The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is passionate about helping congregations form life-transforming faith in Jesus Christ, and we are committed to broadening the definition of how faith is formed in believers. In many congregations, discipleship is defined by one or more educational “programs” of the church, i.e. Sunday school or small groups. While specific educational ministries are essential to a disciple-making strategy, we believe every aspect of congregational life has potential to grow and mature disciples for Jesus Christ—including worshipping God, practicing the disciplines of the Christian faith, engaging in mission projects and reflecting on the experience, serving the least of these, extending Christian hospitality, etc.
A working definition of spiritual (or faith) formation might be helpful. Consider CBF’s definition of spiritual formation:
Spiritual formation is the process of being formed in the image of Christ by the gracious working of God’s Spirit for the transformation of the world.
To live into this definition, congregations must take seriously the task of helping people change to become more like Jesus Christ. As people open themselves to being changed by God, they start investing in what is important to God—the transformation of the world. Consequently, an authentic Christian is constantly being changed—not for personal gain—but for the sake of others. Mature faith naturally leads to sacrificial service in God’s kingdom.
We use the word FORMATION intentionally because God desires to form the whole person (heart, head, hands and will) into Christ’s image. Allowing God to form us in a holistic way demands we release control to God—the One who does the molding and shaping. An effective educational ministry in a congregation creates a context in which faith can be awakened, supported and challenged in appropriate ways as people journey through stages of life.
According to Dr. Israel Galindo, effective faith formation targets all four of these domains:
- cognitive (mind or head)—concepts, analysis, interpretation, explanation
- affective (heart)—empathy, values, opinions, self-awareness
- behavioral (hands)—practices, skills, habits, actions
- volitional (will)—choosing, committing, valuing
Here are convictions that inform our understanding of faith formation:
- Faith is more caught than taught.
- Faith is formed best in homes and local congregations.
- Relationships are key to forming effective faith.
- Faith and belief are not the same (faith is a verb and implies action that simply believing does not).
- The opposite of faith is certitude (if we have all the answers there is no need for faith).
- We nurture faith in the person of Jesus Christ, so the methods we utilize in congregational teaching/learning ministries must be highly relational.
Our goal is to create a context in which faith can be awakened, supported, and challenged.
We recognize and take advantage of the faith-forming potential of every aspect of congregational life.
Our goal is to populate this section of our website with useful faith formation resources. You can provide articles, equipping experiences, and faith forming resources to assist other congregations. Go to the National CBF website to find additional resources and links. If you need assistance helping your congregation focus on faith formation, contact Terry Maples.
2013 Faith Formation BLITZ Resources
Our 2013 Faith Formation BLITZ across the state recently wrapped up and was a successful series thanks to our leader, Steve Booth. We’ve posted the power point presentation from the series as well as the “Faith Formation Assessment Tool” he used at the meetings, for your convenience and use. Please take a look at the wonderful insights Steve Booth as to offer for leadership development within your congregation.
Faith Formation Blitz Presentation 2013
Faith Formation Assessment Tool FBC Richmond