For our next installation in the series introducing the staff of Faith Formation Ministries (FFM), we would like to introduce you to Sandy Swartzentruber, Resource Development Manager. Sandy started working for FFM last month, and we are thrilled to have her on our team!
You are an avid reader and writer. Can you name a couple of the best books that you have read in the past year?
Oh man, that’s always hard. Books are good for so many different reasons and my interests are so varied that it’s hard to choose a “best.” But in the past year, books I loved included the novel All the Light We Cannot See, the young adult novel The War that Saved My Life, the memoir The Mockingbird Next Door, and the young adult nonfiction book Bomb by Steve Sheinkin. But the most fun book I read was The Martian, because I love space exploration. There’s a part of me that longs for dangerous adventure, so I like reading about natural disasters and no-win situations. But there’s a stronger part of me that values safety, so I’m happy to read about things I will never do.
Can you describe for us a key person (or people) who played an important role in your faith formation?
Without a doubt, it was my dad. Since he was a religion professor at Calvin College, it was really important to him that we kids were biblically literate and theologically informed. We read a portion of Scripture every night after dinner, so by the time I left for college I had been through the entire Bible many times. Dad was also very involved in Christian education and church education, so that shaped my experience as well. Beyond our family, the church small groups I’ve been a part have played a huge role in teaching me about Christian community, unconditional love, and how the members of the body of Christ can care for one another.
You once worked for the publishing arm of the Christian Reformed Church, Faith Alive. What are you able to do in your position for Faith Formation Ministries that you were not able to do for Faith Alive?
When I worked for Faith Alive my role was primarily editorial. That meant that the resource had been pretty well “baked” by the time it got to me. But it was a great opportunity to learn about how effective resources are put together and how much the people who do it care about the end result. An unbelievable amount of blood, sweat, and sometimes tears goes into creating a Sunday school curriculum, for example. In my role with FFM I’m very excited about the opportunity to help identify, gather, and provide creative faith formation resources for CRC churches. There are so many great ideas out there, both in CRC churches and beyond. The librarian/curator part of my personality loves ferreting those things out and sharing them.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it in your role as Resource Coordinator?
I keep a neat desk at work, but at home I’m a total piler. I’d love to be able to snap my fingers and have everything fly into its assigned spot. (My husband is a neat-nik, so he would especially appreciate that superpower.) At work it would be useful if I could snap my fingers and have the very best, most applicable, most inspiring resources for churches jump into my inbox, too. But I do really enjoy the process of searching them out, so it’s OK that I don’t have that superpower. I’m a big proponent of the idea that struggle is necessary for growth, so making things too easy isn’t always better.