"And if this is your final destination, Welcome Home! You're here!"
Thus spoke the cheeky Southwest Airlines flight attendant some years ago when I touched down at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT. It was true and not true. Bradley is my home airport, the place I go to be transported to the places I want to go, and the place I count on to carry me back towards home. But it is not home. It is not my destination.
I was reminded of this recently by Rev. Robin Bartlett, who noted that church, also, is not a destination. It is a place we go to be transformed, to close the gap between what we profess to believe and how we live and act in our daily lives. So it is with our ministries of faith formation. They begin with our children's experiences of Sunday School, but our ministry cannot stop there anymore than our travel can stop at gate 4E at the airport. We've got to bring it the rest of the way home.
"How are you helping families bring our faith home?
" I've asked this question myself over the last year while working on my Fahs Fellowship
project, Full Week Faith
. I've heard echoes of this question in Facebook groups of religious professionals, on blogs, in newsletter columns, and in committee meetings. It's exciting to know that people are really engaging the question and wanting to share their ideas.
It's exciting to know that there is real desire from people of all ages to connect with their faith all week long, and not just on Sunday mornings. Some people want physical reminders of their faith around them at home, and virtual reminders showing up on their Facebook and Twitter feeds. Some crave a mid-week connection to their faith because Sunday mornings just don't work for them -- they cannot make it to worship because of work or sports or various other obligations. Converts to our faith relish opportunities to learn more about us, but in ways less formal than traditional Adult R.E. classes.
Increasingly, our religious professionals are asking themselves and one another, "How are you helping families bring our faith home?" Out of their collective wisdom, new and beautiful experiments are already flowing.
Church is our Spirit's home; the place we go to be
transformed, to be more like the people we aspire to be in the world. It's the place we count on to carry our soul back towards home. But it is not home. It is not our destination, any more than Gate 4E at Bradley. We all must live out in the tired, hungry, broken down, bruised and snowy old world. If we in the church are the gatekeepers, then how do we help our people take what they need home? What goodness shall we stow in their carry-on luggage so they can go out and bless this world?
In Faith, Karen