Our faith is constantly in formation. It can be formed intentionally through engagement with various spiritual practices: worship, Bible study, service, Sabbath, prayer, mindfulness, fellowship, compassion, celebration, connecting with nature, and many more. But it can also be formed unintentionally through neglect, lack of prioritization, or allowing the busyness of our lives to diminish our spiritual life. Just as our muscles can strengthen or atrophy depending on their use, so too, our faith must be engaged to continue to develop.
It is a common mis-belief that Christian Formation is only something we need to teach children, as if adults have arrived at some sort of spiritual plateau, from which there is nowhere else to ascend. This is not the case. While children are in a unique place in life where they need to be taught the importance of faith, adults equally need to be encouraged to embrace and embody the faith they have come to profess. To this end, I encourage you to think about this question – what forms your faith – and perhaps a follow up question – what would you like to form your faith?
In thinking of these questions, bare in mind that our faith journeys are unique, and there are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Some people gravitate toward communal development – being part of a Bible study, having a prayer partner, engaging in service projects or spending time connecting with others through coffee hour. Others seek a more individual path – personal prayer, reflection, reading or journaling. Some people like the more traditional spiritual disciplines of Bible Reading, worship and contemplation while others connect better to God’s spirit through creativity, sharing joy and pain, or listening deeply to the cry of the oppressed. Particular circumstances or life-stages might also affect what types of faith formation resonate well with people. Whether traditional or creative, the goal of spiritual practices – or activities that form your faith – is just that – to allow you to connect deeply with God, creation, and one another. If any activity connects with you on a deep level, making you feel whole or alive, there’s a good chance God is present.
May we all be open to the moving of God’s Spirit in our lives, and may our faith be formed by encountering God in a multitude of ways this fall.