As if leading Christian formation wasn’t challenging enough, today’s ordained and lay formation ministers face the extra challenge of navigating the digital world with their youth. Is there a place for Jesus on Instagram? How do I (as a formation practitioner) help kids build positive Christian identity in a digital world that doesn’t share their values? Where are the limits? What does the law say? Please Lord, how do I get them to put down their phones?
I’m excited to talk about these questions and more when I present and facilitate a discussion at the e-Formation conference at Virginia Theological Seminary in June. This conference is jam packed with amazing speakers and sessions to guide those who work in the church to harness the power of the digital world to communicate, collaborate, and shape our hearts and minds as the body of Christ.
I am beyond honored to be on the docket to present workshops on Wednesday, June 3rd. (Picture me as Wayne and Garth in full on “We’re Not Worthy” mode.)
I pray that my experience as a teacher and student of all things digital and adolescent will allow me to impart practical and inspiring info and resources for the conference attendees. YOU should come to e-Formation 2015!! (See below!)
Q: What is e-Formation?
A: A learning community for ministry in a digital world, convened by the Center for the Ministry of Teachingat Virginia Theological Seminary.
Q: Why should technology matter to churches?
A: Because digital media are helping churches reach out to their neighborhoods and strengthen the ties among their members. Because technology is helping individual Christians explore and deepen their faith outside of Sunday morning. Because the Spirit of God is with us wherever we go (Psalm 139). Because Christ has no online presence but yours.
Q: What is e-Formation 2015?
A: This year’s big e-Formation gathering—150 or so ministry practitioners sharing hands-on training and big-picture inspiration. You can check out this year’s program here.
Speakers include author Keith Anderson, Augsburg Fortress CEO Beth Lewis, Scott Gunn of Forward Movement, Anthony Guillén and Jake Dell from the Episcopal Church Center staff, and so many more.
Q: Tell me about the cost, location, etc.
A: The event takes place June 1-3 on the campus of Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, just a few miles from Washington DC’s Reagan National Airport. Limited on-campus housing is still available for the evenings of May 31 through June 3. The cost of attending the full conference is $279, and online registration is available here.
Q: Is there somewhere I can get a taste of last year’s event?
A: Absolutely. Our #eform14 Pinterest board contains links to workshop materials and recordings from last year, and there are photos on RebelMouse and Flickr. You can also read our summary here, or check out blog posts from participants Chris Yaw and Nurya Love Parish.
Q: What if I can’t afford the time and expense of attending?
A: For just $79, you can purchase webinar access to the conference for simultaneous participation with a lively online audience and/or later streaming of recorded workshops and plenaries. For $99, you can purchase a single-day pass. And students can take advantage of our discounted registration price of $167. Find more information on the registration and webinar accesspages.
Q: Are there opportunities for training in Spanish?
A: Yes, absolutely. In partnership with the Episcopal Church Latino/Hispanic Ministries office, we are thrilled to offer an evening program in Spanish corresponding to each day’s conference theme (Monday: congregational growth and development; Tuesday: tools/skills bootcamp; Wednesday: faith formation and learning).
Participants can attend in person or online via Zoom at prices designed to be affordable for everyone. Simultaneous interpretation will also be available at the conference for the plenaries and a small selection of workshops. Learn more about e-Formation en español here.
Q: OK, so why should I come to e-Formation?
A: Come learn how to harness the power of digital media for good not evil! Gain insight on the realities of kids online life. Plus, I tell funny stories and even sometimes break into song.