Vibrant Faith Ministries is a catalyst for Christian congregations, communities and households striving to practice vibrant faith in a dynamic world.
What does this mean?
- A "catalyst" affects change and the rate of change. We recognize that followers of Jesus need to change their practices and how they organize themselves in order to remain faithful, relevant and life transforming for these times.
- We are "striving" to live a vibrant faith because God's Spirit is never completely done with us. We are always being renewed and called to make a difference in Jesus' name.
- We do this work in a "dynamic world." Everything is rapidly changing around us. There is no longer a "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to faith, so we must serve as curators, dialogue partners, consultants, coaches, cheerleaders and researchers to further the work of God's kingdom.
Our Desired Outcome: Vibrant Faith
We describe people living a vibrant faith as AAA (Authentic, Available and Affirming) Christians.
First of all, these Christians are AUTHENTIC. Their trust in Christ, the values they hold, and the behaviors they exhibit are consistent. Although they are not perfect, authentic Christians are aware of their flaws and know they make mistakes. Most importantly, they trust that God forgives them and gives them a new day, every day, to live their faith. Authentic Christians ask all the hard questions of God and recognize that faith is sometimes a mystery. They worship, do daily devotions and serve others. They are not just Christians on Sunday, but every day.
Second, people who live a vibrant faith are AVAILABLE to others. These authentic people make time, especially for young people. They make it a priority to be with the newer generations without an agenda. They openly listen to the young, support them and pray for and with them. They give of themselves with the gift of their time.
Third, people living a vibrant faith are AFFIRMING of others and the gift of life. People, especially young people, don't always see the abilities and gifts God has given them. Affirming Christians help people see the various ways they can use what God has given them to serve others. Their affirmation is a kind of hospitality and encouragement to young people.
- Catalyzing Christian communities, congregations and families as consultants, coaches, cheerleaders and curators of wise faith formation practices
- Identifying, cultivating and launching emergent and innovative leaders and ministries
- Supporting underserved and multi-cultural ministries for transformation
Our Core Values
- Christian faith is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit through personal trusted relationships.
- The Christian church is a living partnership between the congregation, Christian community and the home.
- Biblically grounded and research-informed faith practices guide the development of faith formation for Christian communities, households and congregations.
- Empowered leaders in homes, congregations and communities transform the world in Jesus' name.
- High quality service is delivered with honesty and integrity.
Our Training Opportunities
Vibrant Faith Ministries believes that training, utilizing the appropriate resources, social networking and the smart use of technology are key to building strong leaders in homes, congregations and communities.
As such, Vibrant Faith Ministries provides you with access to training events, consulting services, resources as well as multiple faith-building websites.
Our organization was born out of tragedy in order to bring hope and faith to life. Dr. Mert and Irene Strommen founded The Youth & Family Institute (our former name) in memory of their son, David. David was a young seminarian and youth worker who was killed by lightening while leading a youth trip in the Colorado mountains. The Youth & Family Institute was founded on January 22, 1987.
The Strommen's vision was to take the best research and academic insight, embed it in the Christian theology of the cross, and instill an evangelical spirit of ministry to help congregations strengthen families and nurture faith. The first home for The Youth & Family Institute, now Vibrant Faith Ministries, was at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One lasting impact that resulted from our being located on this campus was the creation of the first youth and family ministry major at Augsburg.
Gifted and talented leaders nurtured the organization in our early years, including Paula Mott-Becker, Karen Fouks, Dr. Curt and Cathy Paulson, Dr. Chuck Bruning, Pastor Paul Harris and Dr. Roland Martinson. Generous grants from Lutheran Brotherhood helped sustain the organization.
In 1994, the board called Dr. Dick Hardel to serve as the executive director. Dr. Hardel gave creative life to the organization through his writing, speaking and building of a program team. New team members included Dr. David Anderson, developer of the trademark Five Principles and Four Keys for faith formation; Marilyn Sharpe, designer of Milestones Ministries; and Lyle Griner, director of Peer Ministries, plus a host of other associates. Vibrant Faith Ministries became widely known for connecting research to effective ministry practices.
In July 2007, Dr. Paul Hill began serving as the new executive director. Dr. Hill brings expertise in adolescent ministry, boys and men's ministry, adventure education and outdoor ministries.
In 2010, we changed our name to Vibrant Faith Ministries to reflect our renewed focus on all facets of the faith formation process, including organizational structures, leadership development, household practices, long-range planning and execution of strategies, and all the generations in the home and congregation.
In 2011-2012, three new members joined the Vibrant Faith Ministries' team. John Roberto built and launched the Faith Formation Learning Exchange. Leif Kehrwald designed and launched VibrantFaith@Home, the VibrantFaith@Home smart phone app, and VibrantFaith@Home Plus. And, Anna Rendell joined the team as our social media guide and guru.