Education Planning for the Whole Church

by Debbie Gline Allen


“If we are unclear about what it is or what we are looking for in the process, the best we can hope for is to get where we are going part of the time by accident. I would suggest both our people and our God are entitled to expect more of us than that.”  

- Charles F. Melchert

“Chuck” Melchert was a graduate school professor of mine who helped me to form the ways I think about faith formation in the church. He helped me to see that guiding and nurturing people in their faith journeys is not just something that happens by chance. And while the Holy Spirit plays a crucial part in each person’s growth in faith, it is clear that those of us called to minister to others have a responsibility to provide them with the words and experiences that they are ready for, that are accessible to where they are in time, and are within reach of both their comprehension and the stage of faith in which they find themselves.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to share a process with local church leaders to assist them in creating an overall plan for faith formation for all ages in their congregations. This workshop is designed specifically for pastors, church educators, and Christian Education Committee chairpersons, but is open to anyone who is interested in meeting the spiritual needs of today’s children, families, youth, and adults. We are offering this opportunity one more time this program year on Saturday, May 4th at the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Registration is open through May 3rd by clicking here.)

At the end of morning you will have created a strong foundation for spiritual growth through relationships and Christian practices designed for your unique congregation. Through an examination of your church’s context, the focus of ministry you already have, the foundational practices you already engage in, the assistance of those who have gone on before us, and a look at where the Holy Spirit may be leading you, we will form the grounding principles, thoughts, and visions to ensure an effective faith formation ministry.

I hope this description doesn’t sound overly academic and dry, because we will actually have fun while engaging in eye-opening exercises together and sharing our visions for the building up of Christ’s disciples in our midst — both young and old, and in between.

So let us strive to be more intentional about what we offer our congregations as we walk with them on their journeys of faith. 

Debbie Gline Allen is the Associate for Faith Formation & Youth Ministry for the historic Massachusetts Conference. She can be reached at or by calling 508-603-6601.

Debbie Gline Allen

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