Welcome to the Faith Formation conversation on the Network!
Actually, welcome to a part of the faith formation conversation on the Network. If you’ve been around the Network for a while, you probably realize that discussions on discipleship and formation take up quite a bit of real estate around here. Jolanda Howe leads a great discussion on Sunday School, Shane Rozeveld does the same for Youth Ministry, and Sam Huizenga guides the Small Group section. Throw into that mix the many great posts (and potential posts!) that touch on faith formation in areas like Children & Worship, Coffee Break, Disability Concerns, Elders, GEMS, Global Mission, Intergenerational Ministry, Leadership Development, Ministry Coordinators, Single Adults, Social Justice, VBS, Worship, and Young Adults and you’ll start to see a great picture of all the ways God works through his church to form disciples and nurture lifelong faith.
But what exactly does it mean to “make disciples” or “form faith”? What exactly did Jesus mean when he instructed the disciples to go, baptize, and teach (see Matthew 28:19-20)? I think many of us get the baptism part of discipleship but struggle when it comes to the “teaching” part. If, as Calvin College prof Jamie Smith has noted, the first and perennial question of discipleship is “Now what?”, then now what? What are the means, manner, or even the intended results of our disciple-making efforts? And what do faith/spiritual/Christian formation and nurture have to do with it?
My hope for this little corner of the Network is that it will help spark thoughts and conversations about all these things and more in hearts, minds, and ministry team meeting rooms across the denomination. Please feel free to add thoughts, share stories, and post questions. I’ll be doing the same. I’m looking forward to exploring together the many amazing ways God is working in his church.