One of the most pressing issues facing the congregations today is the spiritual malnourishment of their members. The problem isn’t so much what happens on Sunday. For many Christians, this is a day of feasting. The challenge arises when Christians choose to fast spiritually the rest of the week. Spiritual malnourishment is a choice that can be remedied in so many ways with help from our faith communities and network of spiritual friends.
I often encourage people to become “spiritual grazers” where they feed themselves spiritually several times a day. This usually occurs when people understand that their congregations, cars and household settings can be greenhouses for growing faith. Many congregations support this “grazing” phenomena by making spiritual food readily accessible 24/7/365. They post links on their website to resources for daily devotions, They offer sermons in podcast form. They engage people in weekly Bible studies held via Facebook. They highlight inline courses offered by seminaries from their denomination and often sponsor book discussion groups that take place face to face in their homes and congregations, and through virtual communities.
I believe that churches have a responsibility to help people own and act upon their faith everyday, everywhere. Pastors and faith formation leaders must view themselves as spiritual trainers who help people firm up their spiritual muscles at and beyond the congregation. The must see themselves as curators of spiritual nourishment, pointing people to the fresh sources of spiritual food that’s available to everyone, anytime.
A key task of the church is to help people to take ownership of their faith and take responsibility for finding ways to grow spiritually at home, online, individually and within our congregation. We can all find ways to study scripture and apply it to our lives. We can all pray during the week, join a small group and dig deeper with others. With faith forming resources readily available for people of all ages and life stage, spiritual malnourishment is a choice we make, not a condition we have to accept.