Report — Christian Formation

Kim Snodgrass, Assistant to the Bishop for Christian Formation The purpose of the Christian formation ministry is to encourage and nurture spiritual growth, Christian practices, and theological reflection. This is based on the belief that actively engaging in Christian formation is a transformative experience which affects our understanding of morality, politics, economics, labor, family, the environment, hospitality, justice, friendship, and forgiveness. In short, everything is a spiritual matter. As formation takes place within our hearts and minds; the fruits of awareness and spiritual growth are directed outward into our communities. Ultimately, what we inwardly digest as we follow The Way of Jesus encourages active, visible faith that values people and relationships, naturally moving us outside the walls of the church building in form of mission, outreach, inclusiveness, and evangelism. The Christian Formation Commission focuses on the ways in which people can explore, deepen, and grow their faith by determining helpful responses to the needs of congregations, discovering new resources, and recommending best practices. To fulfill this purpose and advocate for intentional Christian formation, the following work has been in process throughout 2022. Curated traditional and experiential resources for people of all ages on the diocesan website to organize the wealth of online information and simplify the search process. A companion presence of support, consultation, resources, and encouragement. In January 2021, the Everything Holy project began as an experiential way to explore, grow and deepen an experience of God within the home.  Missional in nature, it has been a beneficial resource nearly 300 households representing 37+ churches, 65+ cities, and multiple states. Although a recent survey indicated most participants found it both beneficial and a means of connecting to the diocese, it is a time-intensive and expensive project to continue long term. The decision has been made to suspend the project effective the November 2022 issue. We are thankful for the project’s success but want to refocus our efforts on ways to reach more members of the diocese and believe similar creative efforts can be put forth in ways that will include access to new resources, training, and curriculum. Work towards the creation of a diocesan Formational Arc (scope and sequence). Our desired outcome is to produce opportunities for experience and resources that are age appropriate for the lifelong journey of faith and flexible to the needs of each congregation. Our hope is to provide a benchmark of our hopes and dreams, a vision for formation, and unite us with a common purpose. Formation-related posts through the New Spirit Update highlight educational, liturgical, fellowship and service-oriented resources and reflections. 2023 Additional Plans for Ministry include Fine-tuning communication offered at deanery gatherings and made available to congregations through regular communication channels such as newsletters, bulletins, etc. Our hope is to include information and an invitation for individuals and congregations to be involved in the formational process. New workshop and training opportunities, curriculum, and resources God’s hands are always busy at the potter’s wheel; Jesus himself “increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.”i  The Christian Formation ministry is here to walk with the people of West Missouri as we seek to be become authentically engaged in hospitality, worship, prayer, learning and mission; a people who “live out the values of the kingdom of God in the presence of the kingdoms of the world;” ii a people becoming human beings made in the likeness of Christ. ________________________ i  Luke 2:52ii The Dream of God: A Call to Return by Verna Dozier To print a copy of the above report, please use your browser’s print facility.