July 16, 2008

I’ve been thinking a fair amount about formation recently — formation, as in spiritual formation, character formation, faith formation.  A big reason this is at the front of my mind is because of the youth catechism classes that will be starting this fall during the Sunday School hour and the formation track that Christian Education has been pondering for the youth as they enter high school. 

So I’ve been speaking with a number of pastors and other folks about how they have approached catechism and Christian formation.  These conversations have included a breakfast talk with my mentoring pastor, Steve Goering, of Columbus Mennonite; an email exchange with Weldon Nisly, pastor of Seattle Mennonite and former CMF pastor; and a lunch talk with a group of young pastors in Cincinnati that I get together with on occasion.  One of the common themes that I’m hearing is that none of them are completely satisfied with any single resource they have tried to use, nor are they completely content with what they have come up with so far themselves in trying to piece together a formation class.  For every one of them, working with faith formation in youth – and adults – is a work in progress, always being tweaked, and adapted to fit certain needs and contexts.

Formation/Transformation is really at the heart of what we are about as congregations, so I appreciate hearing from people who have been in leadership for decades that the work is a moving target.  Whatever particular resources or teaching methods emerge in how we proceed with youth catechism, formation is something that, for all of us, happens in a caring community where our gifts are valued and the life of discipleship is modeled in diverse ways through the relationships we encounter.     

Please pray for our youth as they continue to be shaped during these formative years and for the adults who are working with them to help this along.  Pray for us as a congregation that we can be a place where healthy formation and transformation continue to happen for people of all ages.


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