• What has helped you grow in your faith?
  • How has the church been significant in your faith formation?

These are the two questions I used for my second face-to-face meeting with a synod’s strategic planning team yesterday. The answers are worth repeating because they are so profoundly “church” that I can’t stop wondering, “isn’t growing faith THE bright spot we should be building on?”

Here are the themes that emerged. How do they resonate with you?

Connecting deeply with friends from church has connected me for life.

The church gave me a safe place to explore what I believed about all this faith stuff.

The church invited me into leadership to do things I didn’t think I could do, like chant the liturgy.

Parents, grandparents, mentors, and role models, all nurtured at church, nurtured me.

The church invited me into ecumenical relationships with diverse faith communities that gave me a larger view of God and faith life than I would have ever imagined.

Involvement in prison ministry has humbled me and let me truly see that Christ is for all people.

Invitation to travel to a developing country blew my mind about church, God, and faith life.

Almost four decades of research proves that faith grows in the home. What has been assumed for centuries is that faith grows at church. In this time in our world when people are not flocking to church, the church needs to re-claim its faith-forming space.

Ask these questions at your leadership tables. Find the answers and then use them as a frame to evaluate your congregation’s ministry.

  • Where are the faith-forming spaces right now?
  • How can we do MORE OF THIS?

Faith is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit and grows in safe spaces where other people who have deepening faith make faith-talk a normal part of conversation.