Okay, I totally get the marketing strategy that is driving this video, but I was still floored by the impact of the gift-giving project it shows. Take a moment to watch it and then we’ll consider some implications for faith formation.
Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk#t=298.
So now that you’re either wiping away tears or fuming about the materialistic implications of the project, let’s take a deep breath and consider what we can learn.
The power of this experience can be summed up with one word and this one word also captures the essence of Christianity: PERSONALIZATION.
The airline transformed what are usually very impersonal experiences, scanning a boarding pass and picking up luggage, into personalized encounters that will be etched in the participants’ memories forever. Person-centered methods have enormous motivational impact.
Christianity, more than other religions, is person-centered. We don’t worship a code of law. We don’t worship a philosophy. We don’t worship human intelligence. We don’t worship money.
We… worship… a… person!
Christians worship Jesus Christ in communion with a personal Father and Spirit; second, we love other persons! How can we not be the world’s experts on implementing the personal touch in our programs and services? Our core identity is to get personal!
When we plan faith formation programs, we will have a much greater impact on our participants if we design them with opportunities for participants to connect the content of the learning sessions to the unique circumstances of their lives. The closer we can capture the details of their lives, their desires, their passions, their struggles, and their needs, the more we will touch their hearts and have the impact that will send them down the exciting path of conversion.
We can be successful at weaving the lives of our church members into our programs only if we know who they are. Here’s my suggestion: develop formal and informal ways to hear their stories and then address the themes of those stories every time you gather them for faith formation. Like this very smart airline, if you put your strongest focus on your members and the details of their lives rather than on your content, your content will come to life in ways you could not have imagined!
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