Saturday, April 24, 2010

Faith Formation 2020

Back in my public health days, the big document was "Healthy People 2000."  Currently, the big document in that field is "Healthy People 2020." 

In a nutshell, every ten years a report is produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding national health, and objectives for health promotion are thusly set.  These objectives guide national and local health programs and their funding. 

Having written grant proposals and run programs related to the "Healthy People" reports, you can imagine that a few months ago when someone told me about "Faith Formation 2020," I tuned in.  Sounded familiar.

So let's have a look. 

This is the webpage for Faith Formation 2020:  Being religious in nature, unlike "Healthy People," "Faith Formation" is of course not a government project but the project of a private organization called Lifelong Faith Associates.  I haven't yet been able to locate a lot of information about the organization: who funds it, what kind of governance structure it has, whether or not it is for-profit, how it conducts its research, and so forth.  Then again, I haven't looked very deep.  If you find the info, please do post it.

I do know that "Faith Formation 2020" is generating a little buzz, at least in the UU world, though it is unclear how much of that is at the association level and how much is trickling down to the congregational level.  The basic premise is that there are some important cultural trends at play in our society, and that these trends will directly and significantly impact the future of religion in the United States. 

Also unlike "Healthy People 2020," "Faith Formation 2020" is not providing firm objectives/goals yet for faith development.  The organization is still calling the project a "working paper" and a "first draft."  Still, there is some indication from the documents to date of the recommendations to come.  I'm interested in what other folks think.  Personally, I am not sure the nails are being hit on the head yet, though there are some compelling ideas to start the conversation.

You can take a survey for the working paper here:, though it is unclear to me how this data will provide empirical value.  What I like about the survey is that it is, as far as I can tell, the first glimpse at what could be coming down the pike in terms of recommendations or objectives.

There is a Lifelong Faith journal that I understand is recommended, though you'll have to pony up for it.  I have not yet done so.

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