New Faith Forming Ecosystem Part 4: Age-Specific Faith Formation

by | Apr 7, 2015 | faith formation, family, Featured, ministry

This series on the new faith forming ecosystem is developed from John Roberto’s new book, “Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century,” available from  You can find part 1 (overview) here, part 2 (intergenerational relationships) here, and part 3 (family) here

The twentieth century approach to faith formation focused on children and teens with developmentally-appropriate biblical and doctrinal content. Curriculum was reduced to the selection of a textbook series or a program from a religious publisher, and focused on instruction in the content of the Christian faith.

In the 21st century a faith formation curriculum needs to be seen as a lifelong journey of discipleship—a process of experiencing, learning, and practicing the Christian faith as we seek to follow Jesus and his Way in today’s world. If we imagine a faith formation curriculum as a lifelong journey of growing in faith and discipleship, then we can think of curriculum as the subject matter and processes that engage people in learning, experiencing, and practicing the Christian faith along this journey.

21st century faith formation = a lifelong journey of discipleship, not a question of buying the right curriculum. Click To Tweet

The new faith forming ecosystem integrates age group and intergenerational faith formation. Intergenerational faith formation provides whole-community experiences and learning, focused on the central events of church life and the Christian faith, and age group and generational faith formation address the unique life tasks, needs, interests, and spiritual journeys of age groups and generations across the whole lifespan.

A faith formation curriculum for the 21st century needs to be:

  • Holistic: envisioning Christian faith as a way of the head, the heart, and the hands—informing, forming, and transforming people in Christian faith and identity.
  • Comprehensive and Balanced: developed around the eight primary faith forming processes that facilitate faith growth and incorporate essential knowledge and practices of the Christian faith: caring relationships, celebrating liturgical seasons, celebrating rituals and milestones, learning the Christian tradition and applying it to life, praying and spiritual formation, reading the Bible, serving people in need and working for justice and caring for creation, and worshipping God with the faith community.
  • Contextual: addressing the needs, hungers, interests, and concerns of people today, and their unique spiritual and faith journeys by embracing an approach that moves from life to Faith to life.
  • Digitally-Enabled: complementing the gathered community settings with online learning environments and utilizing the abundance of digital media and tools for learning and faith formation.
  • Connected: linking church life, age groups/generations, daily/home life, and online life through continuous faith formation—connecting participation in church life and events with daily/home life by using online content and connections or reaching people at home and in daily life with online faith formation content and experiences that connect to church life and events.
  • Multi-platform: delivered and conducted in multiple settings—self-directed, mentored, at home, in small groups, in large groups, church-wide, in the community and world; and in physical and online learning environments.

Dive deeply into each area the ecosystem as part of Vibrant Faith University. 

Read part 5: Missional Faith Formation.

Pin It on Pinterest