Janet Schaeffler OP | Who moved our audience?

Recently one of our RE team attended an online seminar by Janet Schaeffler OP titled Who moved our audience?  Some of the key points shared to us may be of interest to those who are interested in faith formation in their parish, community, group or school….

  • If a congregation is offering opportunities for faith growth for adults and young people then this is a sign of good life in that community.
  • When working with adults be careful to avoid terms that remind them of the old school days that they may not have enjoyed so avoid words like “courses”, “classrooms” etc.
  • Make sure that there is a team of people from your community who are responsible for faith formation – this shouldn’t rely on only one person.
  • Focus first on what is already happening and link new initiatives to that. So if people already come for bible study then add value to that or add something immediately before/after bible study.
  • Listen to what people want and be flexible. We don’t have to do the “seven session” type model.  It could be sharing an article for people to discuss once a month or sharing a piece of scripture or quotation in a weekly newsletter.
  • Make use of technology and media – ask a question to generate conversation.  Share short articles, videos, podcasts, online book studies, support groups, blogs.
  • When working with young people be sure to provide a programme for their parents that reflects the content the young people are learning. Support and nourish families.  Listen to parents to hear what their challenges are and then meet those needs.
  • Watch for unique happenings in everyday culture and use these in your community eg 21 September is International Day of Peace – how can you use this in your own community?
  • Have an integrated plan. Motivate the motivation – give people a really good reason as to why they want to participate.  There must be value for them.
  • Utilise the gifts and talents of your community – don’t rely on paid staff or the same volunteers to do everything.
  • Use Facebook for study – start small and build. Link study to the Facebook chat facility so that people can easily share ideas and have “conversations”.
  • Link faith learning to the situation that the person is going through in their life.   Target specific age groups and groups that have a shared interest.

For those who have an interest in faith formation I hope these notes give you something to ponder.  Blessings – Teresa Mc