Friday, November 13, 2009

Home-Based Faith Formation

An interesting conversation has been taking place on Facebook that I wanted to share with you. Here are some excerpts:

Chris: I'm amazed at how many congregations are challenging parents to invest in their kid's faith formation. Almost viral actually!

Melissa: Why are you amazed? That's a good thing, right?

Chris: It's a GREAT thing!

Tim: (That's me) I think it's great too. Sadly, somewhere along the line we got into a mode culturally in the church of "outsourcing" faith formation from the home to the sanctuary.

Melissa: That's what I thought! I am so happy to be teaching my children & husband about FAITH.

Susan: And watch how parent's faith will grow expotentially as they teach their children:)

Lisa: And maybe the parents will start investing in their own faith formation as well.

Tim: Being forced to teach is one of the most effective ways to learn. So home-based faith formation will absolutely be the best thing for both kids and parents. Clergy (and congregation) can then serve in the "equipping the saints for ministry" mode ( See Ephesians 4). Also, HBFF sets you up for both "vertical" and "horizontal" transmission as in viral infections. Vertical is from one generation directly to the next. Horizontal is among peers: imagine couples sharing ideas & issues with each other about how to raise their kids. In the peer-to-peer conversations all kinds of ideas, values and beliefs can get transmitted.


Mike said...
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Mike said...

I think you are absolutely right. In order for the collective intelligence of a group to emerge there needs to be a steady and reciprocal flow of communication in the network. This is nothing other than God's call for us to minister to one another. I think two things church's can do to encourage this are first, to communicate and foster a sense of empowerment in individuals -that they are empowered by God to minister into the lives of their brothers and sisters-. and second,to create opportunities for interaction to occur. Not necessarily events which require additional commitment from the individual, but avenues, forums, opportunities etc.

The Feral Pastor said...

Hey Mike!

I like to bundle "steady, reciprocal flow of communication" and all the "one-another" dynamics into a shorthand phrase: high relational density. (My science background rears it's head in verbiage again.)

I agree churches can encourage it, but I'm not optimistic there. In my experience, conventional congregational life expends most of it's time, energy and money on things that, while valuable, don't effectively foster HD relationships. In fact, the whole idea of HDRs ends up as a kind of "icing on the cake" of congregational life. I'm convinced that, sadly, that's completely backwards. Most of the norms of conventional congregational life (presentational worship, programs, and the buildings to house them) are the things that should be icing. HDR is the cake.

Mike said...

Love this Tim!
Having grown up in a Christian home, where faith was more culture than actually lived out, I think we begin to deconstruct and re-build our own beliefs in our service to others (In this case, Children).
Great stuff!

The Feral Pastor said...

Thanks Mike -

Your comment about a Christian home & culture vs. practice is another nudge to me to write a post I've been percolating on recently. As I've thought about house church & other more HDR forms of faith community, I keep running into the question of how to nucleate these expressions and then work to "thicken up" the relationships. Yet home life is a place where HDRs are already naturally available (if not always explored). So... why not focus first on home-based relationships, esp. couples and parents, as the primary environment for faith?

More to come on that.