Lifelong faith formation addresses the unique life tasks, needs, interests, and spiritual journeys of age groups and generations across the whole lifespan. The eight faith forming processes—caring relationships, celebrating church year seasons, celebrating rituals and milestones, learning the tradition, praying and spiritual formation, reading the Bible, serving and working for justice, and worshipping—are the framework for an age-specific or generationally-specific curriculum, which also includes life issues appropriate to that stage of life.
Course #4 explores faith formation across the life cycle in six stages:
The course introduces you to lifelong faith formation by exploring all six stages in the first Online Presentation (Week #2) and by presenting a variety of faith formation practices and approaches for each stage of the life cycle in the second Online Presentation (Week #7). We will be applying the principles of 21st century faith formation and the eight faith forming processes to each stage of the life cycle. Participants will be involved in designing a faith formation plan (programs, activities, strategies) for specific life stages delivered and conducted in multiple settings—self-directed, mentored, at home, in small groups, in large groups, church-wide, in the community and world; and in physical and online learning environments.
Connect to the Zoom Video Conference using the following link: https://zoom.us/j/243469207
Wednesday, January 25, 2017: 1-4 pm EST
Wednesday, March 1, 2017: 1-4 pm EST
Wednesday, April 19, 2017: 1-4 pm EST
The course will introduce you to lifelong faith formation, but we recognize that it is beyond the scope of this course to have you develop faith formation for each of the six stages. So we are asking you to focus on two age groups.
The Primary Life Cycle Stage is the one you chose in Course #1 and most likely reflects the focus of your congregational ministry. In Course #1 you began work on a faith formation network for a target audience: age group, family, or whole community. Since then you have developed plans and activities for intergenerational and family faith formation that you can add to your network. In Course #4 you will complete the design you began, add new content and activities, and develop a plan to launch your faith formation by Fall 2017. (In Course #5 you will add Missional content, activities, and strategies.)
The Second Life Cycle Stage will involve developing a new plan for faith formation for an age group that is important for your current work, or that is underserved or not well developed in the congregation. For example if your primary age group is children - and you don't have effective adolescent faith formation - you might want to develop a faith formation plan for adolescents. OR if your primary age group is children or adolescents, you might want to develop a faith formation plan for the age group of their parents (either Young Adulthood for younger children or Midlife Adulthood).
If you developed a whole community plan for faith formation in Course #1, then you can strengthen that plan during this course AND then target on one or more age groups to develop a new faith formation plan.
A special note about adult faith formation: Depending on the size of your congregation, you can combine one or more adult stages to create a new faith formation plan. It may not be realistic to create plans for each adult stage, rather you can target individual experiences, programs, and activities to specific age groups as part of one adult faith formation plan.
Be sure to update your faith formation website with the new content you have developed for your primary life cycle stage.
Posting responses to the Discussion Forum is an integral element of every course. Discussions are integrated into Weeks 3-6, and 8-10, 11-13.
There is a focusing question in the "Apply" section of each learning plan. 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.
During the four month timespan of Course #1, schedule three meetings with your congregational team to accomplish the following tasks:
Team Meeting 1 - Week #1. Engage your team in working with you to complete the lifelong faith formation profile in Week #1, and reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of lifelong faith formation in your congregation.
Team Meeting 2 - Week #8. Review with your team your assignment work in Weeks 3-6 for the two age groups you have selected for your project. This is the work you have done for Part 2 (Reflect and Apply) of the learning sessions. Engage them in reviewing the results of analysis of your work the developmental characteristics of each age group, and in developing suggestions for growth and improvement.
Team Meeting 3 - Weeks #11-13. Engage your team in develop your designs for your two assignments (see above).