Service and Faith Formation in the Congregation

DGFaith and outreach are closely connected in spiritual development. Congregational life, faith practices and service to others shape children, teens, adults and families. In this interactive workshop, well-known family scholar Diana Garland explores these basic concepts, reveals research findings, discusses strategies and leads participants in creating their own congregational plans of action.

The day includes four sections:

Faith, faith practices, and service – This session will explore basic concepts that will frame the day. They include: (1) the role of family ministry in congregational life; (2) definitions of faith, faith practices, and service as a central faith practice; (3) distinguishing Christian service and calling from “volunteering;” and (4) understanding congregation as community and world as neighborhood. Participants will explore the implications of these frameworks for their congregations.

What research has found – Garland presents the research Baylor University has conducted to understand (1) the relationship of Christian service and the faith development of children, teens, and adults; and (2) the relationship of Christian service with family faith. Participants will compare these findings with their personal experiences and the experiences of their congregations.

Strategies for engaging families in mission – This session will focus on how to begin and expand family’s engagement in service beyond themselves. Participants explore the relationship between the faith practices of service and hospitality.

Making service the core of congregational life – As congregations sustain family engagement in service, they develop a culture of service; they become what Garland calls “inside out congregations.”  This session will focus on how to weave service into the fabric of a congregation’s culture, so that congregants “catch” the ethos of service just by being a part of the congregation.

Dr. Garland is dean of the Baylor School of Social Work and has pioneered research in the integration of faith and service in congregations and in religiously affiliated organizations.

Service and Faith Formation in the Congregation is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, March 21, 2013 in Indianapolis and Friday, March 22, 2013 in Fort Wayne. The cost is $30 a person (or $25 a person for congregational teams of three or more when registered together). This fee includes lunch, conversation and workshop materials.