At St. Paul’s and in a growing number of churches, Sunday mornings bring an unforeseeable number of children and families to church each week. For some, regular attendance means showing up monthly, for some it means quarterly, while for some it still means weekly. As a result, on any given Sunday, it is almost impossible to know who will be at church. This makes it hard to continue doing Sunday School as we have for the last 50-plus years; and it means that if we don’t adapt to the changing lives of the families, there are large holes in their faith formation.
At St. Paul’s, while we have an average of six children in Godly Play class per Sunday, 30 different children have taken part in the offering since September. This means that each child is coming an average of once a month, or even a little less. But this does not mean that these children and their families are not looking for faith formation. Rather, it means that their lives and schedules allow for this frequency of attendance, as more and more extracurricular activities outside of church take place on Sunday mornings. While it may be tempting to wish that people aren’t so busy, instead we can take this as an invitation from God to transform the way we understand what faith formation for children and parents looks like in the 21st century. Through this rapidly changing cultural landscape, God is calling us to move outside of our comforts zones, outside of our walls, and utilize the tools of the 21st century that are at our disposal. Today it is our job to bring the faith formation to them and to fulfill our mission of supporting the formation of disciples by responding to the world around us and taking advantage of the technology at our fingertips.
St. Paul’s will always have programming for children and families on Sunday mornings, but now we also have faith formation resources for families that do not require their attendance at church. In responding to this call, we have spent the last year crafting a faith formation offering that goes with families wherever they go, and meets them where they are instead of requiring them to come to us. This offering is called Faith To Go.
Faith To Go is a digital and online collection of resources that includes age appropriate videos, reflection questions, at-home liturgies, discussion questions, activities, and articles for three different age ranges (0-4, 5-10, and 11-18). These resources are found on our website (www.myfaithtogo.org/) as well as in a weekly email that anyone can sign up to receive. The resources are all based on the gospel reading for each Sunday, so no matter how often their family attends church, they are taking part in the same lectionary rhythm as the rest of the congregation. The resources also include a podcast (Faith To Go Podcast), which is available on iTunes and prepares parents to discuss the week’s vital themes of the gospel reading.
If you are interested in receiving the weekly email, you can sign up by clicking this link, and you can subscribe to the podcast by searching for Faith To Go Podcast in iTunes and clicking the “Subscribe” button or by clicking this link on your mobile device. You can also visit the website (www.myfaithtogo.org/). We are very excited about this new opportunity to cultivate community and faith formation in these new digital and online spaces, and we are thankful to all the families here at St. Paul’s and for all of the ways that God is inviting us to transform and to explore new ways of doing what we are called to do as a community of faith in the world.