June 2017 Issue [nid:42474]

Pastor Jim Poelman of Redeemer Christian Reformed Church in Sarnia, Ont., was faced with a newly-elected group of elders about to do their first round of visitations. Many of the elders had never served in this role before and felt ill-equipped to visit individuals and families in their homes to talk about their lives and faith.

To prepare them for this task, Poelman decided to use two of the “Ten Ways” tools from a recently released Faith Formation Ministries (FFM) resource packet. He set aside half an hour of an elders meeting to read through, discuss, and pray over “Ten Ways to Be a Caring Elder.” He also gave each elder a copy of “Ten Ways to Talk with Someone about Their Faith” to read on their own.

A few days later, one of the elders told Poelman that she had successfully connected with teens in her Care Circle thanks to some of the things she learned from the “Ten Ways” resources.

The “Ten Ways” tools that Poelman used are each one page long and offer practical ways to address ministry challenges. Developed by FFM, several of these “Ten Ways”  pages have been compiled into a resource packet and are now available to Christian Reformed churches across North America.

The packets also contain introductory brochures for five online “toolkits” that offer hundreds of practical ideas for growing and strengthening faith in children, youth, and adults. All of the materials are designed to encourage and equip local Christian Reformed ministry leaders in their calling to shape intentional, lifelong faith formation in their unique context.

“Churches using the tools in this resource packet have found that these resources have the most impact if three or more leaders explore them on their own for an hour and choose five ideas to bring to a meeting,” said Syd Hielema, director of FFM. “In conversation with others, they can discern the two strongest ideas that best suit their context.”

Churches can also reach out to a FFM regional catalyzer for advice on a specific plan to implement those ideas in their congregations.

“The toolkits and ‘Ten Ways’ tools are clear, concise, and beautiful—a simple, straightforward resource that leads people deeper to more online resources if they choose to go there,” said Pastor Chris DeWinter of Trinity CRC in St. Catharines, Ont. He has used the materials for small group leaders training, elder development, and council conversations about developing intentional church culture.

If your church has not received a Faith Formation resource packet, please contact Faith Formation at faithformation@crcna.org, and they will be sure to mail one to you!

About the Author

Paola Fuentes Gleghorn