Christian Education Transitions to Christian Formation
By LeeAnne Steenhoek
April 23, 2021
A few members recently asked why there’s been a shift from using the term “Christian Education, C.E.” to the term “Christian Formation” to describe what we do in the Pat Harris Christian Education Office and throughout our ministry. Language has shifted over the past several years as Christian Educators work to offer supports which are not only an academic comprehension of Christian practices but also the understanding of being formed in and through Christ, mind, body and soul formation throughout our lives. We journey from Baptism through Confirmation and throughout adulthood on Life’s Path following Jesus, in the way of Christ, throughout our lives. We listen for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and respond to God’s guidance.
This thinking is not new to First Church but the specific word choice may be. I applied for the position “Director of Christian Formation” and believed that First Church was already familiar with this language.
Conceptually this thinking is well established within our ministry. Our covenant it states, “…we, as a board, have primary responsibility for all phases of Christian Education. We believe it is through experiencing and becoming more open to God that we grow as whole persons.” First Church bylaws states, “The Board of Christian Education shall inform and educate itself as to the purpose, policies and procedure of effective Christian nurture…It shall have primary responsibility for the Christian nurture of children, youth and adults…”
Christian Formation encompasses current language as well as our history and practice. We nurture members from cradle to grave growing in faith and fellowship through our vibrant worship and programs relevant to the needs of First Church.