Introduction

Many people lack the vocabulary to talk about their faith. The Building Blocks of Faith provide the everyday words to have conversations about your congregation’s faith culture. Using these questions, take a look at your church’s ministries, everyday activities, and programs and describe how they fit in your congregation’s faith formation ministry.
Conversations about using Building Blocks in your church could actually be a faith forming event! Spending time with these questions is beneficial for a congregation to reflect on God’s faithfulness and on each person’s place in the church.

Ideas for using these questions

  • The four Building Blocks can be used for a four-week sermon series, supplemented with questions that can be discussed at home, in small groups, or at the beginning of ministry team meetings (for example, the first 20 minutes of a council meeting could be used to reflect on the character of belonging in our congregation).
  • These questions can be fleshed out into one-hour small group sessions.
  • Ministry teams can use these questions for discussions that serve three purposes: (1) reflecting on the personal experiences of the team members, (2) reflecting on the ways a specific ministry strengthens capacity for the Building Blocks of Faith to grow in their church, and (3) suggesting adjustments that might enhance this capacity further.

There are more questions here than can be meaningfully discussed in one session. The convener (alone or with others) will need to discern which questions to focus on.

Questions

  1. What blessings do you long to see your congregation receive through working with the Building Blocks of Faith? (Address this briefly, one sentence per person, going around the table, as a type of “icebreaker” question.)

  2. Reflect on the instructions and questions listed for each Building Block below. Take your time.

    I Belong
    • Describe times when you felt that you belonged to God or to this congregation.
    • Identify barriers for people in your congregation and for visitors in recognizing that they belong to God and this congregation.
    • What are this congregation’s dreams for belonging for the future? List three specific ways in which you would like people in this congregation, as well as visitors, to experience belonging in this church.

    I Know and Understand
    • Describe how you came to know God and God’s stories.
    • Identify barriers for people in your congregation and for visitors to know more about God and God’s stories.
    • What are this congregation’s dreams for knowing God? List three specific ways in which you would like people in this congregation, as well as visitors, to know God and God’s stories more fully.

    I Have Hope
    • Describe times when God brought you hope.
    • Identify barriers for people in your congregation and for visitors to be reminded of and experience hope.
    • What are this congregation’s dreams for hope? List three specific ways in which you would like people in this congregation, as well as visitors, to see God’s hope.

    I Am Called and Equipped
    • Describe times when this congregation was encouraged to think about their calling and equipping for service in God’s kingdom.
    • Identify barriers for people in your congregation and for visitors to recognize that they have been called and equipped to work in the kingdom.
    • What are this congregation’s dreams for people to respond to God’s call and equipping in their lives? List three specific ways in which you would like people in this congregation to recognize that they have been called and equipped to work for the kingdom.

  3. What have you discovered in this time of sharing? You might reflect in terms of some of these categories: your own faith, the role of community/church, what the Building Blocks reveal about the character of faith, or what you learned about your vocabulary or language for describing faith stories.

  4. What did you learn about the connections (or lack thereof) between the stories you heard and the church’s ministry programs?

  5. The Building Blocks Chart invites us to think about how the Building Blocks relate to different age groups. This chart could be drawn up in other ways too—for example, to discern how the Building Blocks are experienced by people who are grieving, by families who have experienced loss, by newcomers to your community, by people with disabilities, by those struggling with mental health issues, by ethnic minorities, and so on. Keep in mind the fluidity of the chart as you continue reflecting.

    The Building Blocks are present in some way in every dimension of congregational life. It's probably not wise to try to address every dimension at the same time. Which of these areas do you think your church would benefit from addressing first?

    • worship/preaching
    • elder and other pastoral visits, or other kinds of visits (e.g., mentoring)
    • family discipleship
    • children's and youth ministry
    • outreach, diaconal care, service projects, seeking justice, evangelism
    • special congregational events (retreats, social events)
    • seniors ministry
    • intergenerational ministry and events
    • ministry to the marginalized (perhaps including some of the people described in the introduction to this question)
    • others?

  6. New initiatives in congregations require extensive, intentional communication through a variety of channels during the entire year. How will you communicate the Building Blocks of Faith concept to the congregation? Who needs to be informed? Who else should be a part of this discussion? Brainstorm together.