Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is passionate about helping congregations bear witness to life-transforming faith in Jesus Christ. We are committed to broadening the definition of how faith is formed in believers. In many congregations, discipleship is defined by one or more educational “program” of the church, i.e. Sunday school or small groups. While specific educational ministries are essential to disciple-making efforts, we believe every aspect of congregational life has potential to grow and mature disciples for Jesus Christ—including worshipping God, practicing disciplines of the Christian faith, engaging in missions and reflecting on experiences, serving the least of these, extending Christian hospitality, engaging in advocacy efforts, working for peace and justice, etc.
Expanding our understanding of spiritual (or faith) formation is helpful. Consider CBF’s definition of spiritual formation:
Spiritual formation is the process of being formed (shaped, molded) in the image of Christ by the gracious working of God’s Spirit for the transformation of the world.
To live into this definition, congregations take seriously the task of helping people change to become more like Jesus Christ. As people remain open to being changed by God, they begin to invest in what is most important to God: renewal and transformation of the world. An authentic Christian is constantly being changed, not for personal gain, but for the sake of others. Maturing faith naturally leads to sacrificial service in God’s kingdom.
We use the word FORMATION because God desires to fashion and form the whole person (heart, head, hands, and will) into Christ’s image. Allowing God to influence us in holistic ways demands we release control to God—the One who does the molding and shaping. Effective educational ministry in congregations creates contexts in which faith can be awakened, supported, and challenged in appropriate ways as people journey through stages of life.
CBFVA is here to assist your congregation’s journey to discover what it means to form faith in Jesus Christ for the sake of others.