As part of our transition goals, we are getting ready to launch our Sunday school on September 8. Michelle Garcia has been leading the effort to re-establish Christian formation for children at St. Paul’s. I am grateful for her efforts. See her article below for more information. I prefer the word
, because our goal is not just to provide knowledge of Bible stories and our faith. The purpose for our children is that they be formed—that they grow up shaped by the knowledge that God is Love, and that God loves them, and that we share this love with each other, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Furthermore, Christian formation is not just for children and youth. If our children are engaged in
, as adults our work is
. All of us have growing to do. The point of learning in faith is not just to learn some new things, to get smarter. The point of Christian formation is to grow, spiritually and continually. After all, our subject matter is God and therefore infinite in scope. Moreover, our spiritual needs change and grow during different stages of life.
At this point in my own life, I have completed many of my important tasks in life. I have raised and educated children. I have established myself in a profession. I am in the last third of my career. I have a plan to take care of my future financial needs. Yet, rather than feeling like my work is done, I feel like there is a whole new path ahead of me, largely free of the duties of “the first half of life.” Now that I am in the second half, I am being formed in a new and different way. This has led Jen and me to make changes in our lives and careers, to simplify, to focus on our personal growth and, at the same time, to want to work on larger challenges beyond just those of our job or family. I am ready to be formed in new ways, even and especially in the last half of my life. I feel like I have so much more to learn.
God is never in the business of maintaining us, keeping us stable or stuck in place. God is about transforming us. God is not improving us; God is renewing and resurrecting us. We are always dying and rising, things are passing away and all things are becoming new. That is what Christian formation is. Even as our Sunday school for children gets underway. Let no one think that we are excused from being formed and transformed in Christ. There is always more to learn, new ways to grow. We never graduate from Sunday school!
What kind of formation do you want at St. Paul’s? At this point in your life, what do you feel called to explore and discover? I have some ideas for classes this year, some tentative plans, but I want to hear how you want to grow? What do you want to learn and reflect on? What will help you grow? Please email me with your ideas,