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How to build lifelong faith

Large family with people of all ages

In a new cohort beginning January 10, John Roberto will guide church leaders in envisioning and implementing a lifelong faith formation plan.

“Lifelong learning is the new normal [in our society today]. It is the recognition that learning never stops as we mature and age,” author and educator John Roberto says.

Book cover
John Roberto’s Lifelong Faith provides a blueprint for Christian formation that forms disciples of all ages and transforms church communities. ~ cover image courtesy publisher

For those of us in the church, continues Roberto, it’s important to understand that faith matures over a lifetime, and therefore, discipleship and learning are lifelong endeavors. And we must be aware of the spiritual needs and challenges to address at each stage of life.

Beginning on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, Roberto will facilitate a brand-new Lifelong Faith Formation Cohort sponsored by the Michigan Conference via Zoom. The cohort is designed to guide churches in envisioning and implementing a lifelong faith formation plan. John Roberto will walk participants through different models and approaches, building blocks for a plan, and resources for capacity building.

Cohorts offer church leaders regular meetings with others in similar positions or interests. These small groups have profoundly impacted leaders in Michigan and beyond through a sense of community and mutual support. The Michigan Conference is launching a series of new cohorts in 2024, with several focusing on faith formation.

This cohort will meet once a month, January through June, on Wednesdays at 10 am Eastern / 9 am Central. The registration fee for those from Michigan United Methodist churches is $225 (church teams only pay one fee), but scholarships are available for those needing financial assistance. Please contact Rev. Kathy Pittenger at [email protected] for scholarship information.

In the weekly cohort meetings, Roberto will use principles outlined in his most recent book, Lifelong Faith: Formation for All Ages and Generations (click to read a sample from the book). Each participant in the cohort will receive a copy of the book. Roberto will help churches design and create a three-year faith formation plan for all ages.

Last summer, thirteen faith formation leaders representing eight United Methodist churches from the Michigan Conference attended the Faith for a Lifetime Symposium outside Chicago, an event sponsored by Roberto and his Lifelong Faith Associates organization.

The two-day symposium focused on how to build a culture of lifelong faith growth in today’s world. The event gave the thirteen leaders from the Michigan Conference an excellent opportunity for professional development and networking with other faith leaders.

Those who join the Lifelong Faith Formation Cohort will be blessed by Roberto’s leadership and experience. Samantha Carroll, Director of Discipleship and Communications at Eaton Rapids: First United Methodist Church, feels the training Roberto provides has impacted her ministry:

Being a Discipleship Director, my job is to focus on all age groups across a lifetime. In my opinion, there are lots of resources for discipling children and youth. But I found that the task of discipling past high school was going to be more of a challenge. I am so thankful that I attended the symposium at the time that I did. I was able to see how faith can be woven into experiences and situations that span a lifetime and can meet the needs of all stages of faith development. John Roberto’s information helped me start thinking about how I could practically go back and take on this idea and begin to work intergenerational experiences into the moments that were already happening at our church.

Michigan United Methodist leaders can join the upcoming Lifelong Faith Formation Cohort beginning January 10, 2023, and begin to put together a plan that fits their context and reaches the people in their faith community. Click here to register.

Last Updated on December 19, 2023

The Michigan Conference