Vibrant Faith Innovation Labs

Innovation Labs are an interactive, collaborative learning and design experience to create new projects in Christian faith formation. The goal of an Innovation Lab is to design and implement a new initiative that has the potential of being transformative for your faith community. Each Innovation Lab focuses on one element of Christian lifelong faith formation—intergenerational, family, children and youth, adult, missional, and digital—and will help your leadership team design new strategies, programs, and activities to implement in your congregation.

Each Innovation Lab Includes The Components:

  1. A one-day, on-site Design Workshop for leadership teams from congregations to envision and begin the design of new initiatives in faith formation
  2. A 90 minute online Design Webinar for all leadership teams to support their design work (6-8 weeks after the Design Workshop)
  3. A 90-minute online Implementation Webinar for all leadership teams to plan for implementing their new initiatives (6-8 weeks after the Design Webinar)
  4. Tools and Resources at to support design work, and Networking among congregations to share projects and ideas.

It is important that each participating congregation form a leadership team or task force and have at least two leaders from the team at the one-day Design Workshop, and follow-up webinars.

Sponsoring an Innovation Lab

An Innovation Lab can be sponsored by a regional church body (diocese, synod, district, conference, presbytery), by a retreat or conference center, and by a regional group of churches. Innovation Labs can be focused on one Christian denomination or open to churches from a variety denominations.

To sponsor an Innovation Lab: 1) select one or more of the Innovation Labs—you can combine programs into a multi-day conference by selecting different topics, 2) work with Vibrant Faith to set a date for the Design Workshop and timeline for the Webinars; 3) find a central site for the Design Workshop that has good adult meeting space and strong WiFi in the meeting room; and 5) manage promotion, registration, and finances.

Vibrant provides the following services:1) an instructor for the one-day Design Workshop, 2) online support and networking with leadership teams, 3) hosting and facilitating the two Webinar programs, and 5) providing tools and resources through the website as leadership teams design and implement their projects.

The fee for sponsoring one Innovation Lab is $2000 which covers all of the services outlined above, including the one-day Design Workshop plus the two Webinar programs. Travel and housing for the instructor is additional.

Each leadership team will need to purchase at least one copy of the book on the theme of the Lab (usually around $20). Vibrant Faith will prepare a program guide that will need to be copied for each participant.

To schedule an Innovation Lab or for more information, please contact John Roberto, Project Coordinator, at or 203-729-2953.

Descriptions of Innovation Labs


Adult Faith Formation for Every Adult in the Congregation

The Adult Faith Formation Innovation Lab guides the leadership team in developing a plan that can engage every adult around their interests, concerns, questions, and spiritual and faith journeys; in designing new programming for young adults, midlife adults, mature adults, and/or older adults; and in utilizing digital media and methods to facilitate faith growth. In the 21st century the abundance of high quality digital media and resource for adults, and the new online and digital tools and technologies makes it possible to provide faith formation for every adult.

Faith Formation for a New Generation of Children and Adolescents 

The New Generation Innovation Lab explores how to develop faith formation that addresses the unique life tasks, needs, interests, and spiritual journeys of children and adolescents—with special attention to the emerging characteristics of the new generation (Gen Z or iGen). Discover how to develop an approach to faith formation that integrates intergenerational relationships and faith experiences, family and parent faith formation, and peer group faith formation. Learn how to incorporate digital methods and approaches into faith formation with the new generation.


Intergenerational Faith Formation for the Whole Community 

The Intergenerational Innovation Lab explores the theory, research, and principles of intergenerational faith formation; provides examples for becoming intentionally intergenerational in a congregation through caring relationships, celebrating worship and rituals, praying, learning, and serving; and guides the leadership team in designing strategies for becoming more intentionally intergenerational. Discover the faith forming influence of participating in the life of an intergenerational faith community where the faith practices are experienced and learned through relationships and experiences.


Digitally Enabled and Connected Faith Formation for All Ages 

The Digital Innovation Lab selects and presents the best approaches for integrating digital strategies into faith formation. A digitally enabled approach provides a way to tailor faith formation around the real lives and needs of people of all ages, and to connect church, home, and daily life. Learn how to use digital tools, methods, and resources that are best suited for faith formation with age groups and families. Leadership teams will develop a plan for digital enabled faith formation, and design and implement new or enhanced programming that utilizes the new digital faith formation resources, and the new digital tools and methods.  

Families at the Center of Faith Formation 

The Family Innovation Lab is guided by the conviction that families are at the center of Christian faith formation; that parents and the family are the most powerful influence for virtually every child and youth outcome. Discover how to use eight foundational strategies for family faith formation: 1) discovering God in everyday life, 2) forming faith at home through the life cycle, 3) forming faith through milestones, 4) celebrating seasonal events through the year, 5) encountering God in the Bible through the year, 6) connecting families intergenerationally, 7) developing a strong family life, and 8) empowering parents and grandparents as faith formers. Each leadership team will design and implement one or more strategies to create new or enhanced programming that engages families at  church, at home, and in the community.


Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century 

The Reimagining Innovation Lab introduces leadership teams to a new a new faith formation ecology of intergenerational relationships and faith experiences at church, lifelong faith formation from childhood through adulthood, family faith formation at home, and missional faith formation to the uninvolved and unaffiliated. Discover examples and strategies for intergenerational, family, age group, and missional faith formation that your church can use to bring this vision to life. Discover how to use 21st century digital media, tools, and methods to develop faith formation that reaches and engages people at church, at home, in the community, and in their daily lives.

Innovation Lab Faculty

Lisa Brown – Director of Digital Ministry for Membership Vision and the former Director of Children’s Ministry at St. Paul Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, PA

Katie Christensen – Director of Congregational Ministries to Adults and Families, Calvary Lutheran Church, Alexandria, MN

Melissa Cooper – United Methodist Deacon, Consultant and Workshop Presenter, former Program Director for the Life Enrichment Center and for LEC Family, Orlando, FL

Lynn Barger Elliott – Associate Pastor Plymouth Congregational Church, Affiliate Faculty at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI;

Tanya Eustace Campen – United Methodist Deacon, Assistant Director Intergenerational Ministry, Texas Rio Annual Conference United Methodist Church, San Antonio, TX

Jim Merhaut – Director of Coaching to Connect; Author, Trainer, Coach, Youngstown, OH

John Roberto—Innovation Labs Coordinator, Leadership Team, Vibrant Faith, Naugatuck, CT

Janet Schaeffler, O.P. – Adult Education Consultant, Instructor, and Author; Detroit, MI

Denise Utter – Author, Educator, and Workshop Presenter, former Director of Parish Faith Formation, Chicago, IL

Sue Van Oss – Director of Christian Formation, St Paul’s Episcopal, Duluth, MN

Lee Yates – Pastor and Minister of Christian Formation in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Author, Fullerton, CA

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