"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and 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 goal of nurturing the Christian faith across the generations and equipping people to live as disciples of Jesus has guided Christian Churches for over 2000 years. In the twenty-first century, faith formation involves intentionally planning a journey of lifelong discipleship. It is a process of experiencing, learning and practising the Christian faith as we seek to follow Jesus in today’s world.
We are learning at Grow Ministries that it is about relationships, not programs. Faith formation is a lifelong journey that includes all age groups and provides experiences and learning for the whole intergenerational community. It also seeks to support the needs, interests and spiritual growth of every age group.
How can we support people with their Christian journey?
John Roberto, Grow Ministries mentor and friend shares in many of his books eight faith formation practices that can provide a focus.
- Growing through caring relationships across generations.
Celebrating rituals and milestones
- Celebrating rituals and milestones that provide a way to experience God’s love through significant moments.
Celebrating the liturgical seasons
- Learning through the seasons of the church year as they tell God's story and 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 them into our journey and faith life.
Praying, devotions and spiritual formation
- Growing our faith and relationship with God through prayer and other spiritual disciplines.
Reading the Bible
- Encountering God in the Bible by studying and interpreting its message, its meaning, and its application to our lives today.
Serving and justice
- Living our Christian mission in the world by engaging in service to those in need, caring for God’s creation, and action and advocacy for justice.
- Belonging to a community of faith where we can bring our human joys and sorrows to God and experience his living presence through Scripture, preaching and Holy Communion. A place where we are equipped and sent out to the mission field.
These are not stand-alone, but instead, each one needs to be woven into and through the whole DNA of the congregation.
These eight practices need to be supported by a congregational culture that experiences God’s living presence. A thriving community, through worship, study, and service to others. A DNA that makes faith central, emphasises prayer, focuses on discipleship and studies scripture. A place where the mission is central, that demonstrates hospitality, creates community, promotes uplifting worship, fosters ethical responsibility and promotes service to those in need.
Let’s be honest, I don't know about you but reading that list makes me tired, but we are given these words of hope by Jesus himself...' and remember, I am with you always to the end of the age'. He promises that he will be with us, we don’t do it alone and if we want to see our people grow and be transformed in their faith, we must press forward as he commissioned us to do.
Grow Ministries is here to help and if you stay in touch we will work through practical ways to do this. It’s a journey and our destination is eternal life. What have you got to lose?