Categories: Faith Formation

Messiah Faith Formation Update

Faith Formation Retreat

Thanks to the generosity of the Messiah Endowment Committee, Messiah held a Faith Formation retreat July 22 – 23 to begin to plan and dream about what programming for children, youth and families could be in the future. The retreat was facilitated by Elizabeth Hood, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry at Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, CA. A multi-generational group from Messiah participated in this retreat including: Charlie and Kim Radabaugh, Lauren & Ernest Mendez-Thomas, Josh & Jillian Luebke, Jonathan Baunach, Kam Chamberlain, Dan Fergueson, Pam Downing, Christi Gillette, Elisa Holman, Heather Caffoe, and Sheilia McLaughlin.

The group began by identifying the assets that Messiah has including facilities, people, and community. The giant whiteboard was covered in post-it notes demonstrating the amazing richness of assets that make up Messiah.

The group took time to talk about experiences that we have had as part of faith formation programs. We talked about the important factors to a successful faith formation program and continue to recognize that relationships are at the core of what we do. We took time to think about some exciting and creative program ideas.

We also took time to reflect on things that haven’t gone well with Messiah’s Faith Formation program. We talked about the declining numbers of children and youth that have been active in our program over the past 10 years. We recognized that families have so many competing priorities for their children and the possibility of a commitment to weekly programming is tough. We also realize that the pandemic has exacerbated this situation as children and youth are readjusting to a post-pandemic world.

So what does that mean for Faith Formation at Messiah?

  • Faith Formation is going to need to change to meet the changing needs of families in a post-pandemic world.
  • Faith Formation will look different than it did in the past at Messiah (or wherever many of us may have grown up.)
  • We need to avoid the phrase “we did it that way before” as new programming is rolled out because today is not the same as yesterday
  • We have an amazing leader in Pastor Bridget who will be working with a group of individuals to plan and dream about faith formation in the future

In the meantime, Pastor Bridget will continue to work on building relationships with the youth and families of our church. If you have not had the opportunity to invite Pastor Bridget over for coffee, dinner, lunch, or another social interaction, we encourage you to do so. We will continue to share ideas in the coming weeks and months as plans begin to come to fruition. In the meantime, if you have any questions, the retreat participants are all ready and willing to engage in conversations at any time.