May I walk with you? Spiritual Growth

By Dr. Daniel Fachting, PhD.

Why is it that the number of church goers continues to decline in many of our churches?

Some time ago the Pew Trust researched this question and the answer most people gave was that people were leaving their churches because they did not feel that their faith was being nourished in their current church. Most were not leaving God, but were leaving their church to worship in another church.
To say that I am not being nourished in a church is to misplace responsibility. Which one of us does not have a Bible? Which one of us does not have the ability to read spiritual literature? Which of us does not have the opportunity to make use of the sacraments? Which of us does not have a few minutes to turn to Jesus in prayer each day? Which of us does not have opportunity each day to reach out in love and compassion to another?

Which one of us does not have the opportunity to join a church group, a Bible study, adult education, or join in church activities?
While the responsibility for spiritual nourishment rests with our pastors and church communities, ultimately the responsibility is ours. If we do not read the Bible and other literature, make use of prayer and the sacraments, take in an offered class, and act in loving ways then who do we have to blame for lack of spiritual growth than ourselves?

Adults also have the responsibility to be good role models for the children among us, not just in church but in the community. The pastor at Our Lady of Hope, Father Peter, is fond of saying that each one of us is God’s presence in the world. People are watching us and the children are imitating us. All of us who claim to be followers of Jesus have the responsibility to not only share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our words, but in our actions. If there is difference in what we preach and how we act, we become a hindrance to the Gospel.

Others are not so much listening to our words, but watching and following our actions. As St. Francis said often that he preached all of the time and sometimes he even used words.

Daniel Fachting, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist, Lay Minister at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Clare, and Chancellor for Kingi\hts of Columbus Council #3029. He can be reached at fachtingcounseling1@gmail.com or by calling (989) 386-8166.

When people see that we do not live the Gospel we preach, they do not only write us off, but write off the Gospel.
My hope is that we will all live the Gospel, not only talk about it. In this way our congregations will grow. Our churches will be full. Let us all make use of the programs our congregations offer us, as well as make use of personal spiritual practices. There is plenty to nourish our spiritual growth.

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