Many aspects of our lives look quite different right now that they did before the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not as much the “what” of our lives but rather the “how” of our lives that has changed, sometimes in subtle and sometimes in drastic ways. We still do many (most) of the same things we did before the pandemic, but we have had to learn to do them in new and different ways. It is an ongoing lesson in adaptation for sure!
Christian faith formation is no exception to this. In his paper, “A Guide To Transforming Faith Formation For A New World”, Dr. John Roberto describes how there is a shift taking place from a focus on activities, classes, courses, and programs to a focus on goals for maturing in faith. This shift was already taking place before the pandemic, but it has ac-celerated due to the significant changes in how we are living and adapting as the church. This change of focus reflects a significant shift from a provider-centered, program- and content-driven approach to a person-centered approach to faith formation. This approach to faith formation focuses on goals for faith maturing, at each stage of life, and selects the content, experiences, programs, and methods that will promote growth in faith and discipleship.
Dr. Roberto lists ten faith maturing goals that incorporate knowing and believing, relating and belonging, practicing and living. They are drawn from the Christian faith tradition and from research on what makes a difference in forming faith in people’s lives across their life span. These ten goals are common to all Christians, and then need to be contextualized within a specific Christian tradition, the identity and mission of a church, and the unique social, cultural, and ethnic make-up of the community. In other words, it is up to each congregation to find ways to weave these goals into the fabric of everything they do in ministry.
Goals for Maturing in Faith
1. Developing and sustaining a personal relationship and commitment to Jesus Christ.
2. Living as a disciple of Jesus Christ and making the Christian faith a way of life.
3. Reading and studying the Bible, and its message, meaning, and application to life today.
4. Learning the Christian story and foundational teachings of one’s particular Christian faith
tradition and integrating its meaning into one’s life.
5. Praying—together and by ourselves—and seeking spiritual growth through spiritual
practices and disciplines.
6. Living with moral integrity guided by Christian ethics and values.
7. Living the Christian mission in the world—serving those in need, caring for God’s
8. Worshipping God with the community at Sunday worship and ritual celebrations, and
through the seasons of the church year.
9. Being actively engaged in the life, ministries, and activities of the faith community.
10. Practicing faith in Jesus Christ by using one’s gifts and talents within the Christian community and in the world.
As you read these goals, think about your own faith life. Where do you see yourself in terms of living into each of these goals as a disciple of Jesus? What goals are strengths for you? What goals need more attention? Remember, these goals reflect an ongoing lifelong journey of faith. None of us ever “completes” any of these goals. We are called to continually grow in each of these areas as we grow in faith during our entire lifetime. May God bless and strengthen you along your journey as you follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus! Remember, we are in this together, surrounded by the love of God!