Presentation on theme: "Through the life-long, unfolding discovery of our true spiritual identities as children of God which occurs when we are taught by Jesus and led by the."— Presentation transcript:
Through the life-long, unfolding discovery of our true spiritual identities as children of God which occurs when we are taught by Jesus and led by the Holy Spirit. This in turn leads us to an ever-deepening understanding of the meaning and purpose of our lives, which results in action in the world.
WE BECOME DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD!
God, our Creator, through the beauty of Creation, the teachings of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit is constantly seeking to make us new. Spiritual experiences offer a “thin place” where God’s renewing power has more room to work and we are more available to receive it. It happens in experiences of Creation, in the community of living and working together, in the study of the Bible, in worship, the joy of the freedom to be one’s self without judgment, in the challenges to do new things and befriend new people, in the atmosphere of grace and forgiveness… GOD MAKES ALL THINGS NEW!!
Church experiences provide opportunities for SPIRITUAL MOMENTS leading to GROWTH IN FAITH leading to STRENGTHENING OF BELIEFS leading to RELIGIOUS PRACTICE IN THE WORLD – forming the disciple’s CHARACTER AND SOUL!
IT STARTS WITH GOD’S INITIATIVE… “The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. Everything was created through him; nothing – not one thing! – came into being without God. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life- Light blazed out of the darkness and the darkness couldn’t put it out….The Life-Light was the real thing: every person entering Life God brings into the Light.” -- John 1:1-5,9 (The Message)
IT OFFERS US NEW LIFE AND THE WAY TO LIVE THROUGH THE GIFT OF JESUS: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” -- John 3:16 (The Message) “We are not saved by our knowledge, our beliefs, or our worship in the church; just was we are not saved by our actions or our religion. We are saved by the anguish and love of God, and to live according to that truth is to have faith.” -- John Westerhoff, III
IT IS NURTURED BY GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT THROUGHOUT ALL OF LIFE: “…when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. The Friend won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said.” -- John 16:11-14 (The Message)
2.IT INVOLVES HUMAN BEINGS CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE, LIVING IN THE WORLD, SUBJECT TO THE INFLUENCE OF OUR SOCIAL LOCATION… “I’m not asking that you take them out of the world but that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world. Make them holy – consecrated with the truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.” -- John 17:15-18 (The Message)
AND PARENTAL DNA AND INFLUENCE: “Despite our obvious differences as individuals, we were each conceived from two sets of DNA, born from a woman’s body, protected from death in infancy, and provided sufficient nurture to reach maturity. We each face the challenge of adapting the personalities with which we were born to the expectations of our family and culture….But for most of us, the genetic and environmental inheritance of the psyche is a maze through which we must find our way to arrive at the soul’s perception of God.” -- Felicity B. Kelcourse
FAITH COMMUNITIES CAN SUPPORT, RE-INFORCE, EXTEND, CLARIFY, AND MAKE REAL THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN FAITH FORMATION. “Faith is communicated by a community of believers and the meaning of faith is developed by its members out of their history, by their interaction with each other, and in relation to the events that take place in their lives.” -- C. Ellis Nelson
1 – God initiates it in Creation, offers us a new life and a model for living in Jesus, and sustains the life of faith through the Holy Spirit. 2 – As God’s creatures who exist in the world we are influenced by our social location, DNA, psyche and family situation. 3 – The ministry of the local congregation can enhance faith formation through intentional initiatives and by helping create the environment for transformation.
Create and sustain a safe community. Be open to ALL. Be accessible to ALL. Evaluate everything from an “outsider’s” perspective. Living hospitality teaches hospitality – and grace – to all generations within the community and those who enter from outside.
Simplify the congregation’s mission/message so that all can learn, know and remember it. Clarify the message in ways that it is easily understood by all ages and cultures. Multiply the message so that it is heard regularly and often and in every way possible. Use a unified lesson plan for worship, education time, youth groups, fellowships, meetings, small groups, etc. The message has integrity only in relation to the reality lived by the congregation. The way the congregation lives and has its being communicates and teaches the message.
Pastor, staff, lay leadership, boards, committees, members have unity of purpose centered in the message that is apparent to all. The congregation’s mission/message determines priorities, decisions, use of resources, etc. Diversity of perspective is handled through discussion, prayer, and consensus-building. All generations within the community and those outside learn the message through the witness of unity.
Learning happens through multi-generational experiences – passing faith from one to another. Learning happens through multi-cultural experiences – all are enriched by the diversity of gifts to be shared. Learning happens through multi-intelligences or learning styles through speech, art, physical play, drama, journaling, music, nature, solitude, inter-personal and intra-personal experiences. Learning happens in settings suited to one’s developmental stage of life and life experience. Learning happens in an hour, in a weekend, in a week, indoors, outdoors, in service, in worship, in private, in public, at home, at church with friends, alone, on-line, in the car, on holy days, and every day. Learning happens best holistically: faith AND action, local AND global, compassion AND justice, etc.
HELP THEM… 1.BE IN AWE OF GOD 2.LEARN SIMPLE SPIRITUAL PRACTICES THEY CAN MEMORIZE AND USE 3.PRAY TO AN ALL-POWERFUL GOD WHO LOVES THEM. 4.FIND A FRIEND 5.ENJOY HEARING STORIES. What processes can you design to achieve this?
Help them… 1.EXPERIENCE THE JOY AND LOVE OF GOD. GOD BY DOING, ACTING AND PLAYING WITH THE BIBLE STORIES AND CONCEPTS. 2.BEGIN TO EXPLORE ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT THEY BELIEVE. 3.BECOME A PART OF A GROUP THAT HAS AN IDENTITY TO WHICH THEY BELONG. 4.PRAY TO JESUS AS FRIEND AND CONFIDANT.
Help them… 1.ENGAGE IN CRITICAL THINKING. 2.BEGIN TO HAVE AN OWNED FAITH THAT IS THEIRS APART FROM THEIR FAMILY. 3.DEVELOP A POSITIVE AND STRONG IDENTITY WITH THEIR PEERS. 4.GET TO KNOW YOU AS A MENTOR. 5.USE PRAYER PRACTICES TO PROVIDE CENTERING IN A COMPLEX WORLD.
The very best way to facilitate faith formation is to use God’s Story and connect it with our story. CHILDREN love to hear stories, use their imagination with the details, hear it again. MIDDLE SCHOOLERS love to act it out, get physically involved, connect their bodies, voices, emotions with the story. HIGH SCHOOLERS love to learn about what you believe about the story and discuss what it could mean for them in their story. YOUNG ADULTS AND ADULTS love to share stories with one another about how they have learned meaning in life.
All need periodic spiritual experiences that change one’s life through an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Faith through intellect and emotion is not enough. Prayer, Bible study, meditation, and other spiritual practices center all of life and orients decisions, perspective, and attitude in the Way, the Truth and the Life. Spiritual encounters happen in different ways and in different places and settings for different people. The congregation helps provide, support, interpret and celebrate Holy Spirit time for its members.