This is third in a series of posts about ministry planning in a COVID-19 world.
Did you know curiosity is an emotion? This is something I learned recently while walking with Brene Brown. As in, I walk while listening to her lecture, “Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice” Hopefully ministry leaders are taking the time to pause, rest, and make a list of what you are noticing about life, faith, and ministry in COVID-19.
Assuming you, like me, might have the luxury of the next two months to plan for fall ministry, I suggest taking out the list of what you have noticed and approaching it with curiosity. I place a high value on curiosity. In fact it is one of our areas of focus for Sunday school. Learn more about that in this article I wrote for Spiritual Parent.
I am creating a series of posts on topics I am very curious about as they relate to faith formation ministry in a COVID-19 world. Included in each post are resources for learning more.
Part III: How has home become the center of faith
Research and practice has shown that home is the primary influence on a child’s faith development. To learn more about the research and theory behind home at the center of faith formation, I recommend Westerhoff’s Will our Children Have Faith? Sticky Faith by Powell and Clark, and Almost Chirstian by Kenda Creasy Dean.
In mid-March we experienced a jarring shift to online ministry. For two months children have been learning and worshiping if not alongside their parents, then within close proximity. In my context, there was no way to replicate online our in-person format of having seven age graded classrooms for children while parents worshiped in “big church.”
The first Sunday of our combined Family Chapel and Sunday school I asked everyone to light a candle, saying the words that we say whenever we gather children together in our building, “we light this candle and know that God’s love and God’s light are here with us.” Dozens of zoom windows displayed the light of Christ in homes. The idea that God is everywhere with us took on a new look and feel. With the building closed, home is truly the place where faith is being formed.
What I am curious about is how worshiping and learning at home, alongside family, might be a gift? What do we want to continue? What old procedures of separating by age levels might be retired? What opportunities are there for equipping families to be the center of faith formation? This will take time and intention, especially as parents recently had the role of school teacher thrust upon them without preparation. We’ve been talking about equipping parents for decades. How might the church live more fully into this promise?
Resources for Family and Intergenerational Ministry
Growing Together Families podcast and resources curated by Tanya Campen
Families at the Center of Faith Formation book and articles from Lifelong Faith
Faithful Families by Traci Smith
Faith at Home by Wendy Claire Barrie
Faith5 and Faith Inkubators