Fresh Ideas for Family Faith Formation


I’m a child of the 1970s who was raised in a ranch-style home in small-town Ontario by Dutch immigrant parents. Our family attended the local Christian Reformed church. On Sunday mornings I learned about God in Sunday school. On Friday nights I donned a blue skirt, white shirt, and blue scarf to attend Calvinettes. In my teen years I went to catechism classes and a profession of faith class. During the week I went to Christian school with the same kids I saw on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.

Family devotions looked like this: a pre-meal prayer led by Mom or Dad, followed by a rapid-fire delivery of  “Lord-bless-this-food-and-drink-for-Jesus’-sake-amen” by me and my brothers. After we ate, there was a reading of a Bible storybook when we were young and Today: The Family Altar devotions when we were teens.

In those years, similar scenes played out across North America in other Christian Reformed homes.

Flash-forward to today’s parents, whom ministry leaders describe this way:

  • exhausted
  • overwhelmed and over committed
  • concerned about the impact of technology and culture on their children
  • unsure about how to nurture the faith of their kids at home
  • afraid that their kids will walk away from the faith
  • above all, busy.

 “The families in my church do not need more activities to do, more ducks to juggle. Nor do I," says Austin Crenshaw Shelley. "We need help setting aside all the doing that we clutch so tightly, so that our hands can be open to receive the gifts God has in store—and so that our ears are tuned to the notes God would have us play. We need time to be.”   

Life has changed for families. Could it be that the church needs to change too?

What if we embrace the truth that the present is different from the past (not better or worse, but different), and that this difference requires new faith formation strategies?

What blessings might we experience if we paint a vivid picture of the exciting possibilities for family faith formation?

What might change if your congregation created a vision for family faith formation that engaged people of all ages and built on each family’s strengths?

When asked to identify those strengths, ministry leaders describe today’s families in terms like these:

  • resilient
  • devoted and caring
  • fun
  • active
  • thoughtful and open to trying new ideas
  • intentional about teaching their kids to make a difference in the world
  • interested in exploring faith formation

The Family Faith Formation toolkit is designed to help your church tap into these strengths and develop new ways to support families as they grow in faith, both in community and at home. It’s your online source for practical ideas, thought-provoking articles, resource lists, ministry tools, family practices and more. Open it today and discover fresh ideas for family faith formation.

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