Hundreds Join 'Basics of Faith Formation' Teaching Series
By Scott Hughes
As of February 11, more than 340 participants have registered for the “Basics of Faith Formation” eLearning teaching series in the first month since its release. Presenters Scott Hughes, Kevin Johnson, and Chris Wilterdink have enjoyed the comments and interacting with the participants. Reading participants’ comments about what resonates within their context or challenges them to do ministry in new ways is inspiring and encouraging.
The “Basics of Faith Formation” course is open to all as either a free course or a Continuing Education Unit version (same content, just with CEU credit for a nominal fee). Pastors, children’s ministers, local church leaders, camp and retreat leaders, and others are participating and sharing their learnings about ways to be more intentional in their church activities. These leaders are becoming more strategic in forming disciples who are forming other disciples.
Learning happens in various ways through the “Basics of Faith Formation” teaching series. The course is based on the booklet Basics of Faith Formation (available from the Discipleship Ministries’ Store), which provides the outline for the course. There are also supplementary articles and ways to share insights through the posting of comments. Participants say they appreciate hearing the wisdom from a large group (20) of diverse practitioners from across the connection.
One key insight of the course is that as United Methodists we encounter God’s grace in different ways and through different spiritual practices. Another helpful learning that participants have highlighted is that leaders need not be the font of all wisdom. They can demonstrate multiple ways of helping their people experience God’s grace. Formation is not the same as imparting information.
An area that has been particularly appreciated is how worship and partaking in the sacraments are connected to faith formation. One participant, Maureen Fields, a local licensed pastor at Pearlington United Methodist Church in Pearlington, Mississippi, shared how much she took from connecting baptismal vows to discipleship: “I truly enjoyed the panel discussion . . . I found connecting [discipleship] to our baptismal vows very revealing. We are renewing those vows Sunday, and I am redoing my entire approach.”
“I truly enjoyed the panel discussion . . . I found connecting [discipleship] to our baptismal vows very revealing. We are renewing those vows Sunday, and I am redoing my entire approach.”
While we won’t promise that the “Basics of Faith Formation” will have you rethinking your entire approach to ministry (though it might!), we do hope that this course will help you reinvigorate, redesign, and strategize in ways to help you within your context to focus on forming disciples who then help form other disciples.
Learning takes place better in group setting. That’s why we’ll be hosting quarterly Zoom meetings for participants to share what they are learning and where they are experimenting. The next Zoom meeting will be Tuesday, March 2 at 1:00 pm Central Standard Time. Click here to register for the Zoom meeting. Anyone who has enrolled and started the course is welcome to join the Zoom meeting. Regardless of where you are in the study, you will find these conversations to be a meaningful opportunity to walk alongside other disciples.
Scott Hughes is the Executive Director of Congregational Vitality & Intentional Discipleship, Elder in the North Georgia Conference, M.Div. Asbury Theological Seminary, D. Min. Southern Methodist University, co-host of the Small Groups in the Wesleyan Way podcast, creator of the Courageous Conversations project, and facilitator of the How to Start Small Groups teaching series.