Are all your eggs in the Sunday basket? The challenge of faith formation for life.
Faith is a gift from God guided by the Holy Spirit and formed over time in our families, relationships, and church communities. Faith grows and matures over a lifetime as people come to know, love, and serve God.
Too often, we think we can squeeze God into an hour or so on a Sunday morning. Or we can compartmentalise our faith to a certain day and time and tick that box for the week. Sunday might even be a wonderful spiritual and restoring time, but what happens when Monday rolls around? And if I consider these questions for myself, what does it mean for my children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and friends?
There are less than one thousand Sundays in the life of a child, which isn’t much time (if we were to go to church every week) to peg all our hopes on the idea that faith might stick in this short time. Of course, we can never underestimate the Holy Spirit’s work, but we also read in Hebrews 12 that Jesus gives us a great vision and hope for how this life of faith can work, as we look to him to sustain us.
We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying. (ERV)
Three points to consider:
We need a team effort.
In a church community, we have all these people around us who are great examples. The story of their lives tells us what faith means. When we live in relationships with people of all generations, we hear and see the work of our faithful God over many years. There is significant vitality in the mutuality and reciprocity of faith with people of other ages. This describes what an intergenerational faith culture is all about. We are here to do life with others, which might begin on a Sunday but certainly is woven in and throughout our entire week.
We need a long-range mindset.
Throughout this Bible passage, we can see that Jesus' life of faith did not happen on a Sunday or in a week or even during his ministry years. It continues today! This will require committed leadership and a willingness to tap into the gifts, talents and energy of the whole faith community. It requires an understanding that while some may plant seeds, others will water and still others will harvest, but it is always God who gives the growth. And we need to hold on to the hope Jesus gives us, that while we might not see our loved ones in church every Sunday, ‘(Our) Father, who has given them to (us), is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of (my) Father’s hand.’ John 10:29.
We need faith lived out or practised.
In our homes and workplaces, in our family time, in play in rest – in all of it! We need to hold each other accountable for the things that might cause a stumbling block to our faith or the faith of our children. Time and space are the oxygen for faith to form and so we fight a difficult battle in this present world in its pull for us to be busy and distracted from the things that will have an impact on eternity.
Now it is our turn to run. Although we can never achieve what Jesus did by our own strength, we have His perfect example before us. By faith in Him, we can press on ahead, trusting in His promises of a great reward.
The challenge has been set; the path is clear; we have tools for the road. Faith formation will need to be more responsive, resilient, flexible, and adaptable than ever before, but only by keeping our eyes on Jesus.
How can Grow Ministries help?
Grow Coaching helps communities to transform into centres of lifelong learning and growth for all people, bringing an abundance of meaningful and engaging experiences to the whole community, families and people at each stage of the life span from childhood through older adulthood.
The practical ways we can notice and mark special milestones of faith become important with Growing Faith Moments.
Talking and sharing in God’s word and praying together can be supported with the Growing Faith at Home resource.
Wondering about faith together as teens and young adults? Talking Points would be helpful here.
If you would like to learn more about our guiding principles, you can find out about them HERE. You can also contact the team at Grow Ministries by emailing email@example.com and a member of our team will contact you.