By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor
Spiritual formation is the key to making disciples in the way of Jesus Christ. I cannot stress strongly enough how vitally important it is on all levels of church life – from preschool through high school and all through adult life. Spiritual formation, aka Christian Education, needs to be a multi-dimensional approach that focuses on commitment to Christ, small-group ministries, outreach and mission. And, spiritual formation needs a solid grounding in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament.
To form and mature a person’s spirit is not easy. Too often, we teach our children almost by accident – we repeat the same patterns of instruction established by past generations. For parents and teachers committed to the spiritual formation process, itself a faith practice, we have to teach the heart as well as the mind. The faith nurtured through spiritual formation is a faith of generational intentionality. “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God; the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul.”
Although faith is a gift from God, it is learned and practiced and passed on through the community of faith. My mother and father assumed, I think, that I would always have faith. They raised me in Hinton Avenue Methodist Church [United was added in 1968]. It never occurred to them that by the 21st century Christian faith could no longer be assumed. The world changed! And now, faith needs to be taught with joy, intentionally pursued, and given to the next generation. People are not Christians so much as disciples of Jesus Christ and his way of living in relation to the others and the world.
Trinity expects the best from its leaders. Our spiritual formation is overseen and nurtured by Keith, Eileen, Melissa, Jerry, Catherine, our lay leader Peggy Fox, all the wonderful teachers at Trinity, and me. We are committed to making spiritual formation intentional, sound in biblical teaching, relevant to life and challenging. The spiritual formation team at Trinity is committed to deepening our awareness of God, and equipping our children, youth and adults with a strong foundation of the stories of the Bible. Our ministry teams and education teams have everything prepared for the fall season. Join us on for our Sunday School Kick Off, church-wide picnic and Backpack Blessing on Sunday September 9, and the beginning of a wonderful year of learning about God through the love of Jesus Christ.