Read Chapter Three
"Practices for Forming a Christian Way of Life" for the complete presentation.
In my view, an essential task of education in faith is to teach all the basic practices of the Christian faith. The fundamental aim of Christian education in all its forms, varieties, and settings should be that individuals—and indeed whole communities—learn these practices, be drawn into participation in them, learn to do them with increasingly deepened understanding and skill, learn to extend them more broadly and fully in their own lives and into their world, and learn to correct them, strengthen them, and improve them.
(Craig Dykstra in Growing in the Life of Faith)
The practices of the Christian faith seek to answer the question: How shall we live? Christian practices form the essential content for discipleship and faith growth. Lifelong faith formation guides people in learning basic practices of the Christian faith, participating in them, and living them with increasingly deepened under- standing and skill. We come to faith and grow in faith through the practices of the Christian community. And we learn to live these Christian practices not only through doing them ourselves, but through offering guidance, mentoring, and teaching them to others.
We form people in the practices of the Christian way of life by drawing upon the wisdom of the Bible and Christian tradition, and connecting the practices to the “signs of the times” – the struggles, joys, needs, and hungers of people and communities today, and equipping people with the skills and ways to live the practice in their daily life.
Christian practices include caring for creation, discerning, embracing diversity, finding God in everyday life, practicing forgiveness, healing, honoring the body, keeping Sabbath, praying, working for justice, fostering peace and recon- ciliation, reading the Bible, serving the poor and vulnerable, being generous, giving testimony, and worshipping.
The chapter describes six approaches for developing a Christian practices curriculum: 1) Engage in the Christian Practices of Your Community; 2) Embed Christian Practices into Existing Formation Programs; 3) Develop an Annual or Seasonal Christian Practices Plan; 4) Align Christian Practices with the Lectionary; 5) Connect Christian Practices to Milestones and Life Transitions; and 6) Create Christian Practice Apprenticeships.
The learning process to form people of all ages in a Christian practice, utilized in all of the Christian practice learning programs developed by Lifelong Faith, includes four movements: 1. Reflecting on Our Lives; 2. Exploring the Christian Practice; 3. Experiencing the Christian Practice; and 4. Living the Practice.
Video: Introduction to Formation in Christian Practices
Exploring the theory & practice of formation in Christian practices from the Lifelong Faith book
This video is excerpted from a longer webinar program.
Application: 10 Christian Practice Learning Programs
Each of the ten Christian Practice Learning Programs has a teaching guide and reproducible activities that you can use with age groups, families, and intergenerational groups. Click on the title in the right column to access and download the program.
Review the excellent Books on Christian practices to develop a more in-depth understanding of the practices that can inform your teaching and programming.
Review the additional formation in Christian practices Online Resources with links to programs and activities.
An additional printed resource, Living Well: Christian Practices for Everyday Life (2009), is available for free download. Living Well presents twelve essential practices for a Christian way of life: Caring for the Body, Celebrating Life, Discernment, Dying Well, Eating Well, Forgiving, Keeping Sabbath, Managing Household Life, Participating in Community, Praying, Reading the Bible, and Transforming the World. These are full color chapters that you can download for free. The Living Well Children's Workbook is a companion to the Living Well book. It presents eleven of the Christian practices from the Living Well book through activities, Bible passages, and practical ideas that children can do alone or with their family.
The Practice Caring for the Body
The Practice of Celebrating
The Practice of Discernment
The Practice of Eating Well
The Practice of Forgiveness
The Practice of Keeping Sabbath
The Practice of Managing Household Life
The Practice of Participating in Community
The Practice of Prayer
The Practice of Reading the Bible