What if the primary place for faith formation was not church but home? How would congregations adapt our approach to religious education? What kinds of support would households and families need? What resources could we develop? 

Sarai Rice of The Congregational Consulting Group begins our exploration of these questions by asking if mainline Protestants need to be more “home-made.” Then, a Lutheran pastor has been using social media for years to encourage his youth group to engage the ancient teachings of the church remotely. Alaina Kleinbeck with Leadership Education at Duke Divinity reminds us that formation has always been and is always collective work. And finally, John Wimberly of The Congregational Consulting Group names for us that spiritual formation is the future of the church

Welcome to the Weekly. 


Should mainline Protestants be more “home-made”?

With the pandemic, many congregations shifted the place of formation from church buildings to home. Sarai Rice wonders if it should have always been this way.


Christian youth formation through social media

The Rev. Keith Anderson has been using social media for years to support his youth group’s faith development. He’s done it not as a concession but out of a deep belief that God is everywhere — even online.


Resources to respond to the coronavirus


Formation is collective work

Neither families nor churches were ever meant to be alone in the work of formation. Instead, as Alaina Kleinbeck writes, there was always meant to be a network of support around them to share in this important work.


Spiritual formation as the future of the church

Congregations are putting more emphasis on the spiritual formation of their members in response to a real need to help people connect with God and their neighbor, writes John Wimberly.


From the Alban Library

The Whole Church: Congregational Leadership Guided by Systems Theory

by Ken Reeves

The Whole Church offers congregational leaders an understanding of a church system as a whole community composed of interacting members in which change in one influences all. This understanding helps church leaders navigate change and conflict, while also supporting the congregation’s wholeness and safety. This book addresses how effective leadership coincides with personal and spiritual development, and ultimately emphasizes the significance of one’s own spirituality and faith in supporting and fulfilling the congregation’s mission.


Before you go…

I regularly hear congregational leaders talk about how eager they are for things to “get back to normal” on the other side of the pandemic. I have to wonder, though, if one of the gifts of the pandemic is the chance to decide which parts of our previous “normal” we want to resume. Perhaps, we can heed the wisdom of Sarai, Keith, Alaina and John and start reimagining how we form people of faith.  

Until next week, peace!

Nathan Kirkpatrick

Managing Director, Alban at Duke Divinity

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