Two Key Ideas that Participants of the ‘Basics of Faith Formation’ Course Are Using
By Scott Hughes
While there is an in-depth research project looking into the impact of the Basics of Faith Formation teaching series, I’ll present some of my own observations about what the participants are learning based on selected comments from participants.
The first comment expresses the difficult work of the last year and why now is a great time to be strategizing for faith formation as ministries begin to look similar to what they did before the pandemic:
“Sadly, I've been struggling with how I—and my church's congregation together—have fallen into the trap of inactivity as a result of COVID affecting our ministries in many ways. Gladly, we will be getting back to conversations about how we can renew our baptismal vows to reenergize our mission and outreach. Thank you!”
Specifically, note how this participant caught one of the key ideas that we present in the “Basics of Faith Formation” teaching series – that the rite of baptism and the baptismal vows are key in creating a culture of discipleship. Additionally, this participant observes how these connect to mission and outreach.
Key Idea 1: Intentionally grounding discipleship in our baptismal vows can help create a culture of discipleship.
Building on this idea is another key point in the “Basics of Faith Formation” course, which is when we form faith in those who participate in the ministries of our churches, it naturally leads into engaging our communities.
This point was highlighted by another participant who commented in the session on “Context”:
“I think I know my context within the church but realize I really don’t have a clue what people outside the church are thinking. I realize that we must begin to dialog with people outside the church and see how they think and what their needs are and how we can share Jesus with them in language they will understand.”
Forming disciples in the faith is more than merely understanding Christian ideas. It includes helping disciples to think like missionaries in the lives they are currently living.
Key Idea 2: Forming faith well leads to community engagement.
When churches do faith formation strategically and intentionally, the result is disciples of Jesus Christ who engage and transform the world.
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.