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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Faith formation for the 21st century

Technology, time move us away from old Christian education models

Most of us have similar goals for faith formation or Christian education. We want to help people grow in their relationship with God. We want to learn to live as disciples of Jesus Christ at home, in the workplace, and in the community and world. We want to help our members develop an understanding of the Bible and our faith tradition and deepen their spiritual life and practices.

Then, too, we'd like faith formation to help people engage in service and mission and become active participants in our faith communities.

And just to top it off, wouldn't it be great if faith formation could engage all ages and generations in this lifelong process of growing, experiencing, celebrating and living the Christian faith?

Yet churches today are finding it more difficult to accomplish these goals in a world where the religious landscape has changed dramatically over the past two decades.

Curt Brinkmann/Life's a Story Photography Just consider how the following U.S. trends from the American Religious Identification Survey and the Pew Research Center impact Christian education or faith formation in your congregation and household:

• Generational diversity. As a result of people living longer, we have five distinct generational profiles, each with its own spiritual needs and unique learning preferences: the iGeneration (born since 2000), millennials (1980-1999), Generation X (1961-1979), baby boomers (1946-1960) and builders (born before 1946).


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April issue

APRIL issue:

Faith traditions

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