Most of us have spent a lot of time in school or in training for skills used in our careers or jobs. I have to keep up training to maintain my social work license, and I am constantly finding ways to sharpen my dog training skills through education and practice. Even in my avocations, I look for ways to inform my skills and knowledge.
However, most of us think about formation or Christian education as something we provide for our kids. But if our commitment to our faith is important to us, doesn’t it make sense that we would look for an education in our faith beyond what we learned in Newcomers Class or Sunday School, an education that helps us grown in our faith in ministry, and strengthens us in our life in the world?
That is what Adult Formation is about: creating Christian ministers who bring Christ into the world wherever they live and work; Christian ministers who are literate in their faith.
At Trinity, your stewardship has made many opportunities available for Adult Christian Formation. We have adult Sunday School classes, Crossways Bible class, and other Bible studies throughout the week.
We also have EFM, which I personally think is the best educational program available in the Episcopal Church. EFM (Education for Ministry) is developed and run by the University of the South School of Theology, also known as Sewanee. EFM is not your basic Bible study. It is a community of learning, which looks at how we understand our Christian heritage as it intersects our personal experience, and the world we live in. While EFM uses high-quality texts to examine different understandings of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian Testament, church history and contemporary theology, it does not depend solely on the information learned in the texts. Instead, it encourages us to look at our questions, our concerns, and our strengths, and how they are an integral part of our Christian ministry.
EFM is not for everyone. It does require a commitment of time in study of two-three hours during the week, as well as the 2-½ hours of the seminar session each week. Participants need to be able to seriously commit to the year’s work. EFM is also not for those who hope to get all their questions about our faith answered and tied up in a neat bow. I think that people who participate in EFM are likely to end up with more questions than when they started; but they will be better questions, that will take them deeper into their faith.
In EFM we do not just look at what we are learning and comment on it, we work to grow in our Christian life and work; not just getting more information but developing skills that will help us find Christ and introduce Christ into our world.
We have an EFM group that meets on Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 9:00 PM. If there is enough interest, we will also begin a daytime group in the next several months. Consider what you can and will do to strengthen and inform your Christian ministry, and do it. And thank you so much for your stewardship, which makes it possible for Trinity to build up the body of Christ through adult Christian Formation, including EFM.