What does it take to grow in faith? Is it possible? What are the basics of Spiritual Formation? These are the core questions driving our upcoming Webinar on Sunday, October 4 called “How to Grow in Faith.” (Register for the Webinar).

In this post I will reflect on what I believe are the two key elements of Spiritual Formation: Relationship and Reflection. Everything else flows from these two Rs.

Relationship

Horizontal-Communal SpiritualityEverything in life is grounded in relationship. All things are interconnected. Some relationships are life-giving, some are toxic. The first key to growing deeper in the love of God is to get centered and rooted in life-giving relationships.

It starts with the very essence of God. God is not a being with whom we have a relationship. God is the relationship of the three persons of the Trinity and is the ground of being from which all things spring forth in interdependent relationships. Theologians call this relationality. This word means the quality of being formed by and in relationships (relational + quality = relationality).

In other words, having relationships is not an option. It is life itself. It is not a question of if you have a relationship with yourself, others, nature, and God. It is a question of the quality of those relationships that we must ask.

A primary task for the person seeking to grow in faith is to cultivate spaces in which the Holy Spirit can deepen the roots in God’s love and grow the fruit of the Spirit in one’s relationships with him or herself, his or her friends and family, the environment, and with God. The continual question we must ask is: How are we getting connected to each other for the purpose of mutual encouragement in spiritual formation?

Reflection

While relationships are vital to spiritual formation, they do not automatically promote spiritual health and growth. Some relationships often hinder spiritual growth as much as foster it. Therefore, spiritual formation requires individuals to stop the frenetic pace of life and think critically—to reflect—about the actions, attitudes, and relationships that define our lives.

The act of reflection can take on many forms, depending upon one’s personality. Some people find the practice of journaling very helpful. Others practice contemplative prayer and/or meditation. Still others find reflective space in nature, art, or physical exercise. The point of reflection is to find a practice that allows the mind, body and spirit to slow down and ask deep questions about previous actions. “Why did I do that? How is this reflective of God’s love? What is God doing and how can I join in?”

This is why the 7 Habits of Spiritual Formation are essential to spiritual growth. The habits are disciplines that equip us to reflect and notice what God is doing in and with the world. Reflective action is not easy or natural for most people. It will often meet resistance from the typical church-attender. Yet, like a healthy diet and exercise is essential to the body, reflective action through the spiritual habits is essential to spiritual formation.

Our mission at Easter Lutheran Church is to grow in faith and carry on the work of Jesus Christ. This begs a question…HOW? What does it mean to grow in faith? How do we do it?

Join Pastor Steve for a one-time webinar. The session will offer a clear and hopeful guide to the essential practices that will help ground you in the unconditional love of God. You will learn to trust that God is present—even in the midst of chaos. Then, it will help you share that love and hope with everyone around you.

Join the Zoom webinar on Sunday, October 4 at 6:30pm. The session will be recorded and available to view later for those who register.

If you would like to learn more about how to grow in faith, Pastor Steve will offer a six-week follow up course online to explore each of the essential practices to grow in faith.

These sessions will meet live via Zoom on Sunday evenings at 6:30. That time doesn’t work for you? No problem. The recordings will be available on the course site to view on demand for all who register.

The course runs Sunday, October 18 – November 22

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