The Faith Formation Learning Exchange is a free service of Vibrant Faith Ministries in Minneapolis. At Vibrant Faith Ministries we are committed to being a catalyst for Christian congregations, communities and households striving to practice vibrant faith in a dynamic world. The Learning Exchange is a forum where Vibrant Faith Ministries can bring the best thinking and practices in lifelong faith formation to you as a leader in faith formation.
BLOGSare written by our team of curators and published several times each week. Sign up to receive our blogs with an RSS Feed or via email. Subscribe to receive a new Blog post via e-mail or RSS feed on the Blog page.
FEATURE ARTICLES are written by one of our curators or an invited guest, focusing on a specific topic or issue in faith formation, and published every week.
SevenFAITH FORMATION STRATEGIES for lifelong faith formation - life issues and transitions; milestones through life; ritual, worship, and prayer; seasons of the year; service and justice; spiritual formation and practices; teaching and learning - are designed to assist you developing faith formation with age groups, families, and all generations.
TheFAITH FORMATION LIBRARYof research, models, practices, tools, and resources is organized around age groups, families, and all generations.
LEADERS in faith formation access resources for personal enrichment, leadership skills and approaches, and practical tools for congregational leadership.
Introducing Other Spiritual Practices Jolene Roehlkepartain Most people know about the standard spiritual practices: fasting, meditating, praying, and studying scripture, to name a few. Often we look for new ways to present these important practices. What about expanding the list of spiritual practices and see which ones catch with people? Introduce more spiritual practices to adults through this book, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor (HarperOne, 2009). Read more. . . .
Do you Care? You Will if You Want Happiness! Jim Merhaut Well, it’s true and Harvard proved it! The happiest people are the people in love. People in love are deeply and broadly connected with others and their relationships are characterized by expressions of care. Harvard recently completed a 75-year study on a group of men that began when they were in college. These men are now in their 90’s. The study focused on determining what made them happy in their lives. Here are the five major findings. Read more. . .
Ashes to Go 2014 Kyle Matthew Oliver The Ashes to Go movement came last year to the church I serve in Washington, DC. We are a pretty traditional congregation, especially in matters liturgical and theological, so this was bound to be an experience that stretched us. How would the neighborhood respond? How would our parishioners respond? “Incredibly positively,” was the answer I shared time and time again in the days following. Read more . . .
A Lenten Tradition for Families Jolene Roehlkepartain How do you help families talk to their children about Lent? When my sons were young, I discovered a way for our family to mark the season of Lent. I created a Lenten wreath. I combined two 10-inch gold Advent rings and placed putty in one of the candleholders to create seven candlesticks instead of eight. I set the two rings together and made them nonsymmetrical. I covered the Advent rings with grapevine in a circle, and I used burgundy candles to represent Christ’s crucifixion. Read more . . . .
Lenten Thoughts - As We Lead Others Janet Schaeffler, OP The challenge of Lent-Easter-Pentecost is quite different from the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle. Our culture provides little competition during Lent (as opposed to the busyness and extravagance of Advent). By and large, we are free to observe Lent/Easter with little interference from society. That this is so, however, may be a sign that we have not been observing this ninety-day cycle very well. Read more. . .
A Family Faith Practice Treats the Entire Family Debbie Streicher Dr. Mark is a medical doctor involved with family practice. He was also president of his church council when I met him. After hearing him tell his thoughts about family ministry, it was clear to me why he had made time in his busy schedule to take on a leadership role in his congregation. I felt there must be some correlation between his knowledge of treating patients through family practice and the passion and interest he showed for supporting family ministry in his congregation. Read more. . .
Teaching with Stories of Hope Jim Merhaut Movies capture the spirit of hope in strikingly clear fashion. Have you ever had the experience of watching a movie and knowing the outcome will be good, but in the midst of an action scene you wonder how it is possible for the main character to even survive? Yet you remind yourself that you know the ending will be a good one. You are sustained through the challenging scene by the sure hope of a positive outcome without knowing what the positive outcome is or how it will be achieved. Read more. . .
Lifelong & Life-Wide Faith Formation Kyle Matthew Oliver In holding up faith formation as lifelong, we guard against the grave mistake that sturdy faith is something you acquire in Sunday school, youth group, or confirmation class and then simply possess from there forward. That’s the error of an elite, professionalized model where Christian education is about imparting the correct, church-sanctioned knowledge. It’s an error that most readers of this blog avoid. Read more. . .
The Power of Online Communities Shannon Kelly I spend a lot of my time going to meetings and conferences. The face-to-face time at these events is invaluable because of the connections made, interests shared, and information gained. I also spend a lot of my time online doing video conference calls, responding to email and Facebook, and culling through many online resources to find the good ones that are out there. Over the last few years I have gotten pushback from colleagues about online conversations and connections not being “real” or that things like Facebook don’t encourage “genuine” relationships. Read more. . .
Creative Prayer Practices Shannon Kelly As religious people, prayer is something we engage in on a regular basis. Whether in our worship together, in small groups, before meetings, or at home, we pray to call God into our midst and call upon God to help us in what we are doing. As we head toward Lent, now is the time when many are looking at their prayer practices and wondering how they can do it more, try something new, or begin a new practice. Read more. . .
Youth Confirmation: Where to Begin Shannon Kelly I get asked questions at least once a month about Confirmation. What program should I use? What videos are the best? How can I keep the kids interested? How long should it be? How long does it have to be? Can we do a confirmation class with adults and youth together? How big or small should the class be? How old should the person be to be confirmed? How do we help people decide if they are ready to be confirmed? How do we honor what the youth decide? How do we involve mentors? How do we involve the parents? Read more. . .
Lessons from a Successful Young Adult Gathering Kyle Oliver I recently attended a regional young adult ministry event in a large metropolitan area. Participants gathered from across the judicatory for a night of storytelling, fellowship, and prayer. I came away energized about the work the Spirit is doing in our area and with some ideas about the best practices for young adult ministry that I saw in action there. Read more. . .