This article is part of The Building Blocks of Faith Toolkit—a collection of resources for strengthening faith formation in your congregation and at home, brought to you by Faith Formation Ministries.
The Building Blocks of Faith provide simple language for describing four basic spiritual needs that all people have. While the Building Blocks themselves are not a program, they are an excellent tool to help your church be more intentionally faith-formative.
There are many ways to use the Building Blocks in your ministry planning process. Here are just a few ideas you could try.
Plan by age-and-stage groupings
After you do the assessment, you might want to focus your planning on specific groups that show low scores. For example, you might focus on emerging adults, who are often unsure about where to find a place in the congregation after they age out of youth programming. You could
gather a listening group and invite emerging adults to share how they perceive they’re growing (or not growing) in each of the Building Blocks areas.
invite emerging adults to help create and lead initiatives that would support their growth so that they become partners in ministry.
Consider using a tool like this one, either in a mentoring relationship or with individual emerging adults, to help people imagine what opportunities there might be for them.
Plan by Building Blocks theme
After you use the Building Blocks to assess your faith formation efforts, there are many ways to use the assessment data. You can focus on leveraging the Building Blocks in which you show strength, or you can choose to address the Building Blocks in which you score lower. If there is capacity within the congregation to address both simultaneously, the momentum of your high-scoring areas can encourage improvement in areas with lower scores.
An example might be a congregation with a high score in Belonging and a low score in Calling.
Addressing a high Belonging score might look like this:
Create an ad hoc Belonging Team to walk through the church building, asking how every space conveys hospitality and helps people feel that they belong to God and to their church family. They might use a chart like this.
The Belonging Team could ask ministry leaders to list what they do to encourage belonging to Christ and to their ministry, and to outline support they might need.
To address a low score in Calling, create a similar ad hoc team to look at how people can grow in their ministry callings through the various ministries of the church.
Both ad hoc teams could then work together to find opportunities for people to experience belonging while exploring their calling.
Plan by ministry area
The Building Blocks can also help leaders focus on a particular aspect of a ministry. For instance, if a congregation wants to support the faith formation of its children’s ministry volunteers, leaders can ask how volunteers are experiencing each of the Building Blocks while they serve in that ministry. A planning tool might look like this. It could be completed by ministry leaders or adapted for use by volunteers.
Plan by ministry initiative
Let’s say your church would like to start a congregation-wide initiative to help you grow in a particular faith practice. The Building Blocks of Faith can support that work. Here’s an example:
Maybe you want to tell more faith stories. The Building Blocks can help you explore how to use various strategies, venues, and question prompts to encourage different groups to share their faith stories about belonging, knowing and understanding, having hope, and being called and equipped. This planning tool might be helpful.
You can also talk about how telling and hearing faith stories might help people feel a greater sense of belonging, increase their knowledge and understanding, give them hope, and help them hear God’s call.
Because the Building Blocks model is flexible, there are various ways in which it can help congregations become faith formative in all aspects of congregational life. Each Building Block is a doorway into creating a robust discipleship culture that is contextual and lifegiving.
Looking for training or coaching? If you’re part of a Christian Reformed church, one of Faith Formation Ministries’ regional catalyzers can train and coach your team in using the Building Blocks of Faith.