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Critical Questions for Faith-Forming Leaders

By Jim LaDoux
Director of Coaching & Coaching School

In John 17, as Jesus is preparing Himself for the cross, He prays out loud so that His followers can hear His heart—in the middle of His prayer He spotlights the passion that defines His mission: 

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:20-21). 

Our mission is the same—as ministry leaders our deep desire calls us to help people be “in” Christ as He is in us. We’re passionate about inviting others into the kind of intimate relationship that captures the attention of their circle of relationships, paving the way for belief. We want to encourage the curious to commit themselves, heart and soul, to following Jesus. That’s how faith is formed.   So use the questions below to help clarify your mission to invite and support the faith journeys of your people…

QUESTION 1 | What are our DREAMS for helping people form faith every day?

SAMPLE DREAM STATEMENT: Our deepest desire is to equip people to be living expressions of Jesus Christ in the world, where they gather, grow, give, and go to serve and bless others. Therefore, we will provide pathways that support:

  • Transformational and intergenerational worship experiences. Long-lasting, life-giving, and faith-shaping intergenerational relationships.
  • Practicing faith at church, in our homes, online, and on the go.
  • The celebration of meaningful rituals and traditions.
  • Opportunities to serve and bless our neighbors and communities.

QUESTION 2 | What PERSPECTIVES do we hold about forming faith in daily life?

List your core beliefs and convictions about how faith is formed and lived-out in everyday situations. Listed below are sample belief statements from congregations that Vibrant Faith has coached:

  • We believe that God is present and active in the world; our task is to help people become aware of what God is “up to” in our lives.
  • Faith formation is about learning to follow in the way of Jesus, with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Faith formation is a lifelong process that’s lived out every day, everywhere.
  • Faith is formed in the context of community, and includes settings at and beyond the congregation.
  • The world we interact with every day is our mission field—where we practice and experience our faith. Households are learning laboratories for forming faith every day.
  • Our homes serve as mission outposts to our neighborhoods, where we serve and bless.
  • We recognize the uniqueness of each person and strive to meet people where they’re at in life and faith. We believe that everyone has a gift to share, a story to tell, and callings to fulfill.
  • We believe that stewardship involves everything we say and do after we say “yes” to God.
  • Extending Christian hospitality is an integral element of following in the way of Christ.

QUESTION 3 | Which PRACTICES will be highlighted and demonstrated?

Describe what a faith-forming greenhouse looks like for your setting. See sample statements below. Our setting:

  • Makes faith central in all that we say and do. Jesus must be at the center of our conversations, not because He “should be,” but because our passion for Him spills into every area of our life.
  • Demonstrates radical and genuine hospitality, where people experience God’s love through each another.
  • Is a place where stories of faith are shared everywhere—during worship, in small groups, online gatherings, etc. Introduces people to life-giving, faith-forming spiritual practices that enliven our soul.
  • Celebrates people’s gifts, honors their sense of call, and helps them develop and use their gifts.
  • Is Spirit-driven, joyful, and filled with laughter. We are grateful people who exhibit an abundance mindset. Embraces experimentation, encourages risk-taking, challenges assumptions, and views failures as learning opportunities.

QUESTION 4 | How will we MEASURE the impact of our faith-forming efforts?

Answer the questions below to gain greater insight on what following in the way of Jesus might look like:

  • What would maturing Christ-followers value?
  • How do these values change their outlook on life?
  • What would maturing Christ-followers do or practice (e.g., habits, routines, etc.)?
  • What would maturing Christ-followers know?
  • What do you hope Christ-followers will experience or be exposed to?

What additional questions would you add to help describe ways for helping people grow vibrant faith?

Jim LaDoux is the longtime Director of Coaching & Coaching School for Vibrant Faith. Jim lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife—he has two adult sons. He’s been a coach since 1992, and has a Master of Management Arts and is a certified PCC (Professional Certified Coach).

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