Monday, September 26, 2011

Building New Foundations...

A new year has begun for Faith Formation...or as many commonly refer to it...Sunday School. I have been a Catechist (read: Sunday School teacher) since I was 18 years old. As I am now 42, that equals about 100 years.

This year I have a new group of students I have never taught before. Now, I use the word "taught" loosely because I am quite sure I learn just as much from my students as they do from me. I tend to take a different approach to Faith Formation by sharing my journey with them and asking for the same in return. As you may have gathered by now...I tend to march to the beat of a different drum.

Now this class has history. And I'm not just talking history...I'm talking history. Their Catechist last year walked away from his ministry because this group was so trying. So last night we addressed this. Number one...I am not one to give up, so they may as well do it my way conform. We started an ice breaker with some questions and of course they got silly and began to talk over one another. I did not yell (I'm not a yeller by nature...short underdeveloped hobbit-type people don't tend to yell. It is more comical than it is effective.) I just sat there. And I looked at them. Slowly one by one...they stopped talking. And looked back at me. I explained they will get out of this class...and everything else they encounter in life...what they choose to put into it. I would love to tell you they all sprouted halos and became illuminated with heavenly glow. But alas...maybe next week. I will tell you several of them actually paused and really began to dialogue thoughtful, insightful answers.

I shared with them a meditation of stepping outside of the norm and really discerning what influences them. As we talked, they were surprised to realize how much they are influenced by media, music, videos, etc. Interestingly, it was not until the end of the list I heard "parents" or "faith." I challenged them to really pay attention to how they choose to handle themselves in situations this week. What will they allow to influence them? Music stars? Their friends? Their teammates? Their parents? It is not easy to stand away from the crowd and do what they know in their hearts is the students who chose to engage in meaningful dialogue instead of cutting down classmates as they were just moments before.

There are times when we must walk away from the crowd and decide for ourselves what our influences will be. Our new class is on its way. Peter was chosen as the Rock on which to build the foundation of our church. I hope by the end of the year these young adults begin to break away from following the crowd and stand firmly on foundations of their own.

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