In last Friday’s post on rockin’ church websites, I mentioned that the fine folks at Faith Formation 2020 had something in particular in mind when they used the modifier “full-featured” in reference to said websites. Specifically, they were looking at churches that had an online presence which contributed to providing “comprehensive faith formation for everyone, anytime, anywhere, 24x7x365.” These websites are an integral part of a
Lifelong Faith Formation Network of programs, activities, and resources that incorporate a variety of ways to learn in a blended approach to faith formation integrating physical face-to-face settings and virtual online settings and utilizing a wide variety of faith formation resources and programs, people and communities.
In addition to the essential things church websites should do (give information on Sunday services, have a visitors’ page, offer some explanation of the congregation’s faith tradition, provide directions and contact information), these websites have been designed to give everyone—current members as well as visitors—the opportunity to engage in some serious faith formation activities.
The power of this “24x7x365” presence should be obvious. People are searching the internet at all hours of the day, looking for everything from President’s Day sales to the latest word on Justin Bieber, and some of those people might just be in your community, “trying to find the answers to life’s persistent questions.” And that’s where an online entree to a congregation’s Lifelong Faith Formation Network comes in.
As I mentioned last Friday, I’ll be taking a look at some of those “full-featured church websites” in the coming weeks. I’ll also be exploring these key features of a Lifelong Faith Formation Network:
- A Lifelong Faith Formation Network addresses the diverse life tasks and situations, spiritual and religious needs, and interests of all ages and generations in the four scenarios by offering a variety of content, programs, activities, and resources.
- A Lifelong Faith Formation Network guides individuals and families in discerning their spiritual and religious needs and creating personal learning pathways—a seasonal or annual plan for faith growth and learning.
- A Lifelong Faith Formation Network incorporates informal learning as well as formal learning in faith formation.
- A Lifelong Faith Formation Network utilizes a variety of faith formation models to address the diverse life tasks and situations, spiritual and religious needs, and interests of people: learning on your own, in small groups, in large groups, in the congregation, and the community and world.
- A Lifelong Faith Formation Network blends face-to-face, interactive faith formation programs and activities with virtual, online faith formation programs, activities, and resources.
- A Lifelong Faith Formation Network incorporates communities of practice to connect individuals and groups throughout the congregation.
So, how’s your congregation’s Lifelong Faith Development Network coming along?