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Posted in: The Why in Synod


Thanks for raising these important questions Meg. It really comes down to a question of stewardship, don't you think? 

Posted in: The Why in Synod

I have to say that after spending a good part of the week listening in on synod via the webcast, discussing it over twitter, and meeting up with some of the younger delegates at a few post-Synodical brews, that I can see the value of this yearly gathering. 

While there are still things I think could be done more efficiently to save some time and money, I think that it is still time and money well spent. I do hope that down the road the number of delegates is increased and diversified so that more people can come to be a part of the gathering and enage in all of the fellowship, debate, and worship that comes along with it. 

I know I was blessed by being a part of the conversation, even if it was only over twitter. 



Derek Atkins on September 20, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


Yep, I do work for Faith Alive. Home Grown deals with all the topics you mentioned and more. It's actually set up in a question and answer format---perfect for busy parents and those who aren't interested in reading a chapter book. It allows them to skim through topics and check out different questions as they need to.  

Some of the questions (there are 111 of them)  that are answered are "How soon should I start talking to my child about God?", "How do I pray with my child?", "What's the big deal about baptism?", "How do I explain death to my child?", and "When can we do devotions if we don't eat together?" The answers are practical, helpful and shared with humor.

If you'd like to see a sample of the author's writing style, see the "Home Grown Faith" article in the August issue of The Banner.  There is also a sample on the product page.  

As far as a pamphlet-type resource, there isn't anything that I know of that we offer.  An excellent idea though! 



Hi Keith, 

I'm the editor at Faith Alive working with Terpstra Creative to get the films out.  I just wanted to clarify for your readers that Faith Alive is still working through the details on this project. We haven't finalized anything just yet, so contacting FA won't be of much help.  We have to get final approvals and budgeting done before this is offical and the details can make it to our customer service team. 

For the time being, if any readers have questions about the project, they can feel free to contact me directly since I'm the one managing the proposal for Faith Alive.  I can be reached at [email protected]  


My go-to suggestion would be Shaped by God, edited by Bob Keeley ( It's an excellent resource with chapters on all sorts of topics by different authors. 

I ran into George Brown (G.W. and Eddie Haworth Professor Emeritus of Christian Education at Western Theological Seminary) a few weeks ago and he recommended these two newer titles on faith formation:

Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations by Vern Bengtson

Faith Forward by Melvin Bray

Let us know what you decide on, we'd love to hear your thoughts! 



Thanks for the question Josh. I reached out to Howard Vanderwell at Calvin Seminary to ask for his advice. Here's what he offered for consideration: 

1. In which of these congregations does he intend to remain affiliated, either, or both?  How he answers that might provide insight into which is his "primary membership".

2. Normally baptism and profession of faith are combined as a unit in the same congregation, so it's rather unusual to have one here and another there.

3. Possibility #1 is that he "transfers" his baptism record to the new congregation (yours) at the time of making POF there. Then they are together there which is the usual way.

4. The other possibility is to receive a statement by him, if necessary verified by the other congregation, that his is in fact baptized, and then the profession of faith can proceed without an adult baptism. A statement that there is a baptism in his past is usually sufficient. Your congregation/Elders can then acknowledge his baptism at _____, and proceed with his POF.  But some churches are very careless in keeping record of such things.  If  he  has not been baptized, then his POF should be turned into an adult baptism.  

I hope this helps. It does seems like a decision that should be made by your council since they know the situation best. You could always reach out to your classis for guidance on the issue as well. 



I agree... I think a great fund-raising idea post can come out these comments Paul!

But I also think that maybe this particular fund-raising option can be used alongside other campaigns churches run. Let me first preface this by saying I work for Faith Alive, but wanted to offer just a couple of thoughts:

- People in our congregations are always going to be buying books for themselves or as gifts for people. This option allows that "book" money go directly to two sources: their youth group and their denominational publisher. This gives people in the congregation the chance to bless the youth group and the FA/CRCNA with their purchases instead of putting that money in someone else's pocket. And the part of that money that comes into FA goes right back into producing better products for our churches.

- This actually can open up some of those "intergenerational" doors that everyone is talking about. The teenagers in your church are going to have to know something about these books in order to tell the congregation about them and help point people to certain titles that may interest them (FA should help them with that). They may recommend a book to someone in the congregation, who then reads and loves it. That person then has a connecting point with the teen(s) that sold them the book to say, "Hey, I really liked that book you guys sold us/recommended." Books have always been a connecting point for people, and this can help your congregation connect in new ways.

- These are great book/study group titles. What a great opportunity to buy multiple copies for groups in your church and know the money is going to your kids. While you are at it, think about buying copies for the teens selling them and invite them to join your "adult" book clubs and discussion groups!

- Buy a few extra for the young adult/college-age members that may not have the extra money and invite them to read along with your groups or just give them as gifts. 

- Theology matters. The number of Christian books, studies, devotions, and whatever else out there is huge. Like Paul mentioned, it seems there are far too few solid Reformed resources on our book shelves and church classrooms. We at FA works hard to publish books that will help to edify, inform, and challenge readers with solid Reformed ideas and worldview. 

Like I said, just a few thoughts. This doesn't have to take the place of what you are already doing and the fund-raising efforts that give 100% back to your congregations. But it can help raise some extra money on the side for the youth groups while supplying the congregation with great resources and reads.  And it supports "us" (your church, FA, the CRC) instead of, etc. It's a win-win I would think... but then again I work here :)

Derek Atkins on March 30, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Haha, no, not sales or marketing. I actually edit curriculum, so stuff that doesn't have anything to do with this sale at all!

My intent was just to point out some ways the sale could be used to drive fellowship too, since it does come off a little "transaction-based." I really think your "in the background" idea is interesting. Running this in addition to traditional congregational-based fund raising is probably going to be most attractive to churches.

Another option could maybe be to offer a quarterly or twice-a-year option aimed at developing some kind of pattern/rhythm so churches can come to rely on it as a way to learn about and acquire new FA books, plan some of their reading group topics or adult ed studies around it, etc.  What are your thoughts on that?

I'm glad to see such good engagement with the topic on here. I'm going to pass this along to the professionals over in sales/marketing to follow-up with you on.  Thanks for the great feedback!


Derek Atkins on May 9, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This is one of the best comments I've seen on the Network in a long time. Thanks for the level-headed and gracious approach here Randy. 

Interesting question Bill. I'm not sure I get the sales pitch angle you are getting at since we aren't "selling" anything in an effort to make money. 

And yes, the "real" work of forming faith is done by God (see, for example Eph 2:8). However we are called to nurture faith in each other as covenant communities who promise at each person’s baptism to “love, encourage, and support . . . by teaching the gospel of God’s love, by being an example of Christian faith and character, and by giving the strong support of God’s family in fellowship, prayer, and service.” These relational and communal acts of faith formation are part of the discipleship process... things that occur as we look for ways to invest in each other’s lives and live into our identity in Christ together. Our lives are constantly being shaped by God, and part of our responsibility as lifelong disciples is to be looking for ways to be used by the Spirit to help others be “formed, transformed, and conformed to the image of Christ,” as Holly Allen writes. That may be by teaching Sunday School, mentoring a teenager, helping parents nurture faith in their kids, leading an adult bible study, hosting a missional community, serving together, etc. 

So we help leaders in congregations who are charged with helping people of all ages grow in their faith (in all the ways that happens). Does that help? 



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