Faith Grows

Debra Griffis-Woodberry

It is popular today to talk about speaking one’s truth. To speak one’s truth is to tell one’s story. Christ
followers are encouraged to examine and share their faith journeys. Calling it a journey implies that faith is not static but dynamic. Faith grows and develops as life happens. Dr. James Fowler’s classic book, Stages of Faith, provides a platform to measure and examine our faith journey. Fowler and other writers affirm that we may mature in faith just as one matures emotionally and psychologically.

Jesus continually encouraged his followers to take discipleship to the next level, to explore and live in deeper and higher expressions of being children of God. The words of Jesus call across the centuries urging today’s disciples to grow in faith. We remember Jesus saying, “the one without sin should cast the first stone.” And he said, “Do not forgive 7 times, but 7 x 70. Living fully into the teachings of Jesus requires mature faith.

Some of us are quite content to remain in the comfortable realm of church socials, fellowship meals, church league sports, and low commitment circles or groups. Contemporary and popular author Fr. Richard Rohr offers an invitation to a further journey as he describes it in his book Falling Upward. There is he says, “a second half of life” wherein we can embark on a further journey.

Five areas of focus help to deepen faith. First is the understanding and articulation of current self-identity. We change over time, so we ask, who am I today? Basic to Christian identity is the realization of being God’s child. God is very creative; therefore, each person is unique; blessed with particular personality, spiritual gifts, skill sets and talents. Christian formation happens when our basic understanding of self integrates the truth of Psalm 139:14. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Personal life issues as well as historical events we experience factor in developing faith.

Secondly, it is important to examine our understanding of God. God is …. what, who, where, why, when…? How do we experience God? Are we expecting a bolt of lightning or a still small voice?

A third area of focus for growing deeper faith is figuring out where God and Self are conjoined.

Also, living in holy community is important for faith development. We need to be connected and in relationship with other persons on the journey. Prayer, challenge, accountability, and support emerge from living in holy community with others. It is one of the best expressions of church.

Finally, one who experiences a maturing faith will embrace the world with God’s love. The words of Jesus, “when you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) will be a way of life.

Know and speak your truth and change the world.

NOTE: Join Debra for an online class to further your growth, described below:

Living the Faith Journey Designed for Laity and Clergy
Spiritual Enrichment Class
Every Tuesday in February 7 PM Eastern
Debra Griffis-Woodberry, Presenter

Tuition $60 (or $180 includes additional individual coaching sessions)

Living into our Baptism and being formed by Christ continues in each season of life. Drawing upon the insights of Richard Rohr and others, participants will consider how one conjoins God and self. Each session will offer a centering moment and prayer.

February 6 Session One
February 13 Session Two
February 20 Session Three
February 27 Session Four