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There are many ideas as to how spiritual formation happens in midadolescents. Traditionally, most discipleship programs encourage midadolescents to grow in their faith by participating in youth programs, to read their Bibles, and to pray. This project demonstrates that the church is God’s worshipping community on earth and has been ordained since the beginning of time to be such. While a personal relationship with God is important, so is participation in the family life of the church.
The church over the last few decades has placed all the responsibility of spiritual growth on the shoulders of believers. Faith has become exclusively about a personal relationship with God that is grown through personal devotion to God. Church has then become a place to go to service one’s faith. It has become a collection of individuals who share a common interest but no true need for one another. This mentality has led to the atomization of church ministries. A church’s various ministries, including those focusing on youth, children, women, and young adults, for example, have very little connection with one another.
A sense of responsibility for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ needs to be recovered in the local church. If believers want to fully grow in their faith, they need to be present where Christ is, and Christ is found in the church. Over and over again the church is referred to as the family of faith. Christians are called “children of God,” the “family of faith,” “adopted,” and Paul’s favorite term, “brothers and sisters.” Midadolescents need a family of faith for their spiritual formation. They need older siblings who mentor and care for them as younger siblings. When the church lives into its ontology, it creates the best environment for the spiritual formation of midadolescents.
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
spiritual formation, midadolescents, discipleship
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Herndon, Adam, "Spiritual Formation in an Atomized World: The Necessity of the Church as Family in the Spiritual Formation of Midadolescents" (2017). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 292.