The WELS has formed a quasi-partnership with an ELCA program: http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?2617&collectionID=1147&contentID=57776&shortcutID=20408
Faith stepping stones: It is a reformed program with a dash of WELS flavor added.
Meet the ELCA leader of the stepping stones: http://www.faithink.com/About/richmelheim.asp
ELCA churches love it:
WELS pastors and others that have given consent to this program: http://www.wlcfs.org/aboutUs/boardOfDirectors.asp
And these reformed leaders like it also:
It has evolved from faith inkubators:
Faith Incubators pushes the new Gospel of Social Transformation
“Faith Inkubators” was started by Rev. Rich Melheim (ELCA) who started a mentor-based program at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, MN. By the Fall of 96 over 1000 congregations were experimenting with the program as living laboratories. “The movement currently involves 2/3 ELCA and 1/3 LCMS congregations and has its first UCC, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic test sites.” Yes, “Faith Inkubators” is a pan denominational, globalist, relational, catechism.
“Faith Inkubators” strives for transformation through “PROCESS”. Each child is assigned an adult mentor or “Guide” on their learning, serving, playing, praying, and growing journey. Pastors still teach content but a third of everything is taught through interactive small group learning activities. This writer evaluates the programs as enlisting spiritual guides, values clarification, and spiritual gift assessments. Melheim says he developed the program’s small group structure from Carl George’s Meta Church Model; its philosophy from William Glasser (a secular humanist and an expert in behavior modification); its business sense from MIT’s Peter Senge (author of “The Fifth Discipline”) and his own research. Theological “tips” come from Dr. Pat Keifert of the Leadership Network (www.leadnet.org).
The Leadership Network, who endorses Willow Creek as a model for American Churches of the 21st Century, is also advising the LCMS Council of Presidents on how to restructure congregations and the LCMS.