The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has a vision for lifelong faith formation that is grounded in Biblical stories and which has four central components: Spiritual Practices, Respectful Relationships, Guided Learning, and Faith-filled Service.

Spiritual Practices are activities undertaken with intentional awareness of the presence of the Holy. Individuals and communities use these practices to revere and rest in the mystery of the Divine. Used repeatedly, they foster a habit of attention to oneself, God, and neighbor.

Respectful Relationships can be formed with family, friends, church staff, lay mentors, spiritual directors, and coaches. Healthy relationships always include trust, listening, challenge, compassion, and commitment to one another. Each person’s location on their faith journey (e.g., wilderness or mountaintop) guides the interactions.

Guided Learning happens when we visit and revisit Biblical stories, or hear and share each other’s faith stories, with a sense of wonder and discovery. Guided learning is not simply about garnering knowledge, but also about wrestling with how to live faithfully each day.

Faith-filled Service recognizes the need to act on behalf of one’s beliefs. Whether or not the work is done outwardly in Jesus’ name, the faith underlying the service makes it a demonstration of love for God and neighbor.

Download a copy of ELCA Recommended Practices for Lifelong Faith Formation here.

Pastor Dan Fugate serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Discipleship in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod. He stands ready to partner with you and your congregation to help you develop a clear plan for faith formation and provide resources necessary to help your members grow in faith. Faith formation resources, networking opportunities with other congregations and leaders, planning, training, and support are some of the ways he can assist. Contact Pastor Fugate at [email protected] or by phone at 317.253.3522.