By Diane Shallue
Nurturing Faith is the focus this month. It is one of the four core values of the congregation identified during the congregational listening sessions back in spring 2019. Nurturing faith is like gardening. We plant seeds of faith and prepare a good environment for faith to grow. Then we trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to sprout the seeds. When the process is so invisible, it is hard to know how to nurture faith.
Frequently, we think of faith formation as being for children and youth but faith grows and changes throughout our lives. Adults need to be nurtured in their faith more than children because the seeds of faith in children and youth are planted by adults. All adults in a congregation nurture the faith of all the young people. When a child is baptized, the members of the congregation promise to support and pray for the child. The parents need lots of help in nurturing that child’s faith. And all of us adults need lots of help in nurturing our faith too!
Classes and Bible studies and adult forums are formal ways of encouraging growth in adult faith. But there are informal yet effective practices to support faith which involve service projects, worship and conversations with other faithful adults. Another informal way of nurturing faith is demonstrating faithful living to others. I find the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22 helpful to me when I reflect on how my actions and speech prepare a good environment for faith to grow in me and in others. Am I producing the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Am I quick to listen and slow to anger? Can I forgive myself and others when not producing these fruits? Can I be confident that God loves me and trust in God’s gift of grace? How can I nurture the faith of my grandchildren? These types of questions keep me searching and growing as I continue to participate in the life of the Christian community that meets at CtK.