learn more about Christianity, live our lives in the ways that Jesus taught us during His three-year ministry, and enjoy fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
This past week, I contacted a church in the area where I live to see if I could attend their faith formation meeting. They contacted me and welcomed me with open arms. They even asked me to bring any faith formation ideas with me so that I could share them with their group. Wouldn’t it be nice if every church was like this? I shared with this faith formation team many of the items that are listed below. Maybe you can get any of these started at your church? I hope that you can take one or more of the ideas from this list and incorporate these to help members of your church with learning more about Jesus Christ and growing closer to Him every day.
- The Bible in a Year Podcast (ascensionpress.com) with Fr. Mike Schmitz. Read the ENTIRE Bible in one year, feel more confident about your understanding of Scripture, experience the transformative power of God’s Word in your daily life, and start seeing the world through the lens of Scripture.
- The “Stewardship – A Mission of Faith” (stewardshipmission.org) offers a kiosk that can be placed in a church vestibule each weekend, or permanently, to display Catholic and faith-based books, pamphlets, and CDs.
- FORMED is a digital platform (formed.org) that offers a plethora of Catholic resources for parishioners to use in a “small group” or individually.
- The Dynamic Catholic book program (dynamiccatholic.com/parish-book-program.html) offers at a low cost a featured book that can be given out to families on Christmas Day and for the Lenten Season.
- Revive Parishes(archphila.org/revive) is an organization that offers free online courses to assist parish ministry leaders with a way to enrich their own ministry and deepen the ministry skills of fellow staff and volunteers so that they can more effectively care for the people of the parish.
- Events That Can Be Scheduled by a Faith Formation Event Coordinator in 2023-2024
- Small Groups – Teach parishioners what a small group is and the benefits of being in one (churchnativity.com/groups/tools). All small groups can focus on the same study in FORMED (The Search, Presence, Eucharist, The Case for Jesus, Symbolon – the Catholic Faith Explained) or some other digital platform.
- Family Movie Night – Show a faith-based movie once a month for adults using FORMED and a faith-based movie once a month for children.
- Communion Breakfast – Offer a Communion Breakfast for men and a separate one for women. Attend a Mass or church service together, eat a home-cooked breakfast some place on your church’s campus and listen to a speaker talk about Catholicism and/or Christianity, and their faith story.
- Speaker/Comedian – Invite one Catholic or Christian speaker/comedian for the fall and one for the spring to perform on your church’s campus. This could be a dinner event where the guest would perform after the dinner.
- “Ask a Priest/Pastor Night” – Offer this event two evenings (one in the fall, one in the spring) where church members get together for fellowship, desserts and coffee, and an anonymous Q&A Session about Catholicism or Christianity, and other faith items and issues.
- Welcome (Formerly “Christ Renews His Parish”) – Offer this formal religious retreat (dynamiccatholic.com/welcome.html) on your church’s campus in the spring or fall.
- Mission Trip to El Salvador. You can learn much about this amazing excursion to a Central American country to reach out and help others in need at org.
- The Steubenville Adult Conferences (com/adult) offer five unique conference experiences to help people escape the spiritual desert and empower them to live every day as joyful disciples of Jesus Christ.
- Events – Scheduled Dates in 2023 & 2024
- Seek 24 (seek.focus.org). SEEK is a collaboration led by FOCUS, a Catholic outreach organization that shares the hope and joy of the Gospel with the world. FOCUS missionaries encounter people in friendship, invite them into a personal relationship with Christ and accompany them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence.
- The Bible in a Year Retreat (ascensionpress.com/pages/bible-in-a-year-retreat) is a three-day weekend virtual retreat which will help you cultivate a lifelong relationship with the Word of God by learning directly from Fr. Mike Schmitz and Jeff Cavins.
- Man-Up Philly Conference (manupphilly.com) – Make a trip to this conference to enjoy fellowship, speakers, Adoration, ministry tables, and much more.
- Museum of the Bible (museumofthebible.org) – Make a trip to the Museum of the Bible and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (www.nationalshrine.org) in the spring or summer. Leave from your church in a coach bus early on a Saturday morning, eat a packed lunch on the bus, and enjoy the late morning and all the afternoon exploring the museum and the Basilica. These two venues can also be made into two separate trips.
- Abbey Fest (theabbeyfest.com) – Make a trip to Abbey Fest in Paoli, PA on a Saturday in the fall to enjoy a day of food, Christian music, speakers, ministry tables, Confession, Adoration, and Mass.
- Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul (cathedralphila.org) – Make a trip for half of the day to Center City Philadelphia on a weekend to enjoy attending the morning Mass, take a tour of the cathedral, eat lunch at the café right outside the cathedral, and then head back to church.
- Sight & Sound Theaters (sight-sound.com) – Make a trip on a weekend to enjoy a performance of the show that is being performed at this venue at the time. The current performances are “Queen Esther” and “Moses.”