A NEW vision of Christian faith formation . . .

A NEW set of practices and approaches for Christian faith formation with all ages & generations . . .

A NEW online format for equipping Christian leaders . . .

Every congregation wants vibrant, life-transforming faith formation for all ages and generations that promotes lifelong faith growth and discipleship. Our 21st century world presents congregations and their leaders with significant challenges, but also new possibilities for creating dynamic faith formation. Congregations need leaders who possess the knowledge, skills, and practices to develop faith forming communities in the 21st century.

The Vibrant Faith Institute is designed for leaders who care about the future of faith formation in their communities—whether they are full time, part time, or volunteer leaders. You may be a pastor or Christian education director or coordinator of children, youth, or family ministry.

The Vibrant Faith Institute will help you embrace a new vision and develop a new set of practices for faith formation with all ages and generations in your congregation. We do this through a Foundations Program and Specialized Faith Formation Courses where you will learn how to:

  • engage all generations intergenerationally
  • nurture family faith and equip parents to transmit faith to their children
  • promote faith maturing from childhood through older adulthood
  • develop missional outreach to the unaffiliated and uninvolved and invite people into discipleship and participation in the faith community
  • utilize digitally enabled and digitally connected approaches in faith formation with all ages and generations

The Vibrant Faith Institute will guide and support you in designing and implementing a comprehensive model of faith formation for all ages and generations especially suited to the needs of your faith community.

Scroll down to learn more and/or download the full description.



Fall Semester 2018

September-November, 2018
Course Registration Open



Truly effective lifelong faith formation in our communities is within reach

The Vibrant Faith Institute is for leaders who care about the future of faith formation—whether you are a full time, part time, or a volunteer ministry leader.  You may be a Pastor or Christian education director or faith formation coordinator for children, youth, and family,  or in any number of ministry leadership roles – if you want to guide your faith community in embracing a 21st century approach to faith formation then the Vibrant Faith Institute is for you.

New Courses begin three times each year, in January, April and September. 

The one-year, three-part Foundations Program: “Faith Formation for the 21st Century” provides you with the essential knowledge, practices, and skills for promoting lifelong faith growth and discipleship in the church community, at home, in age groups, and online. You will design and implement a plan for vital and vibrant faith formation with all ages and generations.

The Specialized Faith Formation Courses each focus on one element of lifelong faith formation—intergenerational, family, children and youth, adult, missional, and digital—and will help you develop in-depth knowledge, practices, and skills for designing faith formation for the whole congregation. You will design strategies, programs, and activities to implement in your congregation.

The Vibrant Faith Institute offers a Certificate in Faith Formation for the 21st Century to all who complete six courses—the Foundations Program plus three Specialized Courses—and complete the assignments for each course.


Who is this for?
The Vibrant Faith Institute is for you or the person in your congregation who:

  • Has primary responsibility for faith formation across generations
  • Has the ability to listen deeply to the faith formation needs of the community
  • Invites others into shared leadership
  • Thrives in the intersection of theological and practical ministry
  • Learns well through a combination of online interaction and real-world projects
How will I benefit?
The challenges of faith formation today are met through partnership:

  • We bring a deep understanding of the research and a unique perspective from working with countless congregations across the country.
  • You bring your own experience, your deep understanding of your congregation, and a desire to make a real difference today.
  • Together we will craft a plan for faith formation that will work in your context and aligns with current research.

You will learn how to translate the best research on religious transmission into approaches, practices, and resources for congregations and families that are specially designed for the challenges of religious transmission in the 21st century.

Your congregation will become equipped to be intentionally intergenerational in so that you can model twenty-first century approaches to intergenerational religious transmission, and equip and support families to engage in religious transmission at home and in daily life.

You will become prepared for the changing religious landscape of the twenty-first century by understanding the religious and spiritual diversity of the people in your faith community, and by identifying the need for adaptive changes in church life and faith formation to address this diversity.

You will be introduced to new faith formation models, approaches, tools, and resources that are tailored to the diverse religious and spiritual needs of people of all ages and generations in the congregation and community.

And you will be empowered to develop missional approaches that reach-out, build relationships, and engage people wherever they are—home, work, community—and use the new digital media resources and tools to connect with people.

How does it work?
You will begin with the Foundations Program, “Faith Formation for the 21st Century,” which includes three interdependent parts that provide you with the essential knowledge, practices and skills for developing 21st sentury faith formation with all ages and generations in your congregation.  The Foundations Program is offered in three parts, one each semester, over the course of one year.  Each part is 10 weeks in length.  With a group of up to 25 other Christian leaders, you will engage in theological inquiry, action research, academic study, and practical skills-building.

Additional Specialized Faith Formation Courses, each 10-weeks in length,  focus on one element of lifelong faith formation — intergenerational, family, children and adolescents, adult, missional and digital — and will help you develop in-depth knowledge, practices and skills for designing faith formation for the whole congregation. These courses may be taken independently of the Foundations Program.

All required work is done online, and most is done on your own time. In addition to a-synchronous, independent work, each course features several scheduled online live webinar learning sessions, led by an experienced instructor.

On average, you will spend approximately 2 hours per week engaged in your coursework.

How do I do this online?
The online learning platform for the Vibrant Faith Institute courses is Eliademy, a robust learning management system (LMS). When you enroll in a course, you will receive simple instructions for creating your Eliademy account and logging in to your selected course. Navigation through each course is easy and intuitive.

Each course follows a similar pattern:

  • Webinars (recorded for those who cannot attend live) conducted by known experts in the field of faith formation.
  • Online learning sessions each month done on your own time developed by the staff at Vibrant Faith and anchored in the latest research and most effective strategic thinking.
  • Application activities in your local setting.
  • A required book relevant to the course, plus online resources such as articles or podcasts.
  • Access to an online platform for learning, conversation, support, and mentoring.
  • One-on-one and small group consultation facilitated by your instructor– a practitioner in the field and one who has experience and expertise to share.

Download the “Full Curriculum” pdf (above) for full descriptions of each course.

Who are the instructors?
Kathie Amidei – Pastoral Associate at St. Anthony on the Lake Parish, Pewaukee, WI; Author, Instructor (Ph.D. Leadership, Cardinal Stritch University)

Keith Andersen – Pastor, Upper Dublin Lutheran Church, Upper Dublin, PA; Author, Presenter (M.Div. Harvard University)

Von Clemans – Associate Pastor for Adult Education, Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC (D.Ed.Min., Educational Ministry, Columbia Theological Seminary)

Lynn Barger Elliott – Associate Pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, Grand Rapids, MI; Affiliate Faculty at Calvin College (M.Div. Princeton Theological Seminary)

Tanya Eustace Campen – United Methodist Deacon, Assistant Direector for Intergenerational Ministry, Texas Rio Annual Conference UMC (Ph.D. Christian Education, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Leif Kehrwald – Parish Life Coordinator, Parish Pastoral Administrator, St. Charles Catholic Church, Portland, OR (M.S. Pastoral Ministry, Regis University)

Matt Marino – Associate Rector, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Houston, TX; Instructor (M.Div. Phoenix Seminary)

Jim Merhaut – Director, Coaching to Connect; Author, Trainer, Coach (M.S. Religious Education, Duquesne University)

Kyle Matthew Oliver –  Instructor, Author (M.Div. Virginia Theological Seminary)

John Roberto – Executive Team, Vibrant Faith; President, Lifelong Faith Associates (M.A. Religious Education, Fordham University)

Jolene Roehlkepartain – President, Ideas to Ink; Author, Educator; Minneapolis, MN (M.B.A. University of St. Thomas)

Janet Schaeffler, O.P. – Adult Education Consultant, Instructor, and Author; Detroit, MI (M.A. Religious Studies, Detroit-Mercy University)

Does this lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate?
Those who complete the 3-part Foundations Program and three additional Specialized Courses, and assignments for each course and the final project will receive a  “Certificate in Faith Formation for the 21st Century” from Vibrant Faith.
What is the cost?
The fee for the three-part Foundations Program is $750 for the year.  The cost for each 10-week Specialized Course is $250., All fees are payable at the time of registration.
How do I enroll?
Scroll to the top of this page to find and select the button for the semester in which you would like to enroll. When you click on the link, you will see a list of available courses.  Choose your course and complete the registration form and your payment information. You will receive immediate confirmation of your enrollment;  additional information will be sent prior to the start of the course which will include the instructions you’ll need to enroll online and begin your course.

Meet the Coordinator

John Roberto is a member of the Vibrant Faith Executive Team, and Project Coordinator for the Vibrant Faith Institute.  He is the Founder and President of Lifelong Faith Associates, editor of the Lifelong Faith Journal, and coordinator for the Faith Formation 2020 Initiative.  For over four decades John has  provided consultation to churches and national organizations, taught courses and conducted workshops in faith formation. He has authored books and program manuals in youth ministry, family ministry, and intergenerational faith formation. John lives with his wife, Linda, in Naugatuck, Connecticut.

John Roberto

John Roberto

Vibrant Faith Executive Team and Coordinator, Vibrant Faith Institute

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