Pastor Sue and I recently went to a workshop called “Do What Matters”. The workshop was about the current state of faith formation in the church, what the research is finding, and what that means for what we are doing. It was a really great workshop!
One topic in particular that was stressed throughout the workshop was the importance of relationships. This is not new information for most of us. “Faith is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit through personal, trusted relationships.” That is one of Vibrant Faith’s Five Principles for Passing on Faith. But due to some recent events, on my drive home from the workshop, I really dwelled on that topic. I thought about all of the relationships in my life that impacted my faith.
From my early childhood, I thought about Mavis, the elderly lady from my home church who always made me laugh and made me feel important and welcome. I also think about the other countless adults who would treat me as a child of their own, picking me up from the floor in church after I would crawl three pews away from my parents.
From my middle school and high school years I think about my friend Chris who would talk about his faith with me and encourage me in mine. I also think about my aunt Tina and uncle Aaron who modeled their faith in their everyday lives.
From my college and young adult years I think about my campus pastor, PC (Pastor Carl), who listened to me as I wrestled with tough questions, provided me with words of advice and things to think about, and encouraged me to use my gifts and talents for ministry. I think about my group of close friends that shared in laughter, tears, and joy while we tried to figure out what our lives were going to be.
And throughout all of that, I think about my parents and my brother. My parents showed me that God and faith was important to them. They taught me how to live and practice my faith (and they still do). And my brother was learning with me every step of the way.
We all have a “cloud of witnesses”, “faith circle”, “faith web”, or whatever phrase we want to use. We have people of all ages and stages that impact our faith lives at various times. Who are the people that have made (or are making) an impact on your life? Who’s faith might you be impacting? Take some time to think answer those questions for yourself.