How can the church better nurture spiritual growth for those in the second half of their lives? I contend that the way we answer that question may well change the way we disciple all of our members.
Certainly cultivating the spiritual disciplines is part of that answer, but it’s important to remember that those practices are not the goal. Christlike maturity is the goal – not just for individuals, but for all of us, corporately. Because we’ve often defaulted to talking about spiritual growth as a cognitive exercise (as if heaven was going to be one eternal Bible Quiz!) or a to-do list, we’ve allowed shallow `n busy programming to suffice when deep and intentional spiritual relationship is what’s needed most. We haven’t always been very good at recognizing and supporting those moving into their second adulthood.
Three years ago, I blogged through Father Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward: A Spirituality Through The Two Halves Of Life. I did so because I hoped that some of my blog readers would find the conversation of value as they interacted with those in their lives – and that some of the leaders (of small groups, Bible studies, or churches) reading in this little corner of Ye Olde Internet might begin asking different questions about how to better serve those in their care.
Another one of those books that offers helpful description for those stumbling into the disorientation of midlife is Sue Monk Kidd’s When The Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction For Life’s Sacred Questions (HarperOne, 1990). [Read more]