Over the next few weeks, follow this series of posts about WCF’s call to spiritual formation and its importance in our community life together. Catch up on our previous post here.
We get it. We’re all busy. We all have multiple communities and relationships to maintain. From family (especially out-of-town family), to professional development, to our and our children’s sports/activities/interest groups, to neighborhood and friend groups and to our faith community, juggling all these IRL (In-Real-Life) relationships can be overwhelming … and that doesn’t even include online groups and zoom calls that we connect with!
Through this series of posts, the Elders have been making a case for the goal of spiritual formation in an environment of humble curiosity and shared practices together. Our final post in this series affirms the importance of spending time together as a faith community.
As one of our elders, Curt Thompson, has generously shared with us through the years, the development of our brains is intimately connected to our relationships with one another and with God. Ultimately, we really only know ourselves better through being known by others. Respected neuropsychiatrist, Dan Siegel, describes how research “of longevity, medical and mental health, happiness and even wisdom point to supportive relationships as the most robust predictor of these positive attributes in our lives across our lifespan.” i.e. Loving relationships alter the brain most significantly.
The language of neuroscience seems to confirm the formation process that happens when we relate deeply and meaningfully to God and to others. This has been one of the main purposes of the gathered Church through its history. God’s people hearing, singing, serving and proclaiming in speech AND in action the reality of Jesus and God’s kingdom not only changes the world. It changes us! We become different people. We grow more into the likeness of Christ. We become more healthy and fuller and diverse image-bearers of God as we connect with other sisters and brothers in God’s family. But this all takes time. It takes presence. It takes being with one another, in front of one another and beside one another.
Technology and mobility have offered us amazing opportunities to connect. But they also offer the temptation of convenience and the aura of connection that steals from the gift of meaningful transformational relationships where we can see the worry others carry in their posture or where we can sense the joy in their eyes. It’s only in-person that we can really be known as we are meant to be known. We are more than brains. We are more than souls. We are embodied beings.
Recent church studies indicate that less people are attending church less regularly and particularly less often, in-person. Despite this trend, the Elders have been working with the Deacons to consider ways for us to spend more time together because of the goal of formation in Christ. That’s why we gather to worship on Sundays, to grow in Adult and Children’s nurture opportunities, to relate in small groups and in Fellowship opportunities and to serve in Missions and service together. We invite your responses on how we can do this well together, as well as the challenges you face in this invitation (Email the elders at email@example.com).
Moreover, we invite you to consider how the temptation of convenience and the aura of connection offered by technology and mobility have stolen opportunities for Christ to be formed in you. As we were invited to consider in our first spiritual practices series, how might our Sunday routine be part of our Sabbath rhythm with God - to break from all the ways we are formed by the demands and schedules of the other six days of the week?
If you’re only attending virtually but able to come in person, consider joining in-person twice a month. If you only come for the services, consider attending an Adult Nurture offering or joining a small group for a season. If you only attend worship services, consider one of the many simple and easy ways to serve on a team with others.
May the gift of the WCF community be a gift to one another in our formation together in Christ. This is the Elders’ prayer and invitation to all who call WCF home.
Got a question? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.