Evangelism: It’s not about church, it’s about love | Highlights from the 2019 Forma Conference

Photo: The congregation for opening worship at the 2019 Forma Conference, Formed to Proclaim, in Indianapolis. Image via Forma on Facebook.

Have you heard about Forma: The Network for Christian Formation?

Forma is a membership organization within the Episcopal Church that equips leaders in Christian formation. Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent attended Forma’s annual conference last week and brought back some of her highlights:

It was a privilege and a joy to attend the 2019 FORMA conference in Indianapolis this year. Even though the temperatures were freezing, the atmosphere was warm—and at times on fire with passion, commitment, and new ideas.

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers kicked off the conference with a keynote address about the connections between the Jesus Movement, the Way of Love, and evangelism and formation. “Our aim isn’t getting people to affiliate [with a church],” she said. “It’s to invite people into a relationship of love.” She pointed to this white paper on the spiritual lives of Episcopalians that the diocesan staff have been reading. You can watch her address here.

“Our aim isn’t getting people to affiliate [with a church]. It’s to invite people into a relationship of love.”—The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Stewardship of Creation

Dr. Catherine Meeks was the preacher (watch here) for the opening conference Eucharist which was celebrated in both English and Spanish. You’ll remember Meeks, the executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, from our diocesan Ministry Fair last spring. “The day has come for us to get down the core,” she preached, reminding us that “God might be calling us to something contrary.” She urged us all to be “one shade braver” in our conversations and in our lives and shared the poem “Second Life” by David Whyte.

Along the way, we heard more presenters and attended workshops, had large-group and small-group discussions and talked about a million ideas and dreams.

Here are some resources I learned about that I encourage you to check out:



This is a GREAT video resource that combines an instructed Eucharist with the old VH1 “pop-up videos.” Read how this project came to be here; it’s a great story about call, faith, risk-taking, and being willing to fail. You can get the video here. It would make a GREAT conversation starter for folks in your parish. It’s a FREE resource!

Healing Racism

“A Girl Like Me.” Kiri Davis, a 17-year-old Harlem student, recreates the famous doll experiment of the 1940’s by psychologist Dr. Kenneth Clark. This video gives a glimpse of what it means to be a girl of color in America.

Plus: White Like Me: Tim Wise, an anti-racist writer, educator, and activist, talks about white privilege in America. There are many links on Youtube to his talks. 

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on the Eucharist

Don’t miss this great video by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry about the Eucharist.

Leadership: Start with Why

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership—starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”

Also check out:

Traveling the Way of Love

Join host Chris Sikkema of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Communications as he journeys across The Episcopal Church in search of stories of the ways people in the church are engaged in the seven practices which encompass the Way of Love. The first episode is out today!

You can sign up to be notified when each new episode is released.


I love “No Longer Strangers: Exploring Immigration Issues,” a free curriculum from Forward Movement.

Here’s even more resources to teach about immigration.


Here’s two books I think will be a great help for parish leaders!

  • The Episcopal Church Foundation’s Finance Resource Guide: How we handle money in our congregations speaks louder about our mission than any mission statement. Coming soon!
  • Speaking Our Faith: Equipping the Next Generations to Tell the Old, Old Story by Kit Carlson: In a rapidly changing religious landscape, the structures of Christendom which once almost automatically instilled faith in generation after generation of believers are gone. For faithful Episcopalians, it has become essential to learn how to “”tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.”

Please let me know if you use any of these resources. I’d love to hear what you think!

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