I went to this really compelling workshop about bringing religious education programs out of the 19th century straight into the 21st by Catholic author of “Faith Formation 2020” John Roberto on Tuesday. It was awesome, and I’m going to blog more about it soon. Among the provocative points Roberto made (which are not necessarily endorsed by me or UUAC Sherborn, but are interesting conversation starters, no?):
1) People don’t fear change, they fear loss.
2) Along those lines: Sunday School is dead. Bury it in the churchyard cemetary and have a funeral for it.
3) The research shows that people are more and more unlikely to attend church, and that isn’t going to change in the future. People are identifying as “no religious affiliation”, or “spiritual but not religious” in increasing amounts. However, only 4-5% of Americans identify as atheist, a statistic that hasn’t changed since George Washington was president.
4) Kids should be worshipping with adults full stop with multigenerational religious education programming happening at a different time. Read “The Sticky Church”. The research is in: kids who don’t worship with adults don’t grow up to be church-goers. Period.
5) We need to harness the power of 21st century technology to do faith formation. NOW. Because it isn’t going away. We need to be up to date with social media strategies, websites that point people to as many resources as possible to deepen in their faith, and use the internet as opportunities for religious education (webinars, podcasts, etc.)
6) We need to stop getting mad at our fellow parishioners who don’t show up to church because they want to spend time with their kids on Sunday morning, or because of soccer practice. That’s our reality, and it’s not anyone’s fault. Bring church to the soccer field instead, and stop being bitter. We’re here to serve the people where they are.
7) Fail early and often.
8) Be creative and have fun.
In the meantime, if you are interested in this topic, you should read my friend and colleague Cindy Beal’s storified version of the workshop because it is beautiful and funny and visually appealing.
Faith formation forever,