What really is FAITH Formation and how do we grow spirtually?
Recently I came across an acronym for FAITH on a doodle tablet that I use from time to time. I remember writing it sometime while in graduate school but do not recall exactly why I was doodling about it then. But thought, it might be a good piece to expand upon for discussion about holistic faith formation—that which allows our hands and feet or body, heart and head to discover, connect and ultimately uniting…
F – foundation(s)/foundational, formative, fellowship, friendship
A – a lasting bond with God & with others, as if the curtained opened to reveal the “real show,” a deepening of faithfulness, a deepening of relationship
I – invitation to connect with God, instruction, indoctrination, inculcation
T – (Big) “T”- Tradition, teaching, training, tutelage
H – Heaven-on-earth, Heaven & earth tied together, hospitality, humility
I mentioned John Westerhoff’s book, Will Our Children Have Faith, in an earlier submission to the Carillon. In that text, he labels four stages of faith development: Experienced Faith, Affiliative Faith, Searching Faith and Owned Faith. For each of the stages he identifies the human needs associated and the key components. It seems to me that these stages progress from hands, to heart, to head, finally, to the integration of all three-hands, heart, head— and gives good overview for planning for all life stages. Refreshing my memory, I reviewed the six stages of faith formation, theologian James Fowler identified in Stages of Faith: Intuitive- Projective Faith, Mythical-Literal Faith, Synthetic-Conventional Faith, Individuative-Reflective Faith, Conjunctive Faith and Universalizing Faith. These theoretical stages tend to coincide with Piaget’s life stages and are helpful to remind us about our abilities to cognitively grow in faith. But how do we really provide for holistic faith formation opportunities?
I believe that fostering caring relationships across generations within, and reaching beyond, our life-giving community of faith, hope and love is the key component for holistic faith formation. John Roberto, committed to helping churches develop lifelong faith formation for all ages and generations through his many books, describes eight categories for growing in faith and discipleship include: Caring Relationships, Celebrating the Liturgical Seasons, Celebrating the Rituals and Milestones, Reading the Bible, Learning Christian Tradition and Applying it to Life, Praying, Devotions and Spiritual Formation, Serving and Justice and Worshipping God. This holistic approach will provide structure and goal setting for opportunities to provide for life-long learning and intergenerational faith formation for Storrs Congregational Church.
Please contact me at email@example.com to join in faith formation conversation. A planning team for holistic faith formation will gather in April and you are invited to join our team.
Director of Faith Formation