In her book, Start with Jesus, friend, author, speaker, and evangelist Julianne Stanz states that “too often our approach to our faith lacks the fire or energy that it deserves,” and she issues a call for us to “reclaim the fire.” Faith formation programs can provide the spark needed to ignite this blaze!
In a new, free professional development workshop, Reclaiming the Fire: Six Keys to Making Our Faith Formation More Evangelizing—which can be found below—I offer six practical suggestions for catechists to engage minds and hearts in a transformative way:
- Storytelling—If we want to proclaim the great deeds of the Lord in a way that touches the hearts of those we teach, we need to reclaim the art of storytelling (Bible stories, stories of the saints, and personal stories) and invite those we teach to reflect on the stories of the Gospel as a way of encountering Jesus.
- Sacramentality—Only a language of mystery (symbolic words and actions) can serve as a vehicle that is capable of transporting human beings from a narrative of defeat, dysfunction, and despair, to one of rescue, restoration, and reassurance.
- Tradition—We faithfully transmit a heritage of faith as though carefully handing down family heirlooms from one generation to another. Our God has revealed himself through specific words and actions over the course of salvation history; it is our job to transmit that Tradition faithfully and robustly.
- Spirituality and Prayer—Too many people think of God as distant and that the responsibility is on us to get his attention so that he will draw near to us. And yet, our Tradition teaches us the exact opposite. God has drawn near to us through the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to teach young people to encounter Jesus in prayer and to create a climate of prayer in our faith formation settings.
- Experiences of Sharing God’s Mercy—Scripture tells us that faith without works is dead. If we want truly to touch the hearts and minds of those we teach, we need to engage them in works of mercy and doing service for others.
- Entering Through Their Door—Children learn today in ways that are vastly different from the way children learned just a few generations ago. Old rules of engagement don’t resonate with them. If we are truly going to engage current and future generations, we need to utilize technology more effectively.
Throughout this professional development workshop, I draw examples from the new 2021 edition of Finding God to illustrate these six keys. The workshop also includes downloadable worksheets to assist catechists in implementing the six keys to reclaiming the fire in our faith formation efforts.
Watch the presentation below, and let’s start reclaiming the fire!