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. Month #1:  A one-day, on-site “Envisioning Faith Formation” Workshop for church leadership teams. The workshop presents the vision and practice of faith formation on the topic of the Lab, and a variety of models and approaches for bringing the vision to life in a church.
  2. Months #2 and 3:  Research in the church and community (interviews, focus groups, surveys) to listen to the religious and spiritual needs of the target audience of the Lab, and to develop an initial plan for new initiatives.
  3. Month #4:  A one-day, on-site “Designing Faith Formation” Workshop to guide church teams in creating new or enhanced programming on the topic of the Lab.
  4. Month #5:  Design work.
  5. Month #6:  A 90-minute, online Implementation Webinar for all leadership teams to plan for implementing their new initiatives.

All paticipating churches will have access to online Tools and Resources to support design wok, 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 two workshops.

Vibrant Faith provides 1) an instructo for the two on-site workshops; 2) online support and networking with leadership teams; 3) hosting and facilitating the webinar; and 4) onlin3 tools and resources.  The fee for sponsoring an Innovation Lab is $3,000, which covers all of the services outlined above.  Travel and housing for the instructor is additional.

Each Innovation Lab includes a participant book ($15) that is an additional cost that can be added to the registration fee.  Vibrant Faith also prepares a Program Guide that sponsors copy for each participant.

Vibrant Faith Innovation Lab Instructors are national leaders in faith formation with specialized knowledge and skills for their Innovation Labs. Presenters have years of experiendfe in educating leaders, writing and developing faith formation resources, and speaking at conferences.


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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,  a regional group of churches, and/or by an educational institution. 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 dates for the Workshops and  the Webinar; 3) find a central site for the Workshops that has good adult meeting space and strong WiFi in the meeting room; 4) manage promotion, registration, and finances, and 5) order the participant book and make copies of the Program Guide.


To schedule an Innovation Lab or for more information,
please contact John Roberto, Project Coordinator,
at or 203-232-1129.

Faith Formation Innovation Labs
are a service of Vibrant Faith.

Descriptions of Innovation Labs

Faith Formation for the Seasons of Adulthood

The Adult Faith Formation Innovation Lab guides the leaders 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 resources for adults and 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 ). 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.

Generations Together: Intergenerational Faith Formation 

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 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 digitally 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.

Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century

The Reimagining Innovation Lab guides leadership teams in building a lifelong model of faith formation for their church which includes intergenerational faith formation, family and parent faith formation, and life stage faith formation from childhood though adulthood. Discover examples and strategies for lifelong faith formation and build a multi-year plan for faith formaton for all ages and generations. 

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.




Engaging All God’s People: Missional Faith Formation

 The Missional Faith Formation Lab explores research on the lives and needs of the unaffiliated and uninvolved. Discover models and examples of missional faith formation – outreach, relationship building, and faith experiences – that you can use in your church and community.  Discover models and examples of missional pathways for people to consider or reconsider the Christian faith, to encounter Jesus and the Good News, and to live as disciples in a faith community.  Learn how to design missional pathways for the people in your community.

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

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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