Our 2016-17 Faith Formation theme at Living Springs Lutheran Church, Columbia, SC was G.I.F.T or Growing In Faith Together using the bible verse from 2 Thessalonians 1:3b, “….because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing!” We began living out this theme on Rally Day with a Cross+Generation experience using FAITH5 from Dr. Rich Melheim, where we gathered in small groups of varying ages to SHARE our highs and lows, READ scripture, TALK about how the scripture impacted our highs and lows, PRAY for one another, and then BLESS one another. We continued this cross+generation experience on the first Sunday of each subsequent month and people of all generations began reading the bible together and praying for another every month. It really opened the eyes of all that the Body of Christ truly includes all ages.
So when the excitement started building around the Reformation Anniversary in January 2017, Living Springs Lutheran staff thought of doing a cross+generation experience covering all aspects of the Small Catechism. These conversations also then flowed over into our Worship and Music discussions on incorporating the Small Catechism into worship. What a blessing all of this dialogue was because we created an outline or plan that would work in our worship and faith formation settings.
Beginning January 8, 2017 and each Sunday thereafter until Christ the King Sunday, November 26, we read aloud together in worship the Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, Sacrament of Baptism, Confession, Morning and Evening Blessings, Table Blessings, Sacrament of Holy Communion, and the Lord’s Prayer, followed by each of the meanings written by Luther. We read either from the purchased Small Catechism books, the Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) resource, or from our free apps on our devices. So the question remained: on the first Sunday of each month, then, how might we expound upon this and create a unique way during our faith formation hour to engage participants in a cross+generation experience that is educational and fun, life-giving and relational all at the same time? We decided upon “Reformation Jeopardy” and much learning and laughter has been had by all!
On the first Sunday of each month, “Alexa Trebeck” (aka Deacon Lexanne Graves wearing glasses at left) creates a Reformation Jeopardy game, using a free PowerPoint resource found online, complete with witty topics, Small Catechism answers, and that unforgettable, yet sometimes annoying, jeopardy song! We divided up all of our participants into three teams (for the Holy Trinity) and we had prizes at the end of the game for each team. In true Luther fashion though, we pointed out that scripture reminds us that “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first”, Matthew 20:16. So, the point was not necessarily to get the most points or win a prize; rather, the point was to get people reading, talking and asking questions (literally in the form of a question) about the many facets of our Lutheran faith based in the Small Catechism. It was review for some; it was knowledge for others.
Living into this outline of reading the Small Catechism each Sunday in worship and participating in an engaging game, our participants have truly had moments of Growing In Faith Together during this the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation!