Faith Formation 4.0

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Faith Formation 4.0

Evangelization and Faith Formation are Two Sides of the Same Coin
  • Proclaiming the Gospel and Making Disciples occurs throughout our life
  • Ideally the church supports (and intentionally directs) it
  • Faith Formation requires an Ecological View
    • All of life Fashions and Forms Us
    • Different Contexts -> Different Experiences -> Different Assumptions -> Different Conclusions

Four Eras of Human Communications have influenced our contexts – and Us!
  • Oral:
    • Story-Keeping, Story-Sharing, Story-Making
    • Stories in our DNA!
  • Written:
    • First written forms about 830 BCE
    • Paul’s Letters ~ 52 CE
    • Catacomb drawings/paintings ~ 3rd CE
    • Medieval Hand lettered manuscripts
  • Mass Media Print and Electronic:
    • 1450 CE Gutenberg’s Press – Systemic mechanization with interchangeable parts
      • The Scripture Language Report, published by the United Bible Societies, uses data from the Brazil Bible Society to show that at the end of 2011 there were records of 2,538 different languages with published Biblical text: 1,240 New Testaments, 823 Bible Portions, and 475 full Bibles .
    • 1847 Telegraph – “What Hath God Wrought?”
    • 1890s Radio
      • According to Hal Erickson (Religious Radio and Television in the United States, 1921-1991: The Programs and Personalities, 1992), a Westinghouse engineer who sang in his church choir helped Pittsburgh’s KDKA offer Calvary Episcopal Church’s Sunday Evening Prayer service as the first American religious broadcast in 1921.
      • Between 1923 and 1925, the number of religious organizations holding radio licenses climbed from 12 to 63, and the Federation of Churches (representing mainstream Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Jewish interests as the National Broadcast Company [NBC] Religious Advisory Council) assured that religious groups would receive free or sustaining network time for their productions when NBC debuted as a coast-to-coast network of radio stations in 1927.
    • 1920s Television
      • By the 1950s, the National Council of Catholic Men, the Jewish Seminary of America and the Federation Council of Churches of Christ (now the NCCC) created the “heyday” of religious television programming when they worked with television networks to produce prime time programming that took advantage of both sight and sound. What had originated as more a sermon-oriented presentation (consider Fulton Sheen’s The Catholic Hour) by the more liberal churches, evolved into more radical and experimental forms of drama, music, and dance, and some of the most potent political statements on television.
      • More conservative religious groups who felt “squeezed out” of radio and television by their more liberal counterparts were willing to pay for airtime. Motivated by both the income paid-time programming produced as well as the entertainment values incorporated in this type of programming, broadcasters began to shift their scheduling priorities to accept ‘paid-time’ programs. In 1957, only 47% of religious broadcasting was paid time; by 1978, 92% of inspirational programming was bought!
    • 1957 Sputnik – opened the airwaves to satellite distribution and cable networking
  • Interactive – Digital Media and Social Networking:
    • 1876   Telephone
    • 1940s First Programmable Computer
    • 1957   DoD Advanced Research Projects/ARPAnet
    • 1991   Internet
    • 2001  Blogs
    • 2004  Facebook, Google…
 sermon-on-the-mount_04 ORAL MEDIA: Storyteller(s)CHARACTERISTICS:

  • RANGE: One-to-One to Many-to-Many
  • Personal, Relational, Local
  • Hearers become part of the story – embodiment
  • Elastic – adapt to context


 scribe WRITTEN MEDIA: Unique artifact/object that transmits message – text, icons, paintings, structures, sculptures, etc

  • Separate knower -known
  • ->Opportunity for analysis, critique, introspection, self-examination
  • Durable, depending on medium
  • Portable, depending on medium -> Message shared more widely
  • Changed what thought & how thought occurs



 PrintingPress MASS MEDIA – Mass distribution of images, thoughts, ideas

  • PRINT–broadsheets, books, tracts, etc
  • ELECTRONIC – radio, TV, satellite


  • One-to-many – Controlled
  • Standardization – same message to diverse audience
  • Uses Vernacular, colloquial
  • Multisensory, dramatic, immersive

Introduction of popular culture

Prioritize uniformity/exact explicability

PRINT – Truth from the BOOK


 digital INTERACTIVE MEDIA: Bytes enable active, multidirectional sending/receiving of voice, video and data

  • Many-to-many
  • Open, dynamic, participatory
  • Designed to give Immediate and constant access to information and people
  • Customizable/individualized
  • Global/local connectivity


TRUTH from CONTEXT (Search for authenticity)

How Should We Connect with Seekers and Saints??

ASSUMPTION: Media Provide Numerous Ways to Connect with and Form Seekers and Saints
CHALLENGES:  There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution

  • Diverse needs and backgrounds of our “audience”
  • Characteristics of each medium

START WITH: Who are We Trying to Reach?*

  • GI– born 1901-1924 (87+) (Pew – 75+)
  • Silent – born 1925-1942  (69-86) (Pew – 66-74)
  • Boomers– born 1943-1960 (51-68) (Pew – Older Boomers 57-65; Younger Boomers 47-56)
  • Thirteenth (also called Gen X) – born 1961-1981 (30-50)(Pew – Gen X 35-46)
  • Millennials (also called Gen Y, GeNext)  – born 1982-2002  (9-29) (Pew – 18-34)

* William Strauss & Neil Howe (Generations, 1992) Howe and Strauss do not continue naming generations.  Some refer to the current birth cohort as Gen Z or the Internet Generation.  Author Marc Prensky calls them “Digital Natives” inferring that the rest are “Digital Immigrants.”

–Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory

The microsystem: the immediate environment, the settings where people experience their daily lives. It includes relationships with each parent, siblings, the extended family, peers/friends and other adults. The influence of the microsystem comes from direct interactions with the immediate environment. The adolescent is an active agent in the microsystem.

The mesosystem: the network of interconnections between the various microsystems. An example is a teenager who is experiencing abusive treatment from parents may become difficult to handle in relationships with teachers.

The exosystem: the societal institutions that have indirect but potentially important influences on development. These institutions include schools, religious institutions and media.

The macrosystem: the broad system of cultural beliefs and values and the economic and govern-mental systems that are built on those beliefs and values. These beliefs include laws, customs, etc.

The chronosystem: the changes that occur in developmental circumstances over time, both with respect to individual development and historical changes.

REMEMBER: Message -> Method -> Then MEDIA