History of The Four Keys

What is the background history of the Four Keys for practicing faith?

  • davidanderson_tnThe concept of the Four Keys comes out of the doctoral work from 1987-1990 of the Rev. Dr. David Anderson. He first wrote publicly about the Four Keys in 1997 inThe Educator, a Lutheran World Federation journal. The article was titled, “Vital Connections in Learning: Home and Congregation in Partnership.” The article not only mentions the Four Keys but also lays out the substance of what would later be called the Five Principles of faith formation. Both the Four Keys and the Five Principles have been written about and used substantively in three of his books:

From the Great Omission to Vibrant Faith (2011)

Vibrant Faith in the Congregation: The Role of the Home in Renewing the Church (2009)

Frogs Without Legs Cant Hear: Nurturing Disciples in Home and Congregation (2003, co-authored with the Rev. Dr. Paul Hill)


  • Much of David Anderson’s work the past 25 years has been with The Youth & Family Institute, renamed Vibrant Faith Ministries, and most recently Vibrant Faith. The Four Keys became a staple item in the organization as part of books, articles, and coaching and training events. The Four Keys have been at the heart of Milestones Ministry as well as used in both Taking Faith Home and Taking God’s Story Home bulletin inserts published yearly.


  • David Anderson has never been possessive of the Four Keys, just delighted that the contribution of the Four Keys has served so many congregations and homes.


We are blessed and honored to have David Anderson on our team at Milestones Ministry.