Original Research - Special Collection: Festschrift for Prof Stephan Joubert

The Bible, faith formation and a virus – Exploring the influence of a pandemic on faith formation content and practices for children and teenagers

Lyzette Hoffman
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6512 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6512 | © 2021 Lyzette Hoffman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 January 2021 | Published: 26 May 2021

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Lyzette Hoffman, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has posed different kinds of challenges to society and churches over the past months. With various ‘normal ministry practices’ not permitted under lockdown regulations, as well as people starting to fear the effect of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a sense of crisis can easily prevail. However, a small congregation in Bloemfontein, South Africa, responded by engaging their children and teenagers through reflection, content and outreach. Various methods, including virtual and face to face, were utilised to minister to and with children and teenagers. This response can now be analysed to find answers to the following questions: How did the pandemic influence specific methods chosen for faith formation? What made it different from ‘ministry as usual’? What role did the Bible play in the methods and content used? Within the framework of the qualitative research, reflective practice from a hermeneutic perspective was utilised as theoretical approach to analyse the response of the pastors and Sunday school teachers. Reflection occurs on three levels, namely, technical (efficiency and effectiveness), practical (goals and consequences) and critical (analysis of one’s practice within wider contexts). A literature study was also conducted on the influence of a pandemic on faith formation. Recommendations were made regarding different ways to engage with children and teenagers and involving them in ministry.

Contribution: This research contributes to knowledge as to how and why pastors and congregations react the way they do in a pandemic and how this impacts upon faith formation among children and youth in the faith community.


Keywords

faith formation; reflective practice; pandemic; Bible; virtual.

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