“There is no reason to be a student of the future. Unless, of course, you plan to spend the bulk of the rest of your life there.” – Dr. Rich Melheim
Now there’s a word for the next generation of faith formation.
The church is the only true Cross+Generational community available to most children in our society today. It is the only place where all six living generations are gathered together every week under the same roof. Yet, what do most churches do with these gifts on most Sunday mornings? We separate and segregate families from one another the moment they walk through the door. We send the babies to the nursery, dismiss children to the Sunday School unit, corral youth in the youth room and aim elders toward the coffee pot. As for parents who don’t want to be involved in their own children’s faith lives, we all but invite them to drop their little darlings off at the door and head to the coffee shop down the street for an hour of free babysitting. Apart.
If Sunday morning is prime time, if church is prime place, and if a true Cross+Gen community is a prime environment for the seeds of faith to be sown and grown, how much wiser would it be for us to design experiences that keep families together regularly each week? Rather than segregating the ages and stages – the wisdom and the wonder – why not create blended “eduworship” environments that gather families around the same Bible story or theme, equip them with Cross+Generational allies, and launch them out the door together for a weeklong engagement with the text and the context, the Word and the world?
This conference and the books “Let’s Kill Sunday School (before it kills the church)” Volumes I and II are the result of Faith Inkubators investing 20 years in visioning, testing, trial, error, some success and a major failure. Way back in 1996, we launched an experiment called Total Family Sunday School. It kicked off with great enthusiasm, but failed miserably within five years. It was an idea ahead of its time. We believe the church is now ready. The time is ripe and right. It is time to dream God’s dream. Together.
In 72 hours of Vision Sessions, Bible Studies, Case Studies, strategic thinking and fun, we are going to collide your vision for the future with some of the most creative bunch of “movers and shakers and systems breakers” you’ve ever encountered. It will be challenging. It may be unsettling. It will be refreshing. And with the help of Dr. David Lose, President of Lutheran School of Theology, Philadelphia, it will be unlike any conference you’ve ever attended. Together we will lean into the future of faith formation in an intentional, proactive way. We will leave with a systems perspective and strategic plan for the future of Cross+Gen faith formation in the 21st Century. Together.
My doctoral mentor Len Sweet teaches that the Medieval Era ended and the Modern Era began with the three words “Here I stand.” He believes the next Reformation will commence with the words “There we go!”
We’ll add one word to this call for a brave new world of faith formation.
There we go.... together.
Dr. Rich Melheim
Founder of The Faith Inkubators Foundation & the Cross+Gen Movement