How can we as a congregation become spiritually stronger? That is my first prayer for this congregation: "Lord, help us grow spiritually strong." Certainly, I want numerical growth, involvement growth, and growth in our ministries. But, above all, I want growth that results in the strength of spiritual maturity.

The foundation of that maturity is a growing faith. Unless faith in God, His Son, and His Spirit increases, spiritual maturity cannot occur. For any congregation to grow in strength, it must grow in faith.

Spiritual needs must be understood and met. Evil has "customized" the problems and troubles it produces in our society. People who experienced significant rejection have unique problems. So do people who were unloved, or who were abandoned, or who grew up surrounded by evil, or who were abused, or who were betrayed, or who failed, or who have deep feelings of guilt.

All of those circumstances generate specific spiritual needs. These specific needs must be addressed. While the primary solution for every spiritual need is the grace, love, and forgiveness of Christ, the congregation, as a spiritual family, must minister to the special needs of its members with sensitivity and caring.

People rarely are too troubled to marry. Troubled pasts rarely convince husbands and wives not to have children. Faith does not change past circumstances. Faith cannot keep a troubled past from influencing the realities of one's present. Even when we have faith, the past casts shadows on our families.

Even with good pasts, we have so much to learn about healthy, vibrant, loving family relationships. Knowing how to become loving, kind husbands, wives, and parents is not intuitive--none of us "just know how to do that."

Aside from a growing faith, the second most important factor in becoming a spiritually mature congregation is helping families develop stable, loving relationships.

Carl Brecheen and Paul Faulkner will conduct a family seminar here the first weekend in December. Please come! Singles, marrieds, separated; troubled, divorced, happy; pre-parents, parents, empty nesters; young, middle-aged, older; please come! Bless yourself, and bless this congregation.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 12 October 1997

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell