When Faith Formation Ministries began it's work, one piece that we felt was sorely missing was administrative coordination. Connecting a team of six regional catalyzers with support staff in both Michigan and Ontario can be challenging. That is why we were so grateful when Christine Dekker joined Faith Formation Ministries this January. She has already been a huge asset to our staff. Meet Christine.
Can you describe for us a key person (or people) who played an important role in your faith formation?
I have found that faith is a journey of growth that takes time. Many people have traveled in and out of our family’s life and each have had a part in shaping the faith that I (and we) carry with us. Life has it’s ups and downs, its joys and sorrows. The friends and small groups that have walked with us during all these times have helped form who I am.
That being said, the people who have helped form my faith the most have been my parents, and my husband. My Mom taught Sunday School for 50 years. She led women’s bible study for more than 30 years. She loved digging into scripture and sharing what she discovered with others.She was a prayer warrior and a mentor to many. She had a faith that was so solid, it was unshakable.
My Dad carries a faith that is unshakable too. I have been amazed at how he has been so carried by his faith in these last few years since we unexpectedly lost my Mom. My Dad has a servant heart, and to this day, works at the Bibles for Missions thrift store in his city. His generous heart has shaped my faith.
Finally, my husband has shaped my faith--he has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of me, yet still loves--isn’t that what Christ does as well? His example of Christ-likeness spurs me to be more Christ-like and to love in spite of the bad and the ugly.
One of your hobbies is cooking. Are there any lessons in cooking for how congregations do faith formation?
You are right, I love to cook. I love the whole process of reading recipes, planning dinners, shopping, chopping and putting it all together, well-presented, on a plate. Preparing a great dinner takes time and patience.
Some people always cook on high. They want to get the job done quickly and get the food on the plate. They just want to eat and are anticipating the finished food more that the realities of the intricacies it takes to get it there. They are not concerned about the chemistry of the sear, the sweat of the onions, or the love it takes to not break a buerre blanc sauce. They struggle with patience as some recipes just take too much time.
Aren’t we like this with our faith as well? We want to be “all grown up”, “know all the answers” now. Immediately. We don’t want to face the heat of the sear, or the tears from the onions, or the patience it takes to walk through a difficult painful situation--but those components are what makes the outcome so good--the willingness to spend time in the whole process and have God meet us there.
Faith Formation takes time. Some situations in life might cause us to grow up quickly, but for the most part, like creating an amazing dinner, faith growth takes time, patience and love.
What books or authors has God used to shape your faith?
Honestly, I am not much of a reader. I am a hands on learner. I live with a walking encyclopedia, who remembers books he read at College while doing his BTH. Since he is now a professor of ministry, he is a wealth of knowledge who reads constantly. I let him do the reading and then pick his brain about what he has read. Our discussions together, and with others, have taught me and formed me incredibly.
I do appreciate Philip Yancey's writings and his willingness to be open about his relationship with God. His book Disappointment with God carried me through some dark days in our lives.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it in your role as Administrative Coordinator?
The Superpower would like to have would be to travel from place to place in the blink of my eyes. I could hop to Chicago for lunch with our daughter, then have supper in Iowa, have tea with my Dad in Ontario before he goes to bed, then be home again.
How great this would be for my role in FFM! I could hop to Ancaster to talk through some things with Syd, then drop some User’s Guides for the Children at the Table toolkit off to Liz in BC, and be back in the office to take care of details here. I would love to be able to travel without the expense of airplanes and the time it takes to get everywhere!