Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) CRC is the only CRC congregation on that lovely island, but they don’t let their isolation diminish their desire to be equipped for passionate discipleship. They invited Faith Formation Ministries’ regional catalyzer Rev. Lesli VanMilligen to spend an entire weekend with them and lead them in four different learning experiences. The weekend was orchestrated by the congregation's strategic implementation team who were tasked with helping the congregation move to a regional community groups structure. Because it’s the only CRC church on the island, some families drive an hour for Sunday worship and do not attend midweek meetings. The community group structure allows for 5 geographic regions to live life more richly together in closer proximity.
Lesli hosted four different workshops during the course of the weekend.
- The “Building Blocks of Faith” workshop served as a way of helping the congregation look at its overall ministries. The post worship coffee hour was used to illustrate how the building blocks operate. Lesli was amazed to see that the next day – Sunday morning – some folks had already begun to implement insights shared during this workshop!
- A “Navigating Church Culture workshop” was presented to the council and implementation team. We at FFM find that the reality of church culture is both the most important and least understood dimension of faith formation. The workshop focused on 3 major changes being faced by the congregation, and discussed what was living within the culture that would support and what might sabotage these changes, as well as what kind of leadership would be needed to move in these new directions.
- A “Family Formation workshop” was presented to council and other church members as one more way to support their new community groups and the families within them as a way to move from centralized programming to relational faith formation. The focus was on empowering parents and creating sturdy faith webs around youth within each community group.
- Finally, a “Storytelling workshop” presented during an evening service, using the sharing of faith stories as one concrete way to create belonging within community groups and supporting the faith journeys of young people. Time was spent sharing a short God Moment Story with each during the worship and reflected on that experience while using Psalm 78 as an important reminder of why we cannot neglect sharing what we know of God's story and where it intersects with our own lives.
We at Faith Formation Ministries are grateful that Charlottetown invited us to walk with them for this “Faith Formation Intensive Weekend.” Might your congregation benefit from something similar? Let us know.
Faith Formation Ministries provides congregational faith formation leaders the opportunity to meet in-person or connect digitally or by phone with members of our team and other ministry leaders for coaching and support. Whether it’s a one-time, one-on-one conversation or a long-term peer group, we are here to help. For more information about our regional catalyzer, visit crcna.org/FaithFormation/coaching!