Course 3. Family Faith Formation (Winter 2017)


Jolene Roehlkepartain

I'm one of the co-authors of Families at the Center of Faith Formation, and I'm the author of 33 books. I was the founding editor of Children's Ministry magazine, and I now do consulting for congregations.


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Course Overview

Course #3 explores the family as the single most important influence on religious transmission and faith practice—a truth demonstrated in research studies, the Christian tradition, and pastoral experience. The faith of parents and grandparents, their role modeling, their teaching, their warm and affirming parenting style are key factors in religious transmission and developing highly religious children, youth, and young adults. In the new faith forming ecosystem, congregations need to equip families as centers of faith formation developed around three essential elements.

Course #3 guides participants in 1) reviewing the research on families today and their importance in forming faith; 2) researching family faith practices with families in their congregation; 3) exploring their current narrative on faith and family faith formation; 4) applying "families at the center approach" to their congregation; and 5) designing a comprehensive approach to family faith formation using eight foundational strategies: 

  1. Discovering God in Daily Life 
  2. Forming Faith at Home through the Life Cycle
  3. Forming Faith through Milestones
  4. Celebrating Seasonal Events through the Year
  5. Encountering God in the Bible through the Year
  6. Connecting Families Intergenerationally
  7. Developing a Strong Family Life
  8. Empowering Parents and Grandparents


  • Families at the Center or Faith Formation. John Roberto, editor. (LifelongFaith, 2016).
  • Don’t Forget the Families. (Search Institute, 2015) (Download in Week #12)
  • Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century. John Roberto (LifelongFaith, 2015).

Online Live Presentations: January-April 2017

Connect to the Zoom Video Conference using the following link: 

Thursday, January 26, 2017:   1-4 pm EST

Thursday, February 23, 2017:  1-4 pm EST 

Thursday, April 20, 2017:         1-4 pm EST

Discussion Forum

Posting responses to the Discussion Forum is an integral element of every course. Discussions are integrated into Weeks 2, 4, 5, 6, and 9-13. 

There is a focusing question for each session. Every participant is asked to post a response to the question in the Discussions tab on the main menu. Your response might be as short as one sentence or might be a series of actions your are going to take because of your learning. 

We encourage you to return regularly to the Discussions Forum to review and respond to posts by course participants. 


The project assignment for Course #3 is the development of a comprehensive plan - using the 8 strategies - for families in your congregation. This is the focus of your learning in Weeks 8-13 of the course. Your comprehensive plan will be developed as you complete each of the learning plans in Weeks 8-13. You can focus your comprehensive plan on children (0-grade 5) or adolescents (grades 6-12) OR you can develop a plan for families with children from ages 0-20. Select a target audience, so that you can focus your learning and design work on your target audience throughout Weeks 8-13.

Be sure to add digitally enabled and digitally connected strategies to your comprehensive plan. Then describe/outline how you will add your family formation plan to your current faith formation network and website (that you have been developing since Course #1) OR how you will or create a plan for a digital platform for family faith formation. 

Compile your strategy plans and activities into one document. For details on the assignment go to the Tasks bar. 

Congregational Team Meetings

During the four month timespan of Course #3, schedule three meetings with your congregational team to accomplish the following tasks: 

Team Meeting 1 (Schedule for Week #1): Research Family Faith Practices 

  • Gather your team to plan for conducting the research on family faith practices. See Week #1 for the instructions on how to do the research project and for the survey. 

Team Meeting 2 (Schedule for Week #6): Complete the Assessment - "What's Your Congregation's Approach to Families?" 

  • Gather your team to complete and discuss the “What’s Your Congregation’s Approach to Families?” assessment tool. See Week #5 for the instructions and assessment tool. 

Team Meeting 3 (Schedule for Week #13): Review and Discuss Your Congregational Plan for Family Faith Formation 

  • Gather your team to review and consult with you in developing your course project - a comprehensive plan for family faith formation using the 8 strategies. This is the focus of your learning in Weeks 8-13 of the course. Your comprehensive plan will be developed as you complete each of the learning plans in Weeks 8-13. (For more information about the assignment go the Tasks tab.)

Course content

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