Designing Faith Formation 2020
Task 6. Designing: Design new initiatives to address the new priority spiritual and religious in each of the four Faith Formation 2020 scenarios.
There are three elements in the design process: (1) inspiration—the need or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions; (2) ideation—the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas; and (3) implementation—the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives. Select the most important life issues and spiritual and religious needs of individuals, age groups, families, generations in each scenario that you want to target for the development of new initiatives in faith formation. You can target one or two scenarios that need the most attention. Use the following process as a guide for designing each new initiative. Repeat this process for each priority need that you have selected.
Step 1. Select a priority need. Select a priority need for a scenario and group of people for your new initiative.
Step 2. Consult the Faith Formation 2020 Strategies. Consult the description of sixteen strategies for Faith Formation 2020 (see "Bringing FF 2020 to Life") for ideas and resources that might apply to the scenario and people you have targeted.
- Faith Formation through the Life of the Whole Church (Scenarios 1 and 4)
- Faith Formation using Digital Media and Web Technologies (All Scenarios)
- Family Faith Formation (Scenarios 1, 2, and 4)
- Intergenerational Faith Formation (Scenarios 1 and 4)
- Generational Faith Formation (Scenarios 1, 2, and 4)
- Milestones Faith Formation (All Scenarios)
- Faith Formation in Christian Practices (All Scenarios)
- Transforming the World: Engagement in and Formation for Service and Mission (All Scenarios)
- Spiritual Formation (All Scenarios)
- Multi-Ethnic Faith Formation (All Scenarios)
- Faith Formation for Spiritual Seekers (Scenario 2)
- Apprenticeships in Discipleship (Scenarios 2 and 4)
- Pathways to Vibrant Faith and Active Engagement (Scenario 2 and 4)
- Faith Formation in Third Place Settings (Scenarios 2 and 3)
- Empowering the Community to Share their Faith (Scenario 1)
- Interfaith Education and Dialogue (Scenario 1)
Step 3. Generate creative ideas. Generate ideas for innovative programs, activities, and/or strategies to provide faith formation. Use one or more of the following creative thinking activities to generate ideas. Before you begin generating ideas, it might be helpful to remind people of the rules of brainstorming:
- Defer judgment.
- Encourage wild ideas.
- Build on the ideas of others.
- Stay focused on one topic.
- Pursue one conversation at a time.
- Go for quantity.
Activity: “What If” You Used Your Imagination. Use imagination to generate ideas. The easiest way to begin is by saying: “I need fresh and novel ideas to solve my challenge. I will suspend all judgment and see what free and easy ideas I can think up. It doesn’t matter how weird or offbeat they are.” Allow your team the freedom to conceptualize without judging ideas in terms of the real world. Ask team members to list as many “what if” statements as they can on post-it notes (for example, “What if we developed a community café to reach people who are spiritual, but not involved in the church community?”). Ask them to complete the “What if…” statement personally, writing one statement per post-it. After several minutes, ask people to place their post-it notes on a sheet of easel paper. Then cluster similar ideas together. When ideas are grouped based on common characteristics or themes, an organization and structure begins to arise from the information. More ideas are generated as people begin to see the structure and fill in the gaps. A sense of priority is often revealed as one or more of the clusters claim the energy and interest of the group. Move on to evaluation.
Activity: Perfect World. In “Perfect World” a group can visualize what the perfect situation would be in five years and then work backwards from that point, identifying where they would need to be at the end of each year. Think about what it would look like if you had the perfect solution to your challenge. In a perfect world what would your idea, program, activity, or resource look like? In a perfect world, cars would never break down, never get dirty, never need gas or oil, never go out of style, and so on. Look at each “perfect” criteria and generate ideas about how to achieve it or use it. One of the benefits of Perfect World is the consensus that is generated when people think about the future. Looking at the possibilities generates excitement and enthusiasm. Generate as many ideas in the time allotted, cluster similar ideas together. Move on to evaluation.
Activity: Brainwriting Sheets: Brainwriting is a simple technique that can be used to break through the group participation barrier in brainstorming and to stimulate the power of divergent thinking. It is basically a way to brainstorm on paper while allowing the anonymous contribution of ideas. Speed and quantity are emphasized and the fear of being judged is reduced by the anonymous input. The brainwriting form is a sheet of paper divided into twenty-one squares (three across and seven down). There should be one more sheet than the number of group members. In a few minutes of brainwriting, a group of six people can easily generate 147 ideas (twenty-one ideas per sheet, seven sheets).
- One sheet per person plus one. Each person receives a brainwriting sheet and one additional sheet is placed in the center of the table where everyone can reach it.
- Three ideas then switch. Each person writes an idea in the three top-most empty boxes and then places the sheet in the center and takes an available sheet and writes three more ideas on that sheet, again in the three top empty boxes.
- List ideas once. The process is continued until all the sheets are filled or until everyone is out of ideas. Have enough blank sheets on hand to keep the process going if there are lots of ideas being generated.
- Bounce. When ideas begin to slow, people should scan the previous ideas and try to bounce off of them or create variations and new directions.
- The sheets can be cut into the idea squares for clustering. The individual ideas are laid out on a table and people can walk around the table looking at the ideas, moving them into categories and removing redundancies. This process generally generates new ideas or variations so someone should be prepared to capture new ideas. Once a structure begins to emerge from the ideas, the idea squares could be taped to sticky notes and placed on a large piece of paper for selecting the one or more priority ideas. Move on to evaluation.
Activity: “How Might We?” Brainstorm responses to the question: “How Might We?” Distribute sticky notes and pens/markers to everyone on the team. Ask them to start their opportunity statements with “How Might We…” and abbreviate on post-its to “HMW.” Go for quantity, not quality at this point. Post all of the ideas on sheets of easel paper. Together as a group select three to five HMW opportunity statements through discussion or the use of voting (see below). You might want to cluster HMW statements before discussion and voting. After selecting the three to five HMW statements, write each of the selected statements on a separate sheet of easel paper and brainstorm ideas for turning the opportunity into a practical project. Cluster similar ideas and select the best ideas for each HMW statement. Move on to evaluation.
Step 4. Evaluate the ideas. Evaluate your ideas and select one or more innovative programs, activities, and/or strategies for your target audience. The group can discuss the ideas to see which surface as the best choice(s) or you can use a voting strategy to select ideas. In “dot voting” each person receives a colored sticky dot (usually five) to use in indicating their preference for an idea. The ideas are listed on a sheet of easel paper. People can distribute their dots however they choose—from giving the five best ideas one dot each or using all five votes on the one idea they strongly endorse. Tally the votes and discuss and confirm the one or more ideas that have emerged as priorities that you want to translate into projects.
Step 5. Design an implementation plan. Describe, in detail, each of your new initiatives (strategy, program, activity, or resource). Develop a plan for each initiative by developing the actions that you will need to take to move from idea to implementation. Use the design worksheet on Tool #7.
- How many of the six faith formation models will be utilized?
- What are the dates and times?
- What is the location: physical/facility and/or online/website?
- What are the implementation steps and target dates (timeline) for completing each step?
- What resources will you need to implement the initiative?
- How much will the initiative cost?
- How many leaders will you need to implement the initiative, how you will find them, and how you will prepare them?
Step 6. Implement the initiative through small scale prototyping. Consider a version 1.0 pilot effort (prototyping) of the program, activity, strategy, or resource with a small group of your target audience before scaling-up the initiative to reach a wider audience. Through prototyping, you can test the initiative and the implementation plan, get feedback from your target audience, improve the initiative, and then develop plans to reach a wider audience.
Step 7. Implement the initiative with a wider audience and continue evaluation and improvements. After making adjustments based on the pilot, develop version 2.0 and implement the plan with a wider audience. Use the marketing suggestions on Tool #9 to assist you in promoting the initiative to a wider audience. Continue to improve the initiative. Communicate the stories and examples of the benefits and blessings that are coming to individuals, groups, families, and to your whole church community. Continue to reach new audiences.
Continue with Tasks 7-9