Welcome to Faith Formation at Calvary
Whether you're new to church or you've grown up in it, we thought we'd tell you a little bit about what we mean by the term "faith formation."
What do we mean by "faith?"
The definition of faith has become misunderstood in American Christianity. For many, it has become a thing we work up inside of us through study, deliberation, and maybe church attendance and prayer by which we believe in God, trust in him, and get saved. This idea of faith puts it in the “works” category—something we do. But faith is not something you or I do. Nor is faith in God something we can do. It is a gift from God, the Holy Spirit, most notably given to us through Word and Sacrament.
Faith (and its synonym, belief) is a term of relationship. It needs an object. We have faith in someone or believe in something. As a term of relationship, it can be thought of as having three parts: knowledge, agreement, and trust. First, there is knowledge or the content of faith. In Christianity, Jesus is the content of our faith, the Son of God, crucified, and risen for the forgiveness of sins. Second, there is agreement or approval of the content. For Christians, that would be agreeing that Jesus really did die and rise from the dead, that it actually happened. Third, there is a trust or heartfelt confidence that what you know and agree is true applies to you. For us, this means believing that Jesus was crucified and risen for your sins.
What do we mean by "formation?"
This third part, trust, is what we most often mean by faith, and believing that Jesus died for us is not something we can come to trust on our own. The formation of faith, this trust, this heartfelt confidence in Christ’s work on our behalf is a gift from God. It is one he works in us by his word. As Paul writes in Romans, “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
It is this word of Christ, that is, the word that our sins are forgiven because of Jesus’ death and resurrection that we strive to lift up, share, and teach to the children, students, parents, and adults of Calvary. Faith formation is not something we do per se. It is something we join Jesus in doing. He has given us faith in him by his word and so, like John the Baptist, we point Jesus out to others saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
That is what faith formation is, continually sharing what has been given to us: the good news that our sins are freely forgiven in Christ. It is out of this forgiveness that hope springs and by this forgiveness that lives change. For like Paul in his letter to the church Philippi, we are, "sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
Who is faith formation for?
Faith formation at Calvary includes all ages, from the youngest to the oldest. Though much of what we do supports and equips the faith formation of children and youth, we also seek to support and equip their parents, households, and other adults at Calvary as they grow in the faith God has given to them and called them to pass on to the next generation.