Okay, I will begin by saying that I am not going to try to answer this question here but am writing this article to start off this conversation. As the Director of Family Formation, I actually have the word “formation” in my job description so I should be the expert, right? Having ministered to adults, youth, and children, teaching, mentoring, facilitating, and just hanging out at church for many years, one would think so. There have been times in my ministry when if you asked me the question, “What is Christian formation?” I would answer definitively. But I confess recently that there are many times when I have no idea, the world is changing so quickly it is hard to figure out beyond worship what we need to deepen and maintain a Christian spiritual life in such a busy, fast moving world.
I am coming to realize that formation looks different for different people and it even looks different for people at different stages of their lives. To be formed in a Christian community as a disciple of Jesus is a very dynamic process, our spiritual needs change as we experience life’s transitions, responsibilities, struggles, pain, and joy. What feeds us when we are young does not necessarily feed us as we age. Formation that nourishes some might not nourish others. Yet, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we promise during every baptism as a congregation to support each other in each unique life in Christ. We are called to be in relationship with those already here and those just crossing our threshold, meeting them where they are in their faith journeys, and helping each other form into Christians, respecting each other’s path to becoming His disciples.
So I get back to my original question, what is Christian formation to you? What do you need to deepen and keep a balanced healthy spiritual life? What support do you need to deepen your relationship with God and each other? What has been offered here at Epiphany that has fed your soul? In answering the question of Christian formation, I imagine many different answers; however, the more important question is why this formation is important to you because I believe the “why” is what brings us together. I look forward to hearing from you.