Book Review: Faith Forming Faith by Paul E. Hoffman

What would the church, or the world for that matter, be like if we were to follow in the original teachings and faith formation of the founders of the church?

Paul Hoffman brings this question to the forefront as he examines the adult catechumen and the effect that it can have on a congregation from various perspectives with some great real life stories do backup the practice that he started in his congregation in Seattle. I had the opportunity to attend a three-day workshop with Hoffman and his heart his truly in the right place as he seeks to bring people not just closer to God but to others in relationship as they not only enter as members into a congregation, but also as they commit to the Way in which the earliest disciples followed.

If you want a specific how-to guide, this book will not answer your questions. It will point you in a direction that can have a positive impact on those in your congregation and those that are looking for an authentic community in which to live out their calling as people of God.

This has some meat to it, unlike the typical new members classes that we do as a church that really fail at getting people into a deeper relationship with one another and building a connection within the church. I have done some of these new member classes only to see people fail to make a connection and leave after a short time. Everything must start with a relationship and I believe Hoffman presents a completely open process that leads people to a deeper relationship with one another (especially a mentor that they are give). The appendix does point towards some starting points and provides an entry for congregations and its leaders to enter into a discussion of what it means to follow The Way. There is a commitment required that truly connects the person to the process and they must be willing to be a part of it. While all types of people are in a given community, the ones that are committed and willing to give of themselves are the ones that play a vital role in the future of an congregation.

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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