“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
The invitation to make disciples by nurturing and growing Christian faith across the generations has guided Christian Churches for 2000 years. In the twenty-first century, faith formation involves intentionally planning a journey of lifelong discipleship. It is helpful if this journey includes opportunities for experiencing, learning and practicing the Christian faith as people seek to follow Jesus.
We are learning at Grow Ministries that it is about relationships, not programs. Faith formation is a lifelong journey, it includes all age groups and provides experiences and learning for the whole community. It also seeks to support the needs, interests and spiritual growth of every age group.
How can we support people throughout their Christian journey?
John Roberto, Grow Ministries mentor and friend shares eight faith formation practices that can provide a guide.
Caring relationships: Growing through caring relationships across generations.
Marking milestones: This provides an opportunity to share and experience God’s love through significant life moments.
Celebrating the liturgical seasons: Learning through the seasons of the church year as they help to tell God’s story and illuminate your place within it.
Learning the Christian tradition and applying it to life: Reflecting upon the traditions of faith and understanding what they mean for us by integrating it into our own journey and faith life.
Praying, devotions and spiritual formation: Growing our faith and relationship with God through prayer and other spiritual practices.
Reading the Bible: Encountering God in the Bible by studying and interpreting its message, meaning, and the application to our life today.
Serving and justice: Living our Christian mission in the world by engaging in service to those in need and caring for God’s creation.
Worshipping God: Belonging to a community of faith where we experience his living presence through scripture, preaching, Baptism and Holy Communion and providing a space where we are equipped and sent out to the mission field.
These eight faith-forming practices are central to lifelong faith formation. They provide a foundation to transmit faith from generation to generation and promote lifelong growth in faith and discipleship. By engaging in these practices, we will see our people grow and be transformed in their faith. It is vital that we press forward as he commissioned us, to go and make disciples.