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Futuring Faith Formation And Leadership Development UCC YASC Host Church Leaders Training January 29, 2013 Cleveland, OH.

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Presentation on theme: "Futuring Faith Formation And Leadership Development UCC YASC Host Church Leaders Training January 29, 2013 Cleveland, OH."— Presentation transcript:

1 Futuring Faith Formation And Leadership Development UCC YASC Host Church Leaders Training January 29, 2013 Cleveland, OH

2 Faith Formation What is Faith Formation? An engaged process of learning and practice integrated throughout all aspects of congregational and daily life

3 Young Adult Faith Formation and Leadership Development Young people possess innate gifts, just like older adults, which should be shared for the mutual growth and learning of the whole congregation. 30 years of research: The active presence and engagement of an older adult (parent, grandparent, mentor, minister) is the single greatest influence on a young persons faith. Sometimes, young adults need to get out of their own bubbles (as everyone does) in order to engage with people across generational differences.

4 UCC Research on Young Adult Faith Formation 1. What are characteristics unique to this current generation of youth and young adults that could potentially impact how we do faith formation? Action-oriented; self starters; non-passive; collaborative They are book smart but are hungry to know how to be street smart and integrate their knowledge into everyday life Are both religious and spiritual and want to experience God They have short attention spansits not bad, just different. Their brains work and process information differently due to technology. Have a number of opportunities and commitments that compete for their time Need hands-on, interactive learning, not lecture-based Engaged about social justice issues and care about the global community

5 UCC Research on Young Adult Faith Formation (cont.) 2. How are youth and young adults experiencing community? Acts as a support system or alternative family Intergenerational, multicultural, open and affirming Experienced both in face-to-face interactions and through social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.) Therefore, community is not just those you are with and is understood and practiced in a broader sense. Youth and young adults are having difficulty forming community. Their time is often very scheduled which does not allow for the organic development of youth centered community. Those skills are developed when youth and young adults have sustained free time with peers and intergenerational feedback.

6 2. (Cont.) What do they seek or need from a faith community? A sense of meaning/meaningful experiences What youth and young adults are seeking is something real. All this tech- based interaction leaves people feeling a lack of authentic and meaningful interaction. Support and guidance for their choices and direction for their lives. Youth and young adults are looking for acceptance and are checking to see how the faith community responds. Safe spaces to practice being community with other peersthe church needs to be providing guidelines for the whole congregation around this in support of young people. Many youth and young adults do not have a faith community Because youth and young adults have so many opportunities, they may or may not understand the faith community to be a different type of community. Shared church leadership with youth/young adults (dont just give them their own programs to run)

7 3. What attracts youth and young adults to learning and growing in the UCC? Social justice work/advocacyappeals to sense of mission and service Open and affirming commitments, welcoming all Youth and young adults experience divisions (such as interests) and don't necessarily see divisions between people (such as race, sexual orientation). They lose patience with adults that don't show openness and acceptance. They like being a part of something that has acceptance at the core. UCCs culture of seeking/asking questions (i.e. through Our Whole Lives) Electronic modes of communication (Daily Devotional), on-line Facebook challenges Mission trips, outdoor ministries, camps More spiritual/missional ways to engage faith through worship that are not focused on the structures of organized religion UCC youth and young adults are energized when they find other UCC youth/young adults who share their similar values Not one solid strategy or answerWe will have to work at it every step of the way.

8 4. How have the internet, social networking, and other media affected the way youth and young adults are learning new ideas? Youth and young adults think of ministry in terms of virtual settings Most pastoral care conversations start online. Some are more comfortable sharing in this way. They dont have to ask why or how technology works, but often have to help older adults with this. Many are already beyond emailSocial networking can be seen as a gift to the church. Youth and young adults are plugged in at all times. Looking up information on their phones, browsing the internet while they watch TV, etc. Information may change or be altered significantly because of the additional input that is gained from new sources (people)leads to multiple truths/realities. UCC Research on Young Adult Faith Formation (cont.)

9 5. What impact has the generational emphasis on service to ones community had on youth faith formation, for both church and non-church attendees? Increase in intergenerational ministry It is a space where church and non-church, liberal and conservative, Christians and people of other faith traditions to be able to work together and see eye to eye. Struggle to connect service with faith: Service has become what we do as responsible citizens and not necessarily connected to a faith response. Secular settings do not provide the theological basis for service. Evangelism: Relationships built in service experiences may make it easier to open doors to church invitations and participation Demonstrates an active presence within ones local communityhas implications for churches in local settings UCC Research on Young Adult Faith Formation (cont.)

10 Discussion How do these themes and trends on the formation and leadership development of young adults compare with the young people you are working with?

11 The Big Picture Four Ages of the Church Doug Pagitt, Community in the Inventive Age (2011) AgrarianIndustrialInformationInventive LocationRuralUrbanSuburbanGlobal OutlookDependenceDominanceDissectionDiscovery SuccessSurvivalRepeatabilityExpertiseCreativity RelationshipsSingle CultureSide-By-SideUbiquitousPluralistic ChurchParishDenominationsLearning CenterCo-Op Church LeaderShepherdPreacherTeacherFacilitator

12 The Big Picture Models of Faith Formation and Learning John Westerhoff, Will Our Children Have Faith? (2012) Categorical Age (Conservative Model): The learner is a valuable piece of raw material, and the teacher is the expert who molds children. We do things to people so as to aid their growth into adulthood. Developmental Stage (Liberal Model): This model identifies people with their category, but the same kind of manipulation is at work as in the conservative model. The child or learner is a seed, the teacher or parent is a gardener, and the process is to care for the seeds until they grow up naturally. Now we do things for people. Characteristics of Life (Integrative Model): This model is not about events but processes and brings people together by interest. The learner is a pilgrim, the teacher is a co-pilgrim, and the process is a shared journey together over time. We do things with people.

13 Shifting Focus From an emphasis on: Developing religious content Designing programming Managing programming Teaching/Facilitating programming To an emphasis on: Designing learning environmentsarchitecture Curating religious content and experiences John Roberto, Emerging Faith Formation Roles: Architect and Curator,

14 Discussion How might these models and new understandings of faith formation affect your ministry with the young adults serving in your congregations?

15 Contact Information Foundations, Findings, and Futures: Christian Faith Formation and Education in the United Church of Christ Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, Ph.D. Minister for Christian Faith Formation Research Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Local Church Ministries 1-866-822-8224 x3866

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