At Peace we are looking to change the way we look at faith formation. Over the last few decades of the church we have moved faith formation out of the home and into the hands of professionals in the church. We like to assume that has been working well for us when in reality the church is missing whole generations of people educated in this way. So what’s the solution? Is there a solution? We think that intergenerational faith formation makes the most sense.
First, think about your childhood. Who were the people that you could count on or turn to when you needed help? Many of us could come up with quite the list I would guess. Family and friends, aunts and uncles, neighbors and church family. We were surrounded by a network of people that we could count on. So who are these people for our youth and children today? What kind of safety net of people do our children have around them? Now, think about the problems kids had to deal with back then compared to what kids are facing today. You can see that it is even more important for kids to have adult support now than ever.
The way that we have divided out the ages over the years have cut down on the number of cross generational relationships that our children and youth have. We send them off to Sunday School rooms rather than getting to know them. We set up a youth group and let the youth director entertain our youth. For some this works out, but many are falling through the cracks without a network of people to help raise them up in faith.
Some 500 years ago a man named Martin Luther encouraged faith formation to happen in the home. He wrote a little book called the Small Catechism to share the important theological points of our faith. But since that time, faith formation has moved from the home and into the congregational setting with pastors and Sunday School teachers leading the way for our children. And yet the research remains constant. The greatest faith influence on our children are not pastors or teachers, but parents.
There is a movement to help parents and families have faith conversations at home. How do we help them? By modeling and equipping our families in the church to carry these conversations home. We are ALL needed to help equip our children with faith language and faith relationships that pass on the faith. At Peace, we’re ready to give this a try because our mission reminds us that we’re “growing disciples who Welcome, Worship and Walk with Christ.” We all need to grow as disciples. Growing disciples includes learning about faith at church and at home. This is how we grow as disciples. Cross+Gen Faith Formation will be a way of doing this. So what is Cross+Gen about? Obviously cross makes sense in the church, but it’s also similar to “inter.” Gen is short for generational. So we’re looking at inter-generational or Cross+Gen faith formation.
At Peace beginning on September 17, we’ll be giving this a try. We’ve created a year of learning together that will focus around the parts of Luther’s Small Catechism. We’re hoping people of all ages will come together to learn and grow. You don’t need children to be part of this. You don’t need to be a child. You just need to be willing to open yourself to learning and growing with others in our faith family. As they say with Cross+Gen, “Every age has gifts we need and every age has needs we gift.” Please come and give this a try with us. Come and be part of the faith formation that is happening at Peace. Come and gift others with the gifts you have to share. See you Sunday, September 17 and each Sunday after following 8:30 worship for Cross+Gen Faith Formation.
Your sister in Christ,