Misery Loves Company

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my frustration with regards to not finding the “secret formula” to attracting adults to faith formation. I was tickled to receive the following e-mail from a good friend of mine who has been a catechetical leader for years and is one of the smartest people I know: To tell the truth, I’m sort of glad you didn’t find some secret I’ve missed my whole career. Because I would […]

Faith Formation for Parents: Bruce’s Story

As he sat down, he leaned to the mom next to him and whispered, “Don’t ask any questions; I want to get out of here before eight!” This was Bruce*, a 40-something professional man whose daughter Denise was enrolled in our Confirmation program. The setting was a parent session offered before the children’s sacramental preparation began. Bruce rarely went to church, had little to no spiritual life, and no real knowledge of his Catholic faith […]

Digging for the Secret to Adult Faith Formation Success: Al Capone’s Vault

As regular readers know, this past year, I dedicated my time and efforts to working in the area of adult faith formation, and I’ve discovered many ideas and strategies along the way, and we’ve had some marvelous discussions about some of these. One thing I had hoped for more success in was discovering the keys to getting adults to respond to/attend adult faith formation offerings. In that area, I must admit, I feel like Geraldo Rivera promising […]

Revisiting the Notion of Brokenness and Adult Faith Formation

It would seem that I touched a nerve (in a good way) when I suggested recently that our adult faith formation efforts need to focus on brokenness. This idea really seems to resonate with people, based on the volume of comments and the number of people who shared the post on social networks. Thanks for making this such a robust conversation. I thought it might be helpful to revisit it and delve a little deeper. […]

Adult Faith Formation Needs to Focus on Brokenness

The key to effective adult faith formation can be found in church basements all over the country. And what, exactly, can be found in church basements? Twelve Step meetings. People do not go to Twelve Step meetings because they like the music. They don’t go because of how the space is decorated. They don’t go because the seats are comfy or because of a big video screen. They don’t go because the food is good. […]

How to Use Mentoring as a Tool for Adult Faith Formation

When the topic of adult faith formation comes up, we Catholics have a tendency to immediately shift to a default mode which is the classroom model: there must be a topic, a presenter, and “students.” The topic is usually doctrinal, the presenter is typically the only one who speaks, and the students are passive receptors of the speaker’s wisdom. More and more parishes are recognizing the reality that adult faith formation must come in many […]

Adult Faith: Moving to a Needs-Based Approach

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 […]

Adult Faith Formation: Creating a “Greenhouse Effect” in the Diocese of Joliet

Recently, I had the privilege of spending a day with a 50–60 catechetical leaders in the Diocese of Joliet, IL, exploring adult faith formation. Here is the title and description of my topic: A Change of Climate: How to Create a Parish “Greenhouse Effect” that Fosters the Growth of Adult Faith Formation Adult faith formation is not accomplished via a program or an event or even a series of events. Rather, it is stimulated by […]

Reaching Parents on the Margins of Parish Life

A catechist friend of mine recently commented that there was a general attitude among parents. She called it the “drag-drive-drop” mentality: parents dragged their children into the car, drove them to the faith formation center, and dropped them off at class! While not true in every parish, the question of how we reach parents who are disengaged or disinterested in their children’s faith formation is becoming an increasingly difficult task for us all. There are […]

We’re Doing This Apprenticeship Thing All Wrong!

One of the most exciting and challenging ideas that the General Directory for Catechesis brought us is the concept of apprenticeship. This comprehensive formation includes more than instruction: it is an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life. (67) The whole idea, of course, is that those seeking to enter more fully into discipleship are to be mentored into the Christian way of life. This is the basis of our Catholic practice of providing sponsors for […]

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