The John Roberto Faith Formation conference was held from 22-23 August in Perth and was hosted by the Uniting Church in WA’s First Third team and the Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership (CEDAL) in association with Anglican Youth Ministry and Catholic Youth Ministry. John guided participants through a weekend of building faith formation in their communities – including online. Here’s what some of the attendees thought.
I found the John Roberto seminar something of a surprise – Christian faith formation turned out to contain ideas for jazzing up our websites in order to get more ‘bang for the buck’ for the work we currently do, and to be in touch with people who otherwise may not be part of the church family. For me, the best part of the seminar was planning webpages for particular groups within a congregation by mind-mapping the life issues they face. It’s a new slant on a helpful exercise that my congregation will be able to use again.
John helped us understand that we have to change our operating system. The way in which we used to look at faith formation was that we would produce the resources, which took a long time. We do not have to produce all the materials or resources ourselves and John showed us a wide variety of amazing websites where we could access these resources. All we have to do is link them to our website. Having resources online allows our people to access things at anytime and anywhere. This gives them flexibility to take ownership for their own faith formation and do it in a way that fits in with their lifestyle.
When I first heard of John Roberto and his workshop I felt quite sceptical about it. Would it all be about better marketing our faith and Christian life? I was surprised very positively. I understood that John is an excellent expert in using the media as a tool to link people, to enter in their social network and so to open them up to faith, actually to enable them to get faith formation in our busy, distracting time. The use of the internet is not a goal in itself for him but an indispensable and very valuable way nowadays to reach out and meet the needs of people, to link daily life with faith and to bring people closer to God that they may grow in faith continuously.