One of the problems with adult faith formation, as I see it, is our “packaging.” We want our adults to have a good grasp of Church doctrine but the problem is that we present it as…drumroll please…CHURCH DOCTRINE! In other words, our adult faith offerings are most often too “churchy-sounding” to attract a wide or new audience.
Most folks are simply not going to be swayed by topics such as the following:
- Understanding the Mass
- A New Look at Church History
- Revisiting the Sacraments
- Exploring the Four Pillars of the Catholic Faith
I’m not suggesting that we shy away from teaching doctrine. However, doctrine is not an end in and of itself. Doctrine is supposed to assist us in making sense of the mystery of life and our relationship with God. I suggest, instead, that we take a needs-based approach to our adult faith offerings and then draw from Scripture and Tradition (doctrine) to enrich and enlighten our understanding of how God’s grace is available to guide and assist us in responding to life’s challenges.
So, what kind of topics am I suggesting? Here’s a sampling. (Each of these might be prefaced with something like “Six Steps to…” or “Four Weeks to…”)
- Celebrating life
- Getting through difficult times
- Letting go
- Coping with change
- A more heroic life
- Finding your source of energy
- Deeper wisdom
- Discovering courage
- Reaching out to others
- A more meaningful life
- Coming to terms with suffering
- Becoming a more loving person
- A more selfless you
- Learning from failure
Catch my drift? Scripture and Catholic doctrine speak to these realities but, instead of leading with doctrine in the title, we lead with life’s realities.
What are some needs-based titles you can think of for adult faith offerings?