Faith Formation at WestSide
At WestSide, faith formation is rooted in the belief that the center of faith formation is worship with one’s family, whatever that family looks like, and that faith sticks best when it is shared in community and across generations. The elements of faith formation at WestSide are worship, home, Cross-Gen Nights, confirmation, and service.
Romans 10:17 says, “ So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” In worship, we hear the Good News of Jesus in song, in Bible readings, in preaching, in prayers, in words of forgiveness declared to us, in the promise delivered in the sacraments. God calls us to gather in worship in order to give us God’s promise in Christ. Hearing this promise regularly shapes our faith. So worship is at the center of our shared life together. We also know that attending worship as a household is a main factor in shaping a life-long faith. So, if you do anything at WestSide, we hope it is to attend worship. Worship services at WestSide are geared for multi-generations and include kid talk time, tools to help children engage and be engaged, and a community that expects little voices to be a part of the mix. Services are usually between 45 and 50 minutes long.
Life is not lived at church but at home and so our homes are the primary place where life and faith is nurtured. What does this look like? It looks like bed-time prayers, table grace before meals, thoughtful conversations, and caring for each other. It is intentional family rituals of sharing highs and lows, reading Bible stories, sharing in family prayer, and blessing each other. We’ll give you some of these tools at church to bring home, partnering with families in passing on the faith.
Our lives are cross-generational, shared with people older and younger than us, so we think our faith should be cross-generational, too. From September through November, we get together midweek to learn from the Bible and each other, all together, youngest to oldest, adults, babits, preschoolers, high schoolers, elementary kids, and middle school youth, in small learning groups. Once a month, on the second Wednesday, we gather a bit longer, sharing a meal and more time to connect. Here’s what Wednesday nights look like:
- 5:45 p.m. Meal Time (2nd Wednesday of the month only)
- 6:30 p.m. Cross-Gen Learning
- 7:25 p.m. On your way home to do bedtime, finish homework, watch a show, and get ready for the next day.
At WestSide, we recognize that confirmation is a part of the faith tradition and we appreciate that in our faith formation, we set aside some time to think a little more deeply about some of our faith practices, like the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed, and how our daily life experiences intersect with these faith practices. So, during the time between Christmas and Lent, in January to early February, our midweek time is Confirmation Intensive time, for those 6th grade and older who want to participate. In the fall of a student’s 9th grade year, we will celebrate the milestone of confirmation, in which the congregation confirms and declares again the promise that God spoke in baptism. The time frame will be the same as our Cross-Gen Nights: 6:30-7:25 p.m. on Wednesdays.
We are called and commanded to serve our neighbors and this is not just a call for adults but for all of us. In addition to the ways we serve our neighbors in our daily living, WestSiders get together to serve together at places like Food to You, Kids Against Hunger, and others. These service events are always cross-generational and are hands-on, faith-forming experiences. Watch the calendar for opportunities to serve.