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WHAT IS FAITH IN A MISSIONAL AGE?
         Terri Martinson Elton
www.practicediscipleship.org




Introduction
WHAT IS FAITH IN A MISSIONAL
            AGE?
Our hope is to…
spark a conversation within
  congregations and ministry
 leaders which might lead the
church to recommit itself to
   its calling to foster and
   nurture faith, as it also
discovers and reimagines its
      ongoing ministry
            practices.
PRAYER
WHO AM I?
          FOUR
        SYMBOLS
WHO AM I?
     FOUR        FOUR
   QUESTIONS: SYMBOLS
 How did these elements come
  to be important in your life?
Have these ever elements been
           challenged?
   How and what was it like?
 How might these elements be
similar and different to others in
           your family?
FOUR
SYMBOLS
IDENTITY
what does it means to be and live Christian?
-THE CHURCH TODAY
-FAITH AND FAITH FORMATION
   -FORMING FAITH TODAY
#1 - Why is this a missional
            age?
…the world is changing
ONCE KNOWN AS A CHRISTIAN
NATION, TODAY THE UNITED STATES IS A
      RELIGIOUS MELTING POT.

    2012 MARKS THE FIRST TIME IN
   AMERICAN HISTORY WHERE THE
NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY AS
 PROTESTANTS HAS DROPPED BELOW
      50% OF THE POPULATION.

 TODAY MOST STATES (45 OF 52) HAVE
BETWEEN 30-55% OF THEIR POPULATION
    WHO CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN
THIS FACT MEANS
CHRISTIANITY IS NO
    LONGER A
MAJORITY RELIGION
  IN THE UNITED
STATES; NOR IS ANY
 OTHER RELIGION.
THE CHURCH ONCE NURTURED
FAITH WITHIN A SOCIETY WHICH
SUPPORTED, OR COMPLIMENTED,
    CHRISTIAN VALUES AND A
  CHRISTIAN RHYTHM OF LIFE.
Of the 13-18 year olds
surveyed in the National
   Study of Youth and
       Religion:
Of the 13-18 year olds
surveyed in the National
   Study of Youth and
       Religion:
congregations
   matter
CURRENT
RESEARCH
 3THEMES
Denominationally



                    THEME 1

                     all major
                     religious
                    groups are
                   experiencing
                      decline.
A few major religious groups have experienced
   “Almost all       some growth (more than 135,000)
denominations          Assemblies of God                +14.9%     +382,889 people       +378 congregations

 losing ground,        Church of Latter Day Saints      +45.5%     +1,920,556 people     +2,086 congregations


  survey finds;        Muslim estimate                  +66.7%     +1,040,788 people     +897 congregations


Faith is shifting,     Seventh-Day Adventist            +29.5%     +271,950 people       +1,158 congregations



   drifting or
    vanishing
    outright.”       But most have experienced decline.
                       ELCA                               -18.2%     -893,932 people     -893 congregations

Headline from the      United Church of Christ            -24.4%     -414,622 people     -638 congregations

USA Today, March       Presbyterian (USA)                 -22%       -689,586 people     -619 congregations

      2009             Episcopal Church                   -15.7%     -362,849 people     -520 congregations

                       American Baptist Church            -11.7%     -206,890 people     -312 congregations

                       Lutheran Church Missouri Synod     -9.9%      -250,141 people     -37 congregations

                       Roman Catholic Church              -5%        -3,107,155 people   -1,202 parishes

                       United Methodists                  -4.7%      -489,976 people     -2,398 congregations
Religiously



                          THEME 2

Overall the “churched population” has
              declined.
In 2000, 50.2% of the total population
     reported a religious affiliation.
 In 2010, 48.8% of the total population
     reported a religious affiliation.


The United States is becoming a
    less religious country.
•
                 WHO ARE THE 'NONES'?
    “One-fifth of the U.S. public are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest
    percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. And, for adults under 30, it’s one-
    third!




    •   Being a “none” or one with no religious affiliation does not mean lack of belief. “On the
        contrary, most of the “nones” say they believe in God, and describe themselves as religious, spiritual or both.” And
        while many “nones” believe in God, they are not interested in “church” (or organized religion) as many of us know
        it.
    •   it’s time for congregations (or the organized church) to rethink what it means to journey
        with people currently participating in congregations, as well as those who believe in God
        yet are not connecting themselves to congregations.
Congregationally      THEME 3

                congregations are
               reporting to be less
                     healthy
DAVID ROOZEN, IN A DECADE OF
CHANGE IN AMERICA CONGREGATIONS
          2000-2010, SAYS...
  The past decade brought:   continued increase in innovative, adaptive worship

                             surprisingly rapid adoption of electronic technologies

                             dramatic increase in racial/ethnic congregations, many for
                               immigrant groups
                             general increase in the breadth of both member-oriented
                               and mission-oriented programs
  The decade also saw:       A steep drop in financial health

                             Continuing high levels of conflict

                             Aging memberships

  Hence, the net, overall    Fewer persons in the pews
   result:
                             Decreasing spiritual vitality
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
•   It's not your fault! ... and you are
    not alone.

•   It's not enough ...to change
    worship styles or use a new
    curriculum. There is something
    bigger taking place.

•   It's time! ... the church must
    recognize and name the current
    situation.
THE CHURCH'S CALL TO NURTURE
  FAITH HAS NOT CHANGED…

BUT THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH IT
     DOES SO HAS CHANGED.
WHAT IS FAITH AND FAITH FORMATION?
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT FAITH?
FAITH IS A GIFT
•   Faith is a gift from God, and gives
    Christians their identity.

•   Given by God, faith is the foundational for a
    Christian way of life. And faith informs and
    shapes who we are as Christians. This is a
    reality, a given.

•   .Yet faith, and being Christian, is dynamic.
    Just like our personal identity, our Christian
    identity is nurtured and fostered over time
    as people of faith explore what it means to
    live Christian.

•   Faith forms us, informs our way of life, and
    transforms us into children of God.
CHRISTIAN FAITH IS AN
             EMBODIED FAITH
•   Christian faith is not an abstract idea; it is an
    embodied faith, a faith which takes on flesh as people live
    in God’s world. This reality is most evident in the incarnation
    – in God coming to earth in the person of Jesus. In Jesus’ life,
    death and resurrection, God’s love and promises broke into
    the world in the flesh.

•   Jesus’ life centered on sharing God’s love by inviting people
    into a relationship with God and announcing the kingdom of
    God was near. Christians bring to life God’s mission as they
    live in the world, the world where God’s kingdom is
    unfolding but not fully realized.

•   This means Christians live confident of God’s promised
    future, while they are also aware of pain and brokenness in
    the present. Faith allows Christians to have an eye toward
    heaven, as they also have an eye toward the world.
FAITH IS PASSIVE,YET ACTIVE
•   Faith is passive, yet active . God freely
    offers faith to all people, and in this way,
    Christians are passive in faith. There is nothing
    humans do to receive faith, it is a free gift.

•   Yet faith is more than passive reception. Faith
    also summons a response, which overtime
    becomes a lifestyle. In this way, Christians are
    active in faith.

•   Through faith God’s people join God’s work
    in the world as they actively participate in
    God’s ongoing creative and redemptive
    mission of love.
WHAT THEN IS FAITH
  FORMATION?
A LIFE OF FAITH IS LIKE JAZZ
             •   A life of faith is like jazz, a life of
                 faith emerges as core beliefs meet
                 improvisation within a particular
                 rhythm.

             •   People of faith are always living as God’s
                 people within the particular realities of
                 their lived experience in a broken, sinful
                 world. These realities are put into
                 conversation with God’s promise of
                 love, seeking to discover what it means
                 to live “Christian” in their distinct time
                 and place.
ACTIVITY




3-4 COMMITMENTS
 •   What's critical to a life of faith?
•   the church’s role is to help people come to
    know and understand what it means to be
    Christian, and live Christian in one’s daily life.
AS CHRISTIANS EMBODY FAITH IN THE WORLD
   THEY ARE CALLED TO HELP EACH OTHER
 DISCOVER WHAT IT MEANS TO BE CHRISTIAN,
BUT THEY ALSO ARE CALLED INTO THE WORLD
         TO LOVE THEIR NEIGHBOR.
DISCIPLESHI
     P

-IDENTITY AS
  CHRISTIAN

-LOVING OUR
  NEIGHBOR
•   the church works at cultivating discipleship
    community as well as engaging culture .
WHAT IS
   FAITH
FORMATION
    IS A
 MISSIONAL
    AGE?
•   So what is it to live a Christian way of life
    within a religiously diverse culture?
FAITH WITH A MISSION




4 COMMITMENTS AND
    2 MOVEMENTS
•   How has the gift of faith informed your life?

•   What does being in a relationship with God mean
    to you?

•   How has God’s love for you impacted how you
    love others?



                    GIFT OF
                     LOVE
•   How has faith as a relationship with God, not a set of
    rules, informed your life?

•   How has the community of faith helped you discern a
    Christian way of life?

•   What does it mean to foster faith as a compass in the
    lives of young people?


                                  COMPASS
                                  FOR DAILY
                                    LIVING
WITNESS TO
                           GOD'S STORY
•   How have others witnessed God's love to you?

•   How have you experienced congregations witness to
    God's love?

•   Why is it important to foster faith as witness? Especially
    young people?
•   How has faith empowered you to be an agent of God's love
     in the world?

 •   How have you helped others discover their gifts and
     passions so they might participate in God's mission?

 •   What difference does it make for people to discover their
     agency and direct it toward God's mission? How might we
     help young people with this?

AGENT OF GOD'S LOVE
TWO
MOVEMENTS
 GATHERING
WHEN TWO OR ORE
  FATHER IN GOD'S NAME,
   GOD PROMISES TO BE
        PRESENT
   THESE TIMES ARE PLANNED, AND
            UNPLANNED.

 THEY INCLUDE UNIVERSAL PRACTICES,
AND PRACTICES UNIQUE TO ONES TIME
           AND PLACE.

    IN COMMUNITY,
  CHRISTIANS DISCOVER
    WHAT IT IS TO BE
       CHRISTIAN.
How has the gathered community of faith
helped you discover your identity as a
child of God?

How has the gathered community
embodied the faith for you at a critical
time in your life?

What practices have been most impactful
for you living your faith in your everyday
life?

What practice or practices were most
helpful in you learning the Christian story?
TWO
 MOVEMENTS

GATHERING AND
  SCATTERING
AWAY FROM CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY OUR
CHRISTIAN IDENTITY IS TEST AND CHALLENGED. YET
 OUR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY IS SHAPED AS MUCH BY
   OUT TIMES APART AS IT IS WHEN GATHERED
                 TOGETHER.

  LIVING CHRISTIAN MEANS BEING GOD'S LOVE IN THE
       WORLD - CREATIVELY AND REDEMPTIVELY.
•   What are ways you have been part of God's creative love in the
    world?

•   What are some ways you have been part of God's redemptive
    love in the world?

•   What is most challenging for you as you seek to discover a
    Christian way of life scattered in the world? How could a
    community of faith help you?
•   What stands out for you in the
    pattern of gathering and scattering?
    What's similar and different for the
    current practices of your
    congregation?

•   How would this pattern help you,
    personally, discover a Christian way
    of life? What might it entail?

•   How might this pattern be a
    'curriculum' for helping young
    people discover a Christian way of
    life? How would this change your
    current practices?
CLOSING

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PD2 Overview Faith Formation Missional Age

  • 1. WHAT IS FAITH IN A MISSIONAL AGE? Terri Martinson Elton
  • 3. WHAT IS FAITH IN A MISSIONAL AGE?
  • 4. Our hope is to… spark a conversation within congregations and ministry leaders which might lead the church to recommit itself to its calling to foster and nurture faith, as it also discovers and reimagines its ongoing ministry practices.
  • 6. WHO AM I? FOUR SYMBOLS
  • 7. WHO AM I? FOUR FOUR QUESTIONS: SYMBOLS How did these elements come to be important in your life? Have these ever elements been challenged? How and what was it like? How might these elements be similar and different to others in your family?
  • 9. IDENTITY what does it means to be and live Christian?
  • 10. -THE CHURCH TODAY -FAITH AND FAITH FORMATION -FORMING FAITH TODAY
  • 11. #1 - Why is this a missional age?
  • 12. …the world is changing
  • 13. ONCE KNOWN AS A CHRISTIAN NATION, TODAY THE UNITED STATES IS A RELIGIOUS MELTING POT. 2012 MARKS THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY WHERE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY AS PROTESTANTS HAS DROPPED BELOW 50% OF THE POPULATION. TODAY MOST STATES (45 OF 52) HAVE BETWEEN 30-55% OF THEIR POPULATION WHO CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN
  • 14. THIS FACT MEANS CHRISTIANITY IS NO LONGER A MAJORITY RELIGION IN THE UNITED STATES; NOR IS ANY OTHER RELIGION.
  • 15. THE CHURCH ONCE NURTURED FAITH WITHIN A SOCIETY WHICH SUPPORTED, OR COMPLIMENTED, CHRISTIAN VALUES AND A CHRISTIAN RHYTHM OF LIFE.
  • 16. Of the 13-18 year olds surveyed in the National Study of Youth and Religion:
  • 17. Of the 13-18 year olds surveyed in the National Study of Youth and Religion:
  • 18. congregations matter
  • 20. Denominationally THEME 1 all major religious groups are experiencing decline.
  • 21. A few major religious groups have experienced “Almost all some growth (more than 135,000) denominations Assemblies of God +14.9% +382,889 people +378 congregations losing ground, Church of Latter Day Saints +45.5% +1,920,556 people +2,086 congregations survey finds; Muslim estimate +66.7% +1,040,788 people +897 congregations Faith is shifting, Seventh-Day Adventist +29.5% +271,950 people +1,158 congregations drifting or vanishing outright.” But most have experienced decline. ELCA -18.2% -893,932 people -893 congregations Headline from the United Church of Christ -24.4% -414,622 people -638 congregations USA Today, March Presbyterian (USA) -22% -689,586 people -619 congregations 2009 Episcopal Church -15.7% -362,849 people -520 congregations American Baptist Church -11.7% -206,890 people -312 congregations Lutheran Church Missouri Synod -9.9% -250,141 people -37 congregations Roman Catholic Church -5% -3,107,155 people -1,202 parishes United Methodists -4.7% -489,976 people -2,398 congregations
  • 22. Religiously THEME 2 Overall the “churched population” has declined.
  • 23. In 2000, 50.2% of the total population reported a religious affiliation. In 2010, 48.8% of the total population reported a religious affiliation. The United States is becoming a less religious country.
  • 24. WHO ARE THE 'NONES'? “One-fifth of the U.S. public are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. And, for adults under 30, it’s one- third! • Being a “none” or one with no religious affiliation does not mean lack of belief. “On the contrary, most of the “nones” say they believe in God, and describe themselves as religious, spiritual or both.” And while many “nones” believe in God, they are not interested in “church” (or organized religion) as many of us know it. • it’s time for congregations (or the organized church) to rethink what it means to journey with people currently participating in congregations, as well as those who believe in God yet are not connecting themselves to congregations.
  • 25. Congregationally THEME 3 congregations are reporting to be less healthy
  • 26. DAVID ROOZEN, IN A DECADE OF CHANGE IN AMERICA CONGREGATIONS 2000-2010, SAYS... The past decade brought: continued increase in innovative, adaptive worship surprisingly rapid adoption of electronic technologies dramatic increase in racial/ethnic congregations, many for immigrant groups general increase in the breadth of both member-oriented and mission-oriented programs The decade also saw: A steep drop in financial health Continuing high levels of conflict Aging memberships Hence, the net, overall Fewer persons in the pews result: Decreasing spiritual vitality
  • 27. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? • It's not your fault! ... and you are not alone. • It's not enough ...to change worship styles or use a new curriculum. There is something bigger taking place. • It's time! ... the church must recognize and name the current situation.
  • 28. THE CHURCH'S CALL TO NURTURE FAITH HAS NOT CHANGED… BUT THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH IT DOES SO HAS CHANGED.
  • 29. WHAT IS FAITH AND FAITH FORMATION?
  • 30. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT FAITH?
  • 31. FAITH IS A GIFT • Faith is a gift from God, and gives Christians their identity. • Given by God, faith is the foundational for a Christian way of life. And faith informs and shapes who we are as Christians. This is a reality, a given. • .Yet faith, and being Christian, is dynamic. Just like our personal identity, our Christian identity is nurtured and fostered over time as people of faith explore what it means to live Christian. • Faith forms us, informs our way of life, and transforms us into children of God.
  • 32. CHRISTIAN FAITH IS AN EMBODIED FAITH • Christian faith is not an abstract idea; it is an embodied faith, a faith which takes on flesh as people live in God’s world. This reality is most evident in the incarnation – in God coming to earth in the person of Jesus. In Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, God’s love and promises broke into the world in the flesh. • Jesus’ life centered on sharing God’s love by inviting people into a relationship with God and announcing the kingdom of God was near. Christians bring to life God’s mission as they live in the world, the world where God’s kingdom is unfolding but not fully realized. • This means Christians live confident of God’s promised future, while they are also aware of pain and brokenness in the present. Faith allows Christians to have an eye toward heaven, as they also have an eye toward the world.
  • 33. FAITH IS PASSIVE,YET ACTIVE • Faith is passive, yet active . God freely offers faith to all people, and in this way, Christians are passive in faith. There is nothing humans do to receive faith, it is a free gift. • Yet faith is more than passive reception. Faith also summons a response, which overtime becomes a lifestyle. In this way, Christians are active in faith. • Through faith God’s people join God’s work in the world as they actively participate in God’s ongoing creative and redemptive mission of love.
  • 34. WHAT THEN IS FAITH FORMATION?
  • 35. A LIFE OF FAITH IS LIKE JAZZ • A life of faith is like jazz, a life of faith emerges as core beliefs meet improvisation within a particular rhythm. • People of faith are always living as God’s people within the particular realities of their lived experience in a broken, sinful world. These realities are put into conversation with God’s promise of love, seeking to discover what it means to live “Christian” in their distinct time and place.
  • 36. ACTIVITY 3-4 COMMITMENTS • What's critical to a life of faith?
  • 37. the church’s role is to help people come to know and understand what it means to be Christian, and live Christian in one’s daily life.
  • 38. AS CHRISTIANS EMBODY FAITH IN THE WORLD THEY ARE CALLED TO HELP EACH OTHER DISCOVER WHAT IT MEANS TO BE CHRISTIAN, BUT THEY ALSO ARE CALLED INTO THE WORLD TO LOVE THEIR NEIGHBOR.
  • 39. DISCIPLESHI P -IDENTITY AS CHRISTIAN -LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR
  • 40. the church works at cultivating discipleship community as well as engaging culture .
  • 41. WHAT IS FAITH FORMATION IS A MISSIONAL AGE?
  • 42. So what is it to live a Christian way of life within a religiously diverse culture?
  • 43.
  • 44. FAITH WITH A MISSION 4 COMMITMENTS AND 2 MOVEMENTS
  • 45. How has the gift of faith informed your life? • What does being in a relationship with God mean to you? • How has God’s love for you impacted how you love others? GIFT OF LOVE
  • 46. How has faith as a relationship with God, not a set of rules, informed your life? • How has the community of faith helped you discern a Christian way of life? • What does it mean to foster faith as a compass in the lives of young people? COMPASS FOR DAILY LIVING
  • 47. WITNESS TO GOD'S STORY • How have others witnessed God's love to you? • How have you experienced congregations witness to God's love? • Why is it important to foster faith as witness? Especially young people?
  • 48. How has faith empowered you to be an agent of God's love in the world? • How have you helped others discover their gifts and passions so they might participate in God's mission? • What difference does it make for people to discover their agency and direct it toward God's mission? How might we help young people with this? AGENT OF GOD'S LOVE
  • 50. WHEN TWO OR ORE FATHER IN GOD'S NAME, GOD PROMISES TO BE PRESENT THESE TIMES ARE PLANNED, AND UNPLANNED. THEY INCLUDE UNIVERSAL PRACTICES, AND PRACTICES UNIQUE TO ONES TIME AND PLACE. IN COMMUNITY, CHRISTIANS DISCOVER WHAT IT IS TO BE CHRISTIAN.
  • 51. How has the gathered community of faith helped you discover your identity as a child of God? How has the gathered community embodied the faith for you at a critical time in your life? What practices have been most impactful for you living your faith in your everyday life? What practice or practices were most helpful in you learning the Christian story?
  • 53. AWAY FROM CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY OUR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY IS TEST AND CHALLENGED. YET OUR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY IS SHAPED AS MUCH BY OUT TIMES APART AS IT IS WHEN GATHERED TOGETHER. LIVING CHRISTIAN MEANS BEING GOD'S LOVE IN THE WORLD - CREATIVELY AND REDEMPTIVELY.
  • 54. What are ways you have been part of God's creative love in the world? • What are some ways you have been part of God's redemptive love in the world? • What is most challenging for you as you seek to discover a Christian way of life scattered in the world? How could a community of faith help you?
  • 55.
  • 56. What stands out for you in the pattern of gathering and scattering? What's similar and different for the current practices of your congregation? • How would this pattern help you, personally, discover a Christian way of life? What might it entail? • How might this pattern be a 'curriculum' for helping young people discover a Christian way of life? How would this change your current practices?