When you plan adult formation for your congregation, create options. Think in terms of a Menu for Adult Formation. Have goals and a big picture.
It's important to think about: Why does formation matter? Formation should be more than just information-sharing. In the words of Bishop Jeff Lee, who spoke to the Maine clergy, "Formation is about conversion. It's about having your heart broken ... It's about feeding and nurturing people. "
It's important to ask: What are our goals for this year? One church answered this by saying: "Our goals for adult formation are: half-way decent biblical literacy, basic theology and to enable everyone to tell their own story in a way that's authentic and inviting." Another group said: "Our goal is for everyone to know the arc of the biblical story, to connect it with your own life stories, to see God's activity in your life and to be comfortable talking about it."
Also think about: Who comes to formation programs? If the same dozen people will come regardless of what you offer or what name you give it, then the real question for your church is: How do we reach everyone else?
It's important to think about more than just classes and programs. To borrow a phrase from Rev. Tim Schenk, the heart of the next question is: What should be on our Formation Buffet?
Here are some ideas:
Formation programs - classes and events
Liturgy as formation
Reflecting together after activities.
Formation happens through all the communication you use - newsletters, bulletins, art, pictures on the walls.
Formation to go - at home use of websites
For more information, contact Jane Hartwell.Also, visit the Diocese of Maine's Adult Formation Resources Exchange