Change is a comin’. How do you deal with change? There are lots of changes coming our way and we have to adapt or not. What is new and innovative in the church in Christian education or faith formation? What is change? Is change doing things differently and actually becoming different? This issue of the Advocate features new trends on the forefront and innovations in our field of Christian education.
I listened attentively at the last APCE Annual Event when I heard about a virtual presbytery that did its meetings on the Internet. There was no office and the staff worked from computers wherever they happened to be. I was in awe of the resource center that had no books, and only used the Internet. Now the APCE Cabinet is using the Internet to conduct reviews of our contracted workers. The cabinet uses Dropbox to share files. We use Facebook to stay in touch with those we meet at the Annual Event and regional events, and we even meet new people on the Internet who become our friends. Book apps integrate spirituality with our busy lives. I often use my Kindle to read the Bible and I have as many versions of the Bible on it as I do on my book shelf, from the NRSV to the Common English Bible and many in-between. A hotel in Newcastle, UK, has swapped the Bibles in the night stand for an electronic version. They lend their guests a Kindle to read the Bible while they are staying at the hotel.
An interim executive presbyter I worked with when I was moderator of the presbytery focused on change and how the presbytery leaders dealt with change. Leaders went online and got a score that told them how difficult or how easily they made changes and dealt with changes. Changes are happening and it is our job to find ways to help people be faithful in this changing world.
I recently read John Roberto’s Faith Formation 2020 about the future of the church and faith formation. I have been a reader of John Roberto’s periodicals for quite some time and was very glad to see this book so widely read by Reformed educators. The book helps us look at possibilities and scenarios of what the future may hold for those of us in the church involved in designing experiences and possibilities that lead to the formation of faith in people in the future. What kind of leaders will be needed in the future of faith formation? The APCE Cabinet read this book in anticipation of strategic planning with Rodger Nishioka and Kathy Dawson last fall. Many regional events focused on the concepts of Roberto and perhaps you have studied his ideas and concepts of what may be new ways of leading people in faith formation.
Change is all around us and it will affect the church and Christian education. New things are coming; are you ready? Faith Formation 2020 is about hope and that is what we as educators must be about. As Roberto says in the introduction to the book: “Hope in the next generation. Hope in churches that are resilient and adaptive….Hope and trust in God.”
Jeanne McIver retired church educator Jeanne McIver is now the volunteer director of the Learning Resource Center at Southminster Presbytery in Dayton, OH.