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Faith Formation Ministries formally launched at Synod this past June. While we are the “new kid on the block” as far as denominational ministries go, our work actually began back in June of 2013. That is when the denomination launched a pilot project called the Faith Formation Initiative. The timing was ripe. The Faith Formation Committee had just completed its work and Faith Alive’s ministry as the publishing arm of the denomination formally ended. The departure of each of these left gaps to be filled.

That was when the Denominational Office appointed Syd Hielema to start working on a very part-time basis to develop an initiative for encouraging and supporting Christian Reformed congregations in their faith formation practices, particularly as it relates to children, youth, and young adults. Two years later, we are now an office (Faith Formation Ministries) with four staff members (two of whom are full-time) and three regional staff who work 10-20 hours a week. We are hoping to grow the number of regional staff from three people to ten or twelve people over the next five years. Their work will be at the very core of Faith Formation Ministries.

In the weeks ahead, we’d like to introduce you to the people who serve Christian Reformed congregations as part of Faith Formation Ministries. We’d like to start with our regional staff, who we are calling Regional Catalyzers. Their work will look different in different places, but we hope will be characterized by some core characteristics that are at the heart of how we are seeking to serve congregations—a posture of humility and grace, asking questions and listening, and creating connections and encouraging innovation.

Here are some of the things that they will do:

  • They will cultivate and maintain relationships with congregational discipleship and faith formation leaders, including children’s ministry leaders, youth ministry leaders, adult small group leaders, and many others.
  • Through processes of appreciative inquiry and asset-mapping, they will discern the patterns of plenitude and need across local congregations and regions.
  • They will respond to requests for support by hosting regional workshops and participating in events that equip congregational leaders.
  • They will build and maintain relationships with other regional personnel who represent partner ministries and work in collaboration with them in ways that make it easier for congregations to connect to denominational ministries for support.

Most importantly, we hope that through these people, Christian Reformed congregations will feel encouraged and supported by the denominational ministries who have their backs. Some of these folks are already at work! Starting next week, we will begin introducing them to you, one-by-one, via interviews right here. Stay tuned!

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